An RS badge is exciting, even more so when it’s on an Audi. It’s not just about a cool body kit or a more dominant engine. Rather, it’s also about an assurance that the standard car has shed some of its cold personality and made provisions for thrills, even as it retains most of its everyday usability and comfortable nature. The Q3 is the first SUV to sport an RS badge.
The key to the RS is its turbocharged 2.5-litre, 20-valve in-line five – an engine configuration first seen on the original Quattro rally car in 1980. It puts out its hefty 42.8kgm of peak torque from as low as 1500rpm and the torque curve remains flat all the way to 5200rpm. The all-wheel-drive perfectly matched gear ratios and a smooth-revving engine all combine to produce jet engine-like thrust in every gear well and at all engine speeds.
Let’s take a look at the performance figures. Claimed time to 100kph for this near-1.8 tonne car is a phenomenal 5.5 seconds, and it’ll hit its limited top speed of 250kph without you noticing. These figures might not sound staggering on a performance car, but remember, this is an SUV.
The normal Q3 is decent around corners; the RS builds on this and simply takes it to another level. The sports suspension lowers the body by 25mm, the battery is located in the luggage compartment for better weight distribution, and it gets wide 255 section tyres. These help the RS hang on with admirable aplomb around corners and it’s only the high driving position which reminds you that this is an SUV. The steering too is direct and helps you place the car precisely. But it has an artificial weighting that leaves the RS Q3’s driver distinctly feel-free.
Coming to styling, how can your neighbours tell this isn’t the regular Q3 that you’re driving? Well, it’ll be obvious when they spot the flared wheel arches and those beautifully designed massive 20-inch wheels. In addition, you get an RS front bumper and the Quattro emblem on the front air intake, as well as a large roof spoiler, integrated faux diffuser and a large tailpipe with an aluminium tip.
But unlike the exteriors, the changes to the cabin are more subtle. You get an RS badge on the steering wheel and the standard inlays are in aluminium finish. Then there’s aluminium inserts on the foot pedals and sports seats embossed with the RS badge. The seats offer excellent support and keep you comfortable even when the car is driven hard. The standard MMI system comes with an RS menu which shows the turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and, whoa, a lap timer for when you take your car on a race track.
The RS Q3 is not expected in India anytime soon, so those zipping-down-the-Buddh-International-Circuit dreams can wait. But if and when it does come, this car will definitely strike a chord with our SUV-crazy country. It’s got a stonking engine, it drives very well and is a car worthy of the RS badge. We expect the price to be around Rs. 58 lakh.
Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom price Rs. 58 lakh (estimated)
Installation Front, transverse, AWD
Type 5 cyls, 2480cc, direct-injection turbocharged petrol
Power 306bhp at 5200-6700rpm
Torque 42.82kgm at 1500-5200rpm
Gearbox 7-speed, dual clutch auto
Boot volume 356 litres
Tank size 64 litres