Two things Aussies love when it comes to motoring, SUV’s and performance, so combining the two is surely a recipe for success. Enter the Audi RS Q3.
Audi’s family of hot SUV’s already boasts the wickedly-fast SQ7, which holds the title as the quickest four-door diesel SUV the world has ever seen and the equally potent mid-size SQ5 rocketship.
If you like the idea of staggering muscle, but in a smaller package, there is the $84,216 Audi RS Q3.
As if it wasn’t already fast enough, the boffins at Audi made this second-generation model, launched late 2016, even faster. Fast enough to blow away the original R8 in a 0-100km/h drag race.
Transforming the Clark Kent Q3 into the Superman RS Q3 starts with shoehorning a ballistic, 270kW/465Nm direct injection 2.5 litre, five-cylinder turbo powerplant, behind its four ring, single-frame, matte titanium grille.
Next is a specially-tuned, slick-shifting, seven-speed S Tronic gearbox that sends all the power, automatically and variably, to all four wheels.
Out goes the standard suspension, replaced with purposely developed RS sports suspension that stiffens the ride, improves handling and lowers the body by 20mm.
Before bolting on the stunning 20-inch alloy wheels, they attach humongous ventilated disc brakes, to arrest the RSQ3’s supersonic performance.
LED headlights with dynamic rear indicators, a deep front spoiler, and a matte titanium finish on the roof rails, alloy wheels, rear diffuser, quattro air inlet and exterior mirrors, give the Audi RS Q3 a hardcore, aggressive look.
Inside, however, is opposite. It’s serene and sophisticated, refined and relaxing.
Audi’s craftsman drape soft Napa leather finished in an exquisite diamond pattern across the electrically adjustable front sport seats and split fold rear. It also gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles, stainless steel pedals, brushed aluminium, carbon inlays and dual zone aircon.
Rising from the centre dash is the 7-inch hi-res infotainment screen featuring MMI Navigation DAB+ digital radio reception, Bluetooth for phone and music, a rearview camera, and powerful BOSE audio system.
So, that’s the Audi RS Q3.
Aggressive looking on the outside, comfy and refined on the inside and loaded with kit. And I am sure some will buy it for these virtues alone.
For me, it’s all about the RS Q3’s spine-tingling performance, that’s unlike anything else in the segment.
Like the mere 4.4 seconds, it takes to reach 100km/h from standstill and the top speed of 270 km/h.
And the way the ferocious acceleration rams you back in the seat.
And when you downshift, it’s accompanied by a volley of pops and revs.
And the deep rumbling soundtrack from the engine discreetly heard through the cabin.
The ride is unquestionably firm, but with enough suppleness to inhibit any discomfort over bumps and dips.
Anyone who has driven a go-kart in anger will immediately feel at home in the Audi RS Q3. As the speeds rise, so does its handling deftness.
The steering and turn in are pin-sharp, it sits as good as flat through bends with go-kart grip levels. The precision of its power, ride, handling and grip, all working in harmony flatters, rewards and engages the driver.
Audi’s RS Q3 proves that Aussies are in love with hot SUV’s, particularly this one, with sales three times greater than originally forecast.
Call it a compact premium SUV, call it a sports car, call it a hot hatch. It’s highly fangable, insanely fast with a striking appearance and a sumptuous interior with huge reserves of versatility. I’d call that game set and match.
For more info on the Audi RS Q3, head to Audi Australia’s website.