The Q3 is the latest Audi to get the RS treatment, with the 2015 Audi RS Q3 pretty much unrivalled for what it can do. It’s a compact SUV that doesn’t currently have an equal elsewhere, but the burning question on the tip of our tongues is where this car is a trendsetter or something that buyers don’t really need. Let’s take a closer look to find out.
We’re gonna start with the really good bit, a five-pot turbo engine that is nice and smooth until you ramp up the acceleration, at which point it well and truly comes alive, delivering 310lb ft of available torque and 306bhp. The resulting performance is flexible and powerful, with the consequence being that the new 2015 Audi RS Q3 is more than capable of outstripping the Porsche Cayenne GTS when it comes to speed – something that shouldn’t really be happening when you compare the sizes and price tags of this particular pairing. This means it can rocket to 60mph from rest in 5.0 seconds, which doesn’t exactly leave it trailing in the wake of a supercharged Range Rover Sport either. The engine is wedded to a dual-clutch gearbox.
The whole point of the 2015 Audi RS Q3 was to make a compact SUV that is affordable, and this invariably means it will have to come with a few compromises. This means lateral grip is amiss, as is excellent steering response. Moreover, the roll control of a hatchback is something else buyers will have to do without. If you want any of these traits, we’d have to suggest looking for something pricier. Instead, the new Audi RS Q3 represents middle ground and, in all honesty, is a very usable SUV. Moreover, think back to how many highly priced SUVs have also come up short? There’s a few. The 2015 Audi RS Q3 is a sound, easy car that drivers can zip around in hassle free. It comes with Audi Drive Select modes – auto, comfort and dynamic – but it comes without adaptive dampers. It offers a firm ride, produces a bit of roar on the road, and steers decently.
Step inside the new 2015 Audi RS Q3 and you’ll find that the cloth upholstery of the standard model has gone to make way for contemporary Nappa leather, whilst a flat-bottomed steering wheel has replaced the standard car’s notable circular steering wheel. The dials are also presented a little differently and come lighter-backed, whilst the engine starter button is also new – and it also takes up a bit more space. Most of the really good stuff though, are extras, with the entry-level model missing out on goodies like LED lights and sat-nav. Space and practicality is overall good though, and the boot is well-sized, offering up 460-litres of space. And whilst features such as sat-nav are missing as standard, the base-level variant does come with a sound system with 10 speakers.
Facts and Figures
The new Audi RS Q3 price range starts out from £25,000 and rises to about £45,000. There are four trim levels across the range: SE, S line, S line Plus and RSQ3. As mentioned, standard equipment is not great so buyers will need to bulk up the price with a few choice extras, but if you opt for the S line Plus, you’ll be treated to 19” alloys, privacy glass, as well as standard metallic paint on the exterior. You’ll also get perforated leather inside, as well as cruise control and the Audi parking system. There are a number of safety options that can be yours for a bit more cash too, such as Audi side assist and Audi active lane assist. Efficiency is not one of the 2015 Audi RS Q3’s strongpoints, and it emits 206g/km of CO2, which will result in some big road tax bills, whilst mpg figures are somewhere in the scarily expensive region of 26.7mpg.
There isn’t too much to dislike about the 2015 Audi RS Q3 – until you get to the price. At first sight, the base-level seems well-priced, but when you consider the amount of costly options that should really be available as standard, you start to have a few doubts. Still, the pros of owning a new Audi RS Q3 are pretty big, and they include the rip-roaring five-cylinder engine, the good handling and the plush interior. The other USP this car has going for it is the fact that it’s in such a young, niche class, and at the moment is a serious contender.
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