The nicest badge you can find on an Audi is not the logo itself, but an angled red square with the letters R and S written beside it. That badge signifies a lot more than just a sportier version of a standard car, but the highest performing model that Audi can produce.
When Audi creates that, they’re not always done. They go back and try to work on it some more.
The results of this extra work? an RS Performance package. And this is exactly what they had done to an Audi Q3. Wait, what?
Special thanks to Audi Middle East for the awesome weekend ride!
What makes this Audi RSQ3 Performance truly unique? Aside from the fact that it is a high-performance compact SUV, or SAV or whatever they call them these days, it is special because it will be rare, extremely rare and owned by a handful of very happy owners.
You will see Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis, but find me an RSQ3, and you found a rare car! Now, this might sound bad for Audi, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
But, let’s take this one step at a time. First, let’s cover some technical data.
The Audi Q3 comes in many flavors, but this one is the spiciest Q3 out there. The RSQ3 has Audi’s most powerful 2.5 liter 5-cylinder engine producing a mind-blowing 367-Horsepower, 565-Newton meters of torque being driven to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system via a 7-speed S-Tronic, Dual-clutch gearbox.
Sounds like a mouthful? It is the most meaningful mouthful this vehicle has!
This incredible power, on the low-riding, short wheelbase Q3 platform gives it the ability to race from 0-100KMPH in just 4.4 seconds, and reach an electronically limited top speed of 270KMPH. To put that into perspective, those are numbers nearly identical to the 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman S and can put some performance SUVs to shame.
It really would rub its nose in their performance figures.
So, there is plenty of power, how do we stop it?
It has planet-sized disk brakes (365 x 34 mm) at front in wave technology, perforated, ventilated, and composite disks at the rear (310 x 22 mm) which gives it immense braking power, with very little fade.
I took this car around and had driven it a lot harder than a lot of sports cars I have recently driven and by all means, this thing can accelerate and brake harder than all of them.
Fuel consumption is rated at 8.6l per 100km, but in the real world, I managed to get approximately 11. Combined CO2 emissions are rated at 203 Grams per KM.
Being top of the line, as in, the highest trim even possible for the Q3, it has fine Nappa leather trim with diamond stitching in as many places as possible, across all 5 sports seats, very nicely carpeted rear trunk with a little over 355 liters of storage.
Let’s take a look around the RS Q3
There is one thing that is undeniable, this is a Q3. You can either like it or not, but it will always remain a Q3, regardless of how much RS they pump into it.
The Java Green does make the car striking, from whichever way you look at it. Its Hulk Green and a MASSIVE head-turner.
The front of the RS Q3 is actually quite good, but when its subtle looking, even with all the RS treatment, that must show you how understated the standard Q3 actually is. The vehicle sits about 25 mm lower than the standard vehicle, and the front bumper is even lower.
Massive front openings and blacked out front grille give the vehicle all the necessary air it needs to stay cool, after all, this is a very turbo-charged engine.
Full LED lights with daylight running lights, a signature Audi headlamp is the only way to go and provides excellent lighting and a striking good look.
The front of the car is definitely a strong statement of power and aggression, and the big vents, RS badges, and overall pose let everyone knows, there’s more to this car than just its compact size.
Once you take a look at the RSQ3 from the side, you start to see that the aggressive, and the quite large front end is connected to a compact SUV.
Let down? not really. What this compact size actually means is that its easy to handle, see out of, and park – let’s not forget the Q3 is quite a practical little thing.
The sides have very little RS to them, although the way the car is set up, it looks like its aiming downwards, in a sporty stance.
Looking at the rear of the car, everything starts looking good again! The rear lights are all in LED and are very clear, bright and even make the car look more aggressive than the standard Q3.
Aside from the badge, there is one more element that makes this an RS.
The oval exhaust! This is a standard in any RS, and it sounds incredible, but surprisingly there’s just one of them. All RS models have two, and I really doubt Audi couldn’t fit the second one, even if fake.
Overall, I do not think the RSQ3 is necessarily a good looking vehicle, it looks fine and the RS treatment is cool, but as a whole, I wish they had done some modernizing to it, some kind of edge to make people go “oh.. wow”.
Don’t get me wrong, its great for what it is, and the designers have done a great job with what they started with, but we can’t escape the fact they started off with a Q3.
Let’s take a look inside
We’ve established that the RSQ3 has an interesting exterior with subtle looks but striking elements added to those looks. Think of it as a decent looking lad with a kick-ass suit and haircut.
The inside of the RSQ3 has an even bigger challenge now. It could either be more Q3 or RS. One way to find out.
