Currently reading: New Audi Sport RS Q3 boosted to 394bhp
Second-generation high-performance small SUV gains extra power thanks to reworked version of 2.5-litre turbo engine

Audi Sport has revealed the second-generation RS Q3 SUV, which now offers 394bhp from an upgraded version of its 2.5-litre turbocharged engine.

The original model was launched in 2013, with Audi Sport opting for a compact SUV model due to a lack of direct premium class rivals. But with opposition now including the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 and BMW X3 M, the Ingolstadt firm has given the new RS Q3 a power boost and other upgrades.

The machine, mechanically identical to the new RS Q3 Sportback that has also been unveiled, retains the five-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the first-generation model, and also used in the TT RS. But it has been tuned to produce 394bhp, compared to 335bhp in the original (362bhp for the Performance variant), with 343lb ft of torque available between 1950 and 5850 rpm. 

That gives the new RS Q3 a 0-62mph time of 4.5 secs, with a limited top speed of 155mph (increasing to 174mph with the optional Performance pack).

The new engine is 26kg lighter than in the previous model, with 18kg of those savings due to a new aluminium crankcase. Audi Sport has also upgraded the engine with plasma-coated cylinder liners and smaller crankshaft bearing, while the pistons feature integrated channels for air cooling. That means the RS Q3 can reach operating temperature faster, reducing fuel consumption.

Power is delivered to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox, with wheel-selective torque control to aid traction and handling. Audi’s Drive Select system features six modes, including two bespoke RS options accessible via a steering wheel button.

The RS Q3 features a number of design changes from the standard Q3, with exterior design Matthew Baggley saying the key aim was to “explain visually there’s a five-cylinder monster beneath the hood.” 

He added: “Normally you’d differentiate a performance version from the standard model by adding interesting details and elements, but we wanted to add value differently, by reducing features, making it simpler and more pure. We’ve added value through big, bold gestures.”

Audi rsq3 3484


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That includes a revamps front, with a single frame grille and sculpted air intakes with a design similar to those featured on the recently revealed RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback. They intakes feature a ‘boomerang’ design detail bespoke to the RS Q3 and Q3 Sportback.

As with the RS6 Avant and Audi RS7 Sportback, buyers will be able to select to have the grille-mounted Audi rings and other logos on the car offered in black.Pronounced wheel arches increase the width of the RS Q3 by 10mm, although the actual track is unchanged.

At the rear, the RS Q3 features a bespoke spoiler mounted on the rear of the roof. The spoiler has been tuned in a wind tunnel to optimise downforce, with Baggley describing it as looking “like a controlled ski ramp”.

The rear features a number of other design changes over the standard Q3, including a bespoke rear bumper and diffuser, and – for the first time on the RS Q3 – large twin exhaust pipes. There are standard LED lights both front and rear.

The RS Q3 sits 10mm lower than the regular Q3, and feature sports suspension and Audi’s Dynamic Chassis Control as standard, with MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link design at the rear. It also features specially tuned progressive steering, with a choice of 20 or 21in wheels and steel or ceramic brake discs.

The interior features a number of changes to the driver-focused interior of the RS Q3, including a bespoke leather-covered sport steering wheel featuring new paddle shifts and bespoke multifunction buttons.

There are also a number of RS specific displays and modes in the Audi infotainment and digital cockpit. The RS Q3 comes with black leather and Alcantara sports seats, with Nappa leather seats with an integrated head restraint available as an option.

There are several other RS design details in the car, with RS design packages available to offer further customiation options.

The RS Q3, along with the sibling RS Q3 Sportback, will go on sale early next year. Pricing has not been set yet, but expect an increase from the £44,785 starting price of the old RS Q3.

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The two models will kick off a major expansion of Audi Sport’s SUV range, which is set to continue with a range-topping version of the RS Q8 large SUV. That car has been spied testing, and is tipped to be revealed later this year.

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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5cylinderT 27 September 2019


...still look plastic if you ask me they should be metal like in the new RS7 and RS6, a bit disappointing evn though it is a cheaper vehicle.

5cylinderT 27 September 2019

Would definitly prefere the

Would definitly prefere the normal one to the sportback.

There is one thing I dont understand and that is the fact that audi call thier RS3 'hatchback' a 'sportback' but the RSQ3 'coupe' is a 'sportback' aswell just seems a bit to confusing to be true. I think 'sportback' should mean a four-door coupe like the RS7 sportback and the kia stinger is a sportback.

5cylinderT 26 September 2019

CANT WAIT.......

until ABT tuning work thier magic on it and make this thing have like 500hp and look insane.