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.”
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 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”.