At Mercedes, everything but the B-Class and the electric EQC will get the AMG treatment, but Audi won’t be far behind when it comes to its RS range of performance cars. Following the RS 6 and RS 7 Sportback duo is the compact SUV RS Q3, also available with the standard or the Sportback body.
What’s cool about it is that Audi went for its punchy turbo-five again instead of a now generally used two-liter four-cylinder, which means these “compact power packs” are no less than bloated rally car wannabes. It’s just the full package with four-wheel drive, a five-cylinder turbo producing 394 horsepower, and the optional RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC).
Audi is very proud of this engine, which puts down its peak torque of 354 lb-ft from 1950 rpm on. The 2.5’s crankcase is now made of aluminum, which saves 39.7 pounds. The cylinder liners are plasma-coated, while the crankshaft main bearings are 0.2 in smaller in diameter. The crankshaft is hollow bored to save another 2.2 pounds, while the aluminum pistons have integrated channels for oil cooling. Last but not least, to warm up quicker, the water pump doesn’t circulate the coolant in the cylinder head after a cold start.
With the seven-speed S tronic transmission and all-wheel drive, RS Q3s get to 62.1 mph in 4.5 seconds, while top speed can be raised to 174 mph by ticking the right box on the options list. Either way, the bang-bang will go 1-2-4-5-3, delighting all around.
Of course if you prefer to spend more to get less room at the rear, there’s also the option of the Sportback body style. SUV or SUV coupé, the sporty vibe is enhanced by the cars sitting 0.4 in closer to the ground, running on 21-inch wheels—for the right price. Speaking of which: the whole reason why the U.S. won’t get these is that even without options, they would retail well above $60,000, and Audi believes Americans expect a larger car for that kind of money.
Because this car is basically an RS 3/TT RS made bigger, the standard brake setup includes 14.8 in discs at the front and 12.2 in ones at the rear, while the optional ceramic system comes with monoblock aluminum/floating calipers and discs that are 15/12.2 in in diameter. New exterior colors include Kyalami green and Nardo gray, but if you intend to spend even more on Audi’s new sport compacts, Audi exclusive can make most of your RS Q3-related dreams come true.