The interior is covered in Fine Nappa leather with diamond style stitching, which is found in the center bits of all the seats. This is extremely soft, luxurious and sporty at the same time.
The sports seats are extremely comfortable, supportive and you fit right in, ready to for take-off. They had to be fairly supportive and comfortable because the RSQ3 actually rides stiff.
The interior of the RSQ3 is quite a nice place to be. The seats mentioned earlier are gorgeous, the dashboard has soft-touch materials and carbon-fiber inlays. There are some rough rubbers up top and hard plastics on the bottom bits of the door, but overall, the majority of things you would touch are soft, smooth or cushion-y.
This is great, looks and feels good, but there is one small problem.
Have you seen their 2017 models? The Audi Virtual Cockpit, their updated MMI, their fully digital driver instrument panel, etc are unbelievably incredible. They are very well made, with brilliant graphics, user-friendly experience, and loaded with options, settings, and features. All that, not on this car. The technology in this vehicle is a bit dated for 2017.
RSQ3 is not out-dated, but it’s just not up to date with what Audi has to over.
Now that we’ve covered that, it needs to be said that the technology in the RSQ3 is very good. There are simple to use controls on the dash, shortcut buttons, and easily accessible air conditioning controls.
One cool feature that is still there in the RSQ3 and has sadly disappeared in newer models, is the ability to minimize/close the screen! I have always said it, there are times where I just do not want a screen there on my dashboard, and with the RSQ3, you can put it away. Audi, please bring this back and bravo for keeping it in this one.
Audi does not shy away from badging, and the interior is no different. There are RS badges on the doorsills, steering wheel, gear lever, digital displays and my favorite spot of all…
Will you look at that? How can you resist wanting to just keep revving the engine and seeing the needle passing the RS logo every time you accelerate!
Speaking of dials, there is one thing about this RSQ3, that I adore (aside from the engine, but more on that in a bit).
These dials. These dials that go up to 300KMPH show, remind and invite you every time you’re in the car that this is an RS, and you need to push it because it can go all the way. The dials have 10KMPH increments up until 100KMPH, which means every time you accelerate from 0, that needle flies! Freaking. Love. That.
Moving to the back, there is decent room for rear passengers, with room for 3 medium sized adults. The middle seat is a tad harsher than the outer seats and there is a slight bump in the floor to maneuver through. That being said, there is ample knee room and headroom in the back, with the necessary child seat hooks.
Probably the most annoying thing about the Q3 in general. No, not the big luggage space of over 355 liters, with split folding seats, but how the headlights go up with the rear door! It looks as if someone took out the rear taillights, and it looks too weird to me. I cannot unsee it.
The Drive The Drive The Drive
Ok, so here’s the deal; this is an RS. We’ve covered how it looks and how the interior is all soft and lovely, but you buy an RS for the performance.
The RSQ3 is quite shocking to drive. The car has more power than you can imagine, and I know 367-Horsepower sounds almost ordinary in today’s world, but it actually is quite a lot in a car of this size, with an incredible drive train and gearbox.
At every red light, I would blow off the line and leave everyone in shock. They probably think this is a standard small SUV in a stupid color, but the second the lights turn the color of the car, they can barely see the car anymore! Straightline performance is incredible.
Take the car around corners, and it puts the Quattro system to brilliant use. The computers work tirelessly to ensure that the torque is going to the highest performing corner and you can literally feel the power shifting sides while driving.
The system reduces any understeer while cornering and the active body management system tries to eliminate as much body roll as possible. The car is fairly tall, but always feel securely planted as can be.
Brakes on the RSQ3 not only look pretty like a flower, they have a lot of punch. The pedal feel is secure, safe, tight and the performance is to-die-for, they are firm without being too punchy and have a lot of strength for when you need massive pull-backs. The P-Zeros on the car are fairly grippy and aids the brakes to stop you in the least amount of space possible.
The RSQ3 is definitely, and undoubtedly an odd compact SUV. It looks like a regular Q3 with some modified bits and pieces, the interior is very well equipt with all the essentials, and the overall package offers space for 5, decent luggage space and a comfortable ride.
Turn the car on and the engine is a little louder than the regular car, put the gear lever into “S” and this thing explodes into an R8 wanna be SUV! It’s a strange feeling that a car like this can perform and sound the way it does, but then again, that’s the whole point.
A lot of people may think the RSQ3 is meaningless, useless and ask why. I think its incredible. They’ve taken a regular Q3 and showed what they can do with a platform of that size. They’ve taken a Q3 and turned it into a true performance machine that could rival sports cars. Who wouldn’t love that?