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Audi expands performance SUV range with RS Q3 Sportback review

New SUV crossover offers 394bhp and 343lb ft, from the same 2.5L in the RS Q3

Audi expands its range of performance SUVs with new RS Q3 Sportback as its second high-performance SUV. It will take on the likesof Mercedes’ GLA45 and BMW’s X4 M and is based on recently revealed RS Q3, which it shares the same foundations, that includes a 394bhp turbocharged five-cylinder 2.5L turbocharged engine.

 

Product manager Carolin Krause says the RS Q3 Sportback was aimed at a “completely new segment, for young lifestyle-oriented customers, who want performance and everyday usability.” Krause said there were no concerns within Audi about the new RS Q3 Sportback cannibalising sales from the standard RS Q3, adding: “The market is ready for these models, especially in the smaller segments.”

Both models have widened wheel arches by 10mm, they also get a customised front grille with a single-frame design. There are also sculpted air intakes in the new-look front bumper similar to the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback, they also feature a ‘boomerang’ design that's unique to the two RS Q3 models. There are standard LED lights at both the front and rear of the car.

 The difference between the RS Q3 and the RS Q3 Sportback are apparent from the side, with the Sportback’s sloping roof, making it 45mm lower than the RS Q3. It also has a lower shoulder line, designed to emphasise the car’s stance. The RS Q3 Sportback gains its own rear wing design and a bespoke rear bumper and diffuser, designed to set it apart at the back and make the car appear even wider. As with the RS Q3, the RS Q3 Sportback features Audi’s signature twin exhausts.


Both models interior offers black leather and Alcantara sports seats and other bespoke design details, with a number of Audi Sport-exclusive options on the Drive Select and infotainment system. There are a number of RS details, and more available – including Nappa leather seats with integrated head rests – via a number of customisation options.

Underneath their bodywork both the RS Q3 and RS Q3 sportback are identical, both being powered by a reworked five-cylinder 2.5L turbo engine from the original RS Q3 and also used in other RS models. The engine has been tuned to produce 394bhp, compared to 335bhp in the old RS Q3 and offers 343lb ft of torque, that gives the Q3 Sportback a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec, with a limited top speed of 155mph, 174mph with the optional Performance Pack installed, the same as the RS Q3.

 

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.

 

Both RS models sit 10mm lower than the regular Q3 and Q3 Sportback and feature sport suspension and Audi’s Dynamic Chassis Control as standard, with MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link design at the rear. They also feature specially tuned progressive steering, with a choice of 20in or 21in wheels and steel or ceramic brake discs.

The RS Q3 Sportback will go on sale early next year, the same as the RS Q3. While pricing has not been revealed, expect a price tag of around £50