Audi’s first SUV to be tuned by performance division ‘quattro GmbH’ and wear ‘RS’ badges, the RSQ3 was expected to cost only slightly less than $100K based on previous hints by Audi executives.
Until the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG arrives later next year, the RSQ3 owns the high performance premium compact SUV niche, costing a full $20K more than the flagship but turbo four-cylinder BMW X1 xDrive 28i. It also adds a full $26K over the previous Audi Q3 flagship, the 2.0 TFSI quattro, while costing $7500 less than the diesel-only, size-larger Audi SQ5.
The Audi RSQ3 utilises the same 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine found in the TT RS coupe.
The engine does, however, produce slightly less power and torque in this compact SUV application, outputting 228kW and 420Nm respectively, down 37kW/45Nm.
Sending drive to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 1730kg performance SUV claims a 5.5 second 0-100km/h – only 0.7 seconds quicker than an X1 xDrive 28i – and 8.1L/100km consumption on the combined cycle.
In addition to RS styling cues, which include a honeycomb front grille with matte silver border and aggressive front and rear bumpers, the RSQ3 also scores: 19-inch alloy wheels with 365mm front/310mm ventilated disc brakes behind them; xenon headlights with LED daytime lights and tail-lights; sports seats with Nappa leather and front seat heating and electric adjustment; dual-zone climate control; satellite navigation with 20Gb hard drive, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and twin SD card readers; semi-automatic parking with front and rear sensors and reversing camera; and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
A Performance Pack will also be available from around $5000, which consists of 20-inch alloy wheels, diamond stitch leather trim, red brake calipers, high-end 14-speaker/465-watt Bose audio with digital radio, and a carbonfibre interior accent package.
Expected sales of 100 units per year means the Audi RSQ3 will make up just four per cent of total Q3 volume. The added sales will, however, put further pressure on the X1 range, which has been overtaken by the Q3 in the sales race this year, while preparing a defence against the forthcoming GLA 45 AMG.