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Geneva Motor Show 2013: Audi RS Q3

Is this the most pointless Audi yet?

Audi have been on a bit of a roll the last year. The new RS4 was received very well, then they stunned everyone with the fantastic looking RS6 Avant and the sleek powerful RS7. The RS brand was seemingly back on top. Well now all that wonderful cool and cache has been destroyed in one fell swoop.

 Audi fans were up in arms when the SQ5 was released last year, with a powerful diesel engine in a small SUV body. Why would you need an ‘S’ sporty model in an SUV body? Well hold onto your hats because the internet is about to erupt in a fury of keyboard warrior rants. They’ve not just applied the S treatment this time – Audi’s engineers have taken their smallest SUV; the Q3, and given it the full RS treatment. Why? Don’t ask us…

The Q3 is a strange car at the best of times – more a slightly raised up A3 than an SUV, it looks a bit awkward with the truncated rear end and tall sides. But Audi thought it might be amusing to make a high performance version, hence the RS Q3. Visually it gets a similar front end treatment to the RS6 & 7 with the brushed aluminium vents sitting in the large air intakes at the side, with the lower grille featuring the ‘quattro’ logo. The RS Q3 doesn’t get any special wheelarches, relying on a set of body coloured plastic extensions to beef up the looks. At the back there is a faux diffuser (on an SUV? Really Audi?) and a single oval exhaust outlet.

The interior has received the same treatment as the RS6 as well, with lots of carbon fibre trim, a high spec count and some rather nice diamond quilted leather seats. This look really does lift the interior of the Q3 so we can imagine this may be one of the more appealing factors of the RS Q3.

The RS Q3 uses the 2.5 litre five cylinder turbocharged engine used in the TT RS and discontinued RS3, in this application putting out 306 bhp and 310 lb/ft of torque. Power is channelled through a 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox to all four wheels using a Haldex system. The RS Q3 sits 25mm lower thanks to a retuned suspension setup with stiffer springs and dampers. There are 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels as well to make sure that you have the harshest ride known to man, though they do look good.

Weighing in at a hefty 1655 kg, the RS Q3 sprints to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds on the way to a limited top speed of 155 mph. economy is 32.1 mpg and it produces 206 g/km of CO2.

Expect the RS Q3 to cost around £42,000 when it goes on sale in late 2013, but we wouldn’t expect to see many on the road – this will be one very rare high performance mini-SUV.

Images and video courtesy of Audi

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more