Once the most affordable red-hot Audi model from the marque’s RennSport stable, the RS Q3 hyper-small SUV was received with a lukewarm critical reception when it launched in 2013. This revised 2015 version, though, adds revised looks, a lightly massaged equipment list and a hike in output and performance in an effort to light extra fire under its tyres.
Its 250kW and 450Nm is properly potent. And at 4.8sec for the 0-100km/h, it’s exceptionally quick outright, let alone for a pint-sized family hauler. It’s also festoon with the sort of premium materials and presentation befitting a flagship German model…as you’d want for its $81,510 list price. Our test car, including options, leaves little in the kitty from $100K once on-road costs are included.
By small SUV measures, it’s very good. Some might argue that it’s among the best good money can buy. Among its grocery-getting segment, few rivals – Mercedes-AMG’s GLA45, to name one – would be quite as effective cutting a swift line through the urban jungle.
But the big question on critics’ lips remains the same with the new version as it did with the old: is it truly deserving of the haloed ‘RS’ badge?
On paper, at test, it certainly ticks the right specification boxes: a bespoke 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine, powertrain hard-ware to match, massive brakes, huge rubber, and a host of racy interior accoutrements to match the theme.
But does this update inject the RennSport soul noticeably lacking in its predecessor? Does it embrace the driving enthusiast ethos when you push on in ways its forebear couldn’t?
Check out this video, and our full written review here, to find out.
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