audi_rs_q3_frontThe weather gods smiled on us when we road tested the new Audi RS Q3 Performance crossover SUV in Albury to Bright and in the lower Snowy Mountain areas. Skies opened to drench the countryside as storms scudded their way across the southern areas of Australia. Temperatures plummeted as spring departed and winter took control again.

Surely we are wrong in saying nature was being kind to us by making life on the roads miserable? No, because the harsh conditions let the hottest Audi Q3 show its ability on roads that could have been dangerous to other vehicles. The company’s respected quattro all-wheel-drive system was able to tame the added power – now up from 250 kW to 270 kW, and extra torque, now 465 Nm was 450 Nm.

Water flowed across the road. Leaf and branch debris was blown from trees. Fallen trees only partially cleared away as part of first-aid until they could be completed removed. Mud and rocks washed off embankments. Interesting times. On more than one occasion we saw the flashing light on the dash indicating the RS Q3 Performance’s electronics were stepping in to keep things under control.

Oh, and the heated front seats were greatly appreciated by my Queensland oriented backside after I climbed into the Audis when the temperature wasn’t that far above zero…


Higher turbo boost and changes to overall engine tune, made by the RennSport organization, are responsible for the added urge. The torque is particularly impressive in being online from just 1625 revs and remaining at that peak until 5500 rpm. This 2.5-litre five-cylinder powerplant still continues to dominate its class, where 2.0-litre turbocharged fours are the norm. It’s an oldie but a goodie – there’s no substitute for cubic inches.

Now called Audi RS Q3 Performance this latest edition of the quick German crossover SUV replaces the RS Q3, rather than being an added model above it.

Obviously we didn’t get a chance to check Audi’s claimed zero to 100 km/h figure of 4.4 seconds, but given wth powerful push in the back achieved when low-speed wheelspin had been tamed we feel the 4.4 is accurate.

Launch control is needed to get the time down to that impressive level and is probably the main component in making the new Q3 Performance a significant 0.4 seconds quicker than the superseded standard RS Q3. Ultra-fast changes in the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission maintain the urge.

Priced at $84,216 it offers a lot of high-performance driving pleasure. Audi says the percentage of Australians buying the quick versions of its cars is increasing rapidly, a stat that has been noticed by the others in the big-three German marques.


As well as the added power and torque the RS Q3 Performance has been facelifted and tail tucked. The main theme is of a titanium-look, this is used in the single-frame grille, which is visually sharper in its corners; lower-grille surrounds; the 20-inch alloys (up from 19s); door mirrors and subtle other small locations.

A larger front bumper and a more aggressive diffuser-look rear are other noticeable elements to the aggressive overall stance. As do the red coloured brake calipers sitting inside the titanium-look alloy wheels.

Inside, the Audi RS Q3 Performance has a redesign dash. However, the virtual cockpit isn’t offered and we will have to wait for the all-new Q3 series, probably coming in 2018 before that can be installed. The flat-bottomed steering wheels has been redesigned and the stitched look works neatly.

The seats are serious items in that they are semi-race in their shape to provide support in heavy-duty cornering. After a while we started to feel they were rather hard on our backsides, but we guess that if you drive a car with Performance in its title then performance has to take precedence over comfort.

Audi’s new RS Q3 Performance joins the RS6 and RS7 Performance models that were introduced to Australia only a few months ago and clearly show the German giant is keen on further improving its future performance in sales in this country. This smaller model is well worth adding to your list of possible purchases if you’re keen on driving and have a budget that’s a fair way short of 100K.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *