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21 February 2013

Audi reveals 305bhp RS Q3

First ever SUV fettled by Audi’s RS division breaks cover, but should it even exist?

Vijay Pattni
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Audi has decided to give meaning to the term ‘Sport Utility Vehicle'. Specifically the ‘Sport' part. Because today, it has revealed the new RS Q3: the first ever Audi RS model to be based on an SUV.

Many of you may be feeling a strong urge to log onto an Internet forum far, far away and vent your frustrations, but whether you like the idea of an RS SUV or not, it's here.

And it's packing a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine developing 305bhp and 420Nm of torque; the same engine you'll find in the RS3 Sportback and TT RS. A good one, then. In the RS Q3, and linked to permanent all-wheel-drive (welcome, quattro), that engine is good for a 0-100kph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed limited to 250kph.

That quattro gets an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch on the rear axle, distributing torque between front and rear "for optimum power management in all weathers". It's part of a chassis package that includes 25mm lower sports suspension than the standard Q3, designed for powering through corners without upsetting your latte (ie, no body roll). We're told this hasn't come at the expense of the ride comfort, though we'll have to drive one to confirm.

The brakes measure 365mm up front, with eight-piston calipers, while we're assured that despite being an SUV, this Q3 still carries the RS DNA. The cylinder firing sequence, air induction and exhaust system have all been designed to play out the classic quattro soundtrack, and the standard fit Audi drive select offers a control for a flap on the exhaust and accelerator response to make it even more shouty and accelerative.

Naturally, you'll get RS-specific body styling, including a black honeycomb front grille and RS bumpers, a rear diffuser and larger exhaust pipes. There's also a roof spoiler, special sill plates and roof rails in matt aluminium, while inside, you'll find an RS instrument cluster, multi-function, flat-bottom steering wheel, black headlining, aluminium pedals and the option of carbon inlays.

It does weigh a significant amount, though: 1,730kg. But you do get 365 litres of boot space, foldable to 1,261 litres, if you really want to liquidise your shopping. And the long-forgotten Audi maxim of only ever producing one RS model at a time has definitely passed: this year, it's launching the RS5 cabrio, RS6 Avant, RS7 Sportback and now this new RS Q3.

It'll get its worldwide premiere at next month's Geneva Motor Show, but for now tell us, Internet: is it one too many? And if not, what's your take on the RS Q3?

 

Tags: geneva 13, q3, audi

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