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New Audi RS Q3 offers 394bhp from reworked 2.5L review

Second generation RS Q3 gains extra power thanks to reworked version of 2.5-litre turbocharged engine

Audi has revealed the second generation RS Q3 with 394bhp from an upgraded version of its 2.5L turbocharged engine.

The original model launched back in 2013, now a direct premium rival for the Mercedes AMG GLA45 and BMW X3 M, the Ingolstadt firm has given the new RS Q3 a power boost and other upgrades.


The New small SUV retains the five-cylinder, 2.5L turbocharged petrol engine from the original and also used in various other RS models, but has been tuned to produce 394bhp, compared to 335bhp in the original with 343lb ft of torque.

That gives a new 0-62mph sprint time of 4.5 secs, with a limited top speed of 155mph, unless the optional performance pack is introduced increasing top speed to 174mph.

The new engine is 26kg lighter than in the previous model, with 18kg of those savings due to a new aluminium crankcase. Audi has also upgraded the engine with plasma-coated cylinder liners and smaller crankshaft bearing, while the pistons feature integrated channels for air cooling. That means the RS Q3 can reach operating temperature faster, reducing fuel consumption.

Power is delivered through Audi’s quattro all wheel drive to a seven-speed automatic gearbox, with wheel-selective torque control to aid traction and handling. Audi’s Drive Select system features six modes, including two bespoke RS options accessible via a steering wheel button.

Exterior designer Matthew Baggley has made a number of exterior design changes saying the key aim was to “explain visually there’s a five-cylinder monster beneath the hood.” Those changes include a facelifted front, with a single frame grille similar to those featured on the recently revealed RS6 Avant and RS7. At the rear, the RS Q3 features a bespoke spoiler mounted on the rear of the roof. The spoiler has been tuned in a wind tunnel to optimise downforce, with Baggley describing it as looking “like a controlled ski ramp”.

The rear features a number of other design changes over the standard Q3, including a modified rear bumper and diffuser, and for the first time on the RS Q3, Audi’s signature large twin exhaust pipes.

The RS Q3 is 10mm lower than the standard Q3, with MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link design at the rear. It also features specially tuned progressive steering, with a choice of 20 or 21in wheels and steel or ceramic brake discs.

The interior features a number of changes to the driver-focused interior of the RS Q3, including a bespoke leather-covered sport steering wheel featuring new paddle shifts and bespoke multifunction buttons.

There are also a number of RS specific displays and modes in the Audi infotainment and digital cockpit. The RS Q3 comes with black leather and Alcantara sports seats, with Nappa leather seats with an integrated head restraint available as an option.

There are several other RS design details in the car, with RS design packages available to offer further customisation options.

The RS Q3, along with the sibling RS Q3 Sportback, will go on sale early next year. Pricing has not been set yet, but expect a price of around £50k

The two models will kick off a major expansion of Audi’s SUV range, which is set for a top of the range RS Q8 that has already been spied testing and expected to be revealed by the end of the year.