Like them or not, crossovers – and the performance versions they inevitably spawn – are here to stay. Thankfully, some even do reasonably good impressions of drivers’ cars, and the Audi RS Q3 is one such vehicle.
For those who baulk at the RS Q3’s 335bhp output and 4.8-second 0-62mph time, there’s now an even faster version.
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The RS Q3 Performance uses a revised version of the regular car’s sonorous 2.5-litre, five-cylinder TFSI petrol powerplant, its output rising to 362bhp with peak torque of 343lb ft – improvements of 27bhp and 11lb ft respectively.
The latter figure is available in a spread between 1625 and 5500rpm – only a touch higher than the standard model’s 1600-5300rpm spread, but its effects slice four tenths from the 0-62mph time. Top speed remains limited to 155mph, which should suit most.
Mechanical changes extend to increased radiator cooling capacity and revisions to the fuel pump. A seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission still delegates drive, via a Haldex V all-wheel drive system that can direct torque to wherever it’s most required.
The Performance pack retains the RS Q3’s RS sport suspension – 20mm lower than other Q3s – with RS sport suspension plus an option. This adds variable dampers, with Comfort, Auto and Dynamic settings.
Styling is also similar to the regular RS Q3, though Audi has applied extra titanium-look detailing to the singleframe grille, air inlet duct, side window trim strips, mirror housings, roof rails and the rear diffuser and spoiler. A unique paint shade, Ascari blue, is only available on the Performance, as are special 20-inch alloy wheels.
Standard equipment includes all-LED headlights, privacy glass, keyless entry and a 180-watt sound system. Pricing starts at £49,175, compared to the standard car’s £45,810. Order books are open now.