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by Matt Campbell

The new Audi RS Q3 is the pricey new range-topper in the German brand’s most popular model range.

It certainly does come in at a premium, priced from $81,900 – a full $25,400 more than the next dearest model in Q3 range.

It has all-wheel-drive, a punchy turbocharged engine, a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and plenty of sporty elements to it. Audi reckons it will sell 100 per year – we think that estimate is on the conservative side.

Here’s CarAdvice’s 10-step guide to Audi’s new high-riding hot-hatch.

Pricing
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It’s the most expensive Q3 model, but it’s also the cheapest RS variant ever sold in Australia. Not only that, it’s the first RS-badged car here to slip under $100,000.

Performance
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The 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine is the same one used in the TT RS coupe, although in the Q3 there isn’t the full 250kW and 450Nm to play with – instead, it has 228kW/420Nm. It has a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.2 seconds –quicker than a Porsche Cayenne GTS.

Turbo
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The RS Q3 has a “large” turbo with a compression wheel diameter of 64mm. Audi says that at full boost, the turbo can theoretically compress 335 litres of air per second.

Weight
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It might be harsh to call it flubby, but the RS Q3’s kerb weight is a hefty 1730 kilograms (or 1655kg unladen), making it at least 145 kilos heavier than the rest of the Q3 range. Sure, the power to weight ratio is improved, but it’s hardly lithe.

Competition
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There isn’t any … yet. The RS Q3 currently enjoys a niche slither of the market, but with the Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG on its way with 265kW/450Nm and a 0-100km/h claim of 4.8 seconds. It will be cheaper, too – priced at $79,900.

Colours
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There are seven colour options on the palette for the RS Q3, including an RS Q3-exclusive hue called Sepang blue. Only one colour isn’t metallic (white), and buyers need to fork out $1495 for anything else.

Wheels
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Buyers can choose from the standard 19-inch alloys with a 10-spoke design, or option up to 20s in either three styles: matte black and matte titanium in a five-spoke style, or a five-arm twin-spoke style in matte titanium.

Suspension
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There is no option for adjustable suspension for the RS Q3. That makes it the only RS car without adaptive dampers. However, it still gets the company’s Drive Select system, with Auto, Dynamic and Comfort modes, and the RS chassis with suspension that has been lowered 25 millimetres.

Quattro
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The RS Q3 has all-wheel-drive with a multi-plate clutch at the rear differential that can apportion up to 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels if the fronts reach their “calculated grip limit”. Power gets to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic with paddle shifters – there’s no manual option.

Exhaust
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There’s an oddity at the back end of the RS Q3 – unlike all other RS models, it only has one exhaust tip. The engineers have fitted the car’s battery in the floor of the boot on the driver’s side to free up engine space, keep things balanced and keep weight low to the ground. The exhaust also features an active flap that opens up at high revs.




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