Audi presents the new edition of the RS Q3 and an all-new derivative with the RS Q3 Sportback, now extending the compact SUV product range with two performance models. The two sport compacts offer outstanding performance, athletic design and maximum everyday usability. The first Audi RS Q3 established its own distinct position in the performance market and with the new generation and additional model, Audi aims to continue this success story in the compact high-performance SUV segment of the market. With the offering of the all-new Audi RS Q3 Sportback, a progressive SUV coupé crossover, Audi envisions to set a trend and leverage the full potential of the latest performance vehicle range. Both models are now currently available for retail in South Africa.
Athletic: the exterior
The Audi RS Q3 and Audi RS Q3 Sportback are synonymous with strength and outstanding performance. Virtues that are also reflected in the design. The Singleframe with no colour-contrasting surround in the compact SUV creates an even sharper impression. The gloss black grill with three-dimensional honeycomb structure is inset deeper and directly into the RS bumper with its large side air inlets. The striking boomerang-shaped blades in the bumper are designed exclusively for the RS Q3. The RS genes are also apparent in the flat slits above the Singleframe radiator grille.
With its downward sloping coupé-like roof line, the RS Q3 Sportback is with a height of 1,557 millimetres, 45 millimetres lower than the RS Q3. The rising shoulder line on the Sportback is set farther down than on the sister model, lowering the body’s optical centre of gravity. As such, the body appears even more muscular and the wheels larger. Both high-performance sports cars underscore their performance aspiration with pronounced muscles over the wheel arches, which have been flared by 10 millimetres.
The rear design also appears very powerful. With the low rear window and the roof edge spoiler with RS-specific spoiler lip in body colour, the RS Q3 Sportback appears even wider than its sister model. The low-slung roof line culminates in strong, flat sloping D-pillars. The RS-specific long roof edge spoiler in the RS Q3 emphasizes the pronounced forward thrust of the high-performance SUV and ensures improved downforce. The new generation of the RS Q3 comes for the first time with a standard, dual-branch RS sports exhaust system with large oval tailpipes on both sides. This exhaust system sits in an RS-specific bumper with rear diffuser.
The high-performance SUVs come standard with Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators and RS-specific darkened trims. The rear lights also feature LED technology.
Outstanding: the drive
Within the Audi Q3 family, the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are the sporty flagships. The performance figures for the compact engines are compelling: five-cylinder, 294 kW power output, 480 Nm of torque, quattro all-wheel drive. The five-cylinder engine is a modern classic. Last year, Audi received the sought-after “International Engine of the Year Award” for the 2.5 TFSI engine for the ninth consecutive time.
The multi-award-winning five-cylinder engine gains a good 17 percent increase in power at an unchanged displacement of 2,480 cc. The engine’s maximum torque is available over the very broad rev range between 1,950 and 5,850 rpm. The RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 250 km/h or an optional 280 km/h at an additional cost.
At less than 50 centimetre’s in length, the 2.5 TFSI engine is extremely compact and is 26 kg lighter than the previous model. Its crankcase is made of aluminium, which alone saves 18 kg. Elaborate measures reduce internal friction while at the same time increasing power output. The cylinder liners are plasma-coated; the crankshaft main bearings are six millimetres smaller in diameter. The crankshaft is hollow bored and is therefore 1 kg lighter, while the aluminium pistons have integrated channels for oil cooling. In the short warm-up phase after a cold start, the switchable water pump does not circulate the coolant in the cylinder head – the 2.5 TFSI engine thus reaches its operating temperature more quickly. This lowers the coefficient of friction and reduces fuel consumption.
1-2-4-5-3 – firing alternates between adjacent cylinders and those far apart from one another. The particular firing sequence and the odd number of cylinders make for a very special rhythm and unique engine sound. The RS sports exhaust system underscores the characteristic and unmistakable sound of the five-cylinder firing sequence.
The power from the five-cylinder engine flows via a seven-speed S tronic to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that distributes the power as needed between the axles via a multi-plate clutch. The wheel‑selective torque control perfects the safe and agile handling.
The Audi drive select dynamic handling system influences the quattro drive and other components such as steering, suspension, S tronic, engine characteristic and sound. Depending on the selected equipment variant, there is a choice of five or six modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual or, as an alternative to the individual mode, the two new RS modes RS1 and RS2. Via the MMI the driver can adjust and save the two RS modes individually. Simply pressing the new “RS MODE” steering wheel button provides rapid access to the two new modes and allows the driver to switch between modes.
