There was once a time when reports were saying Audi would not apply its top-end “RS” moniker to CUVs. With attitudes about performance crossovers changing though, it appears Audi is changing its mind on this as well. The Beijing Auto Show is coming up, and Audi has revealed a new Q3 RS Concept. While it is a concept for now, there is a good chance that it previews a production variant of the small CUV. Audi is known for performance; why not expand that expertise to CUVs?
The Q3 is the smallest crossover in Audi’s lineup, and it isn’t currently sold in the United States. Audi will probably watch the success of BMW’s X1 (which it directly competes with) closely in order to determine whether or not it should be brought over. Overseas, the X1 and Q3 have been all the rage. In fact, the X1’s U.S-arrival was delayed because demand was so strong.
Increasingly though, small vehicles are being sold here – such as the BMW X1 and Buick Encore. Audi showed a concept at Detroit that indicates it will probably be brought over. Anyhow, back to the Q3 RS. It looks performance-minded, with ride-height lowered by 1-inch and 20-inch aluminum wheels making their presence known. Audi’s large grille dominates the front end and is finished in black honeycomb. Audi says it has a “new geometry – the honeycombs are slightly offset to one another deeper inside, creating a distinct three-dimensional effect.” Ok, we’ll take their word for it.
What we’re digging right now is the flat blue paint, combined with other flat surfaces on the Q3 RS. All the rage in the auto industry right now, trim elements are finished in brushed aluminum trim, which gives off a flat look. Under the hood, the Q3 RS is powered by Audi’s 2.5-liter TFSI five-cylinder. This engine pumps out 360 horsepower and puts power to the ground through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive and a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch tranny. There is some serious hardware here. 0-62 mph arrives in just 5.2 seconds. As far as CUVs go, the Q3 RS would have to be one of the most fun and toss able.