Audi RS Q3 review


What is?

Audi Sport – formerly known as Quattro, it is the part of Audi responsible for RS cars like the RS3 and RS6, as well as the R8 and the company’s Formula E, DTM, GT3 and TCR programs – wants to double its sales of sports cars. highway in 2023. And this thing will help you get there. Say hello to the new RS Q3: the fastest small SUV you can buy, with a nearly 400-hp five-cylinder engine, a top speed of up to 174 mph and the option of ceramic brakes. Yes indeed.

Small performance SUVs are, as we know, very popular right now. In the last two years, we have seen the Cupra Ateca, VW T-Roc R, BMW X2 M35i, Mercedes-AMG GLB35 and Skoda Kodiaq vRS go on sale. And there are many more on the horizon. But the RS Q3 has been around for years, having first gone on sale in 2013. There was nothing like it then, and there still isn’t today. Not until Mercedes sees fit to replace the AMG GLA45, anyway.

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As standard, the RS Q3 rides 10mm lower than a regular Q3, with RS-tuned suspension. Cosmetic changes include new bumpers and skirts, flared wheel arches, and large wheels. Oh, and a dual-outlet exhaust, instead of the old RSQ3’s single tailpipe. Inside, there are serious seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Prices start from £52,450 or £53,600 for the RS Q3 ‘Sportback’ and its 45mm lower roofline. Audi expects the Sportback to be more popular than the regular RS Q3 (sales will be 60% Sportback, 40% standard, Audi says), despite the added cost and compromised interior. We’ve driven both, but underneath they are mechanically identical. So of course they feel exactly the same when driving…

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Our choice of the range.

RS Q3 TFSI Quattro 5 doors S Tronic

What’s the verdict?

Something strange, but not without charm.

On paper, the RS Q3 is a dumb, dumb car that defies rationalization. But actually, it’s… quite nice. Far more than the GLB35 or, indeed, any other performance SUV of this size. The question remains: who really needs an Audi Q3, a family crossover, with almost 400bhp from a five-cylinder engine, ceramic brakes and a top speed of 174mph? Nobody, who is it? Sensible money buys something completely different. For that money, probably a Porsche Macan, which is a more complete car. But sensitivity is rarely fun. Avoid the Sportback unless you really care about its looks and get the DCC. A bit quirky, but not without charm.

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