Consistently sporty: the suspension
The standard RS sport suspension lowers the body by 10 millimetres compared with the Audi Q3 and Q3 Sportback. Its consistently sporty tuning satisfies the basic requirements for the outstanding handling of the two sport compacts. The standard RS-tuned progressive steering also conveys close contact with the road even on fast bends.
At the front axle with its MacPherson design featuring lower wishbones, the track width is 1,590 millimetres. In the rear, the four-link design provides a track width of 1,583 millimetres. For the first time on a compact high-performance SUV, Audi offers 21-inch wheels in various rim designs. Behind the standard 21-inch wheels, the all-new six-piston RS steel brake system works with ventilated and perforated disks measuring 375 millimetres (front) and 310 millimetres (rear, not perforated). Their brake calipers are painted red as standard.
As an option the new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are available with the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). Here an electrically actuated proportional valve regulates the flow of oil into the damper pistons. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system also influences the optional RS sport suspension plus with damper control, in which sensors measure movements of the vehicle body. The RS-tuned dampers are then adjusted accordingly to the road surface conditions and driving situation. The suspension provides the optimum damping force for each damper within milliseconds – low for hard bumps; high to brace the body during fast cornering or when braking. The upshot is enhanced driving dynamics, precise stability and agile handling coupled with even greater comfort.
Driver-oriented: the interior
The athletic design of the exterior is echoed in the car’s interior. The emphasis on the horizontal lines conveys a generous sense of space. The air-conditioning control unit, the centre console and the MMI touch display are tilted toward the driver by ten degrees – the entire cockpit is very much designed with the driver in mind.
The architecture of the instrument panel with the Audi virtual cockpit in the RS design harmonizes perfectly with the operating concept. The MMI touch display with its high-gloss black glass-look surround slots in seamlessly as another central element. With the standard Audi virtual cockpit plus, the driver has a larger display with shift light display that prompts the driver to upshift when the maximum engine speed is reached. Special RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit plus also provide information on tyre pressure, torque, power output, lap times, g-forces and acceleration measurements.
RS Sport seat plus in fine Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching express the athletic character of the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback. Integrated head restraints are available for the first time in the Q3 family. Their contrasting stitching comes standard in gloss black, and optionally in red or blue. When selecting one of the two RS styling packages in Express red or Ara blue, highlights on the steering wheel rim, belt straps, floor mats and gear lever are coloured while the steering wheel and selector lever come in Alcantara. Inlays in Aluminium Race, anthracite, optionally in piano finish, black, or carbon, round out the sporty interior.
Entry lighting with Audi Sport projection in the doors welcomes the driver and front passenger. RS logos adorn the interior on the steering wheel and the illuminated front door sill trims. The standard RS sport leather steering wheel, flattened at the bottom, including newly designed shift paddles comes with multifunction buttons that allow the driver to control the two optional RS modes in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. The RS-specific displays open automatically in the Audi virtual cockpit plus.
Generous: space concept and equipment
The new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are designed as fully fledged five-seater models and also offer maximum everyday usability for all their sportiness. The rear seats can be moved fore-aft as standard by 150 millimetres in the RS Q3 or 130 millimetres in the RS Q3 Sportback; their three-way split backrests can be tilted in seven stages. The luggage compartment holds 530 litres, with the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1,525 litres (Sportback: 1,400 litres).
Eight paint colours are available for the new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback, including the RS-specific colours Kyalami green and Nardo grey. Customized paint finishes are available from Audi exclusive. The optional gloss black styling package adds highlights to blades in front- and rear bumper, window slot trims, roof rails (RS Q3 only) and on the insert in the side sills. In combination with the extended gloss black styling package, the Audi rings and the RS logos come in black on the front and rear.
Local pricing and availability
The new Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback will officially go on sale in South Africa from 1 April 2021 and is priced as follows (inclusive of all taxes) and comes standard with a five year Audi Freeway Plan:
Audi RS Q3 TFSI quattro R1,094,000
Audi RS Q3 Sportback TFSI quattro R1,128,000
A snapshot of a few, key standard equipment features includes: Matrix LED headlights; comfort key; 21” wheels; RS sports seats; RS sports exhaust; fine Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching upholstery; Audi virtual cockpit plus; MMI navigation plus; lane departure warning; Bang and Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound; progressive steering; rear view camera system; Audi drive select; Audi smartphone interface.