First Drive

Audi RS Q3 SUV review, test drive

It's an RS. And it's an Audi. But it's an SUV. Will it work?

DETAILS
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An RS badge is exciting, even more so when it’s on an Audi. It’s not just about a sporty body kit or a more powerful engine. Rather, it’s also about an assurance that the standard car has shed some of its cold personality and made provisions for thrills, even as it retains most of its everyday usability and comfortable nature. The RS Q3 is the first SUV from Audi to sport an RS badge, and I’m driving it through the Swiss Alps to see just how RS-ish a luxury SUV can really get. 
 
The key to the RS is its turbocharged 2.5-litre, 20-valve in-line five – an engine configuration first seen on the original Quattro rally car in 1980. It puts out its hefty 42.8kgm of peak torque from as low as 1500rpm and the torque curve remains flat all the way to 5200rpm. The all-wheel-drive traction, perfectly matched gear ratios and a smooth-revving engine all combine to produce jet engine-like thrust in every gear well and at all engine speeds. 
 
 
Just to give you an example of how potent the performance is, let’s take a look at the figures. Claimed time to 100kph for this near-1.8 tonne car is a phenomenal 5.5 seconds, and it’ll hit its limited top speed of 250kph without you noticing. These figures might not sound staggering on a performance car, but remember, we’re talking about an SUV here. 
 
Anyone who has driven, or even heard, the old Audi five-pot turbo working hard in the original Quattro might expect a similar aural experience here. And on one level, they won’t be disappointed; the distinctive thrum of that in-line five is successfully recreated. But the raw beat of the Quattro has been replaced largely by a more refined snarl.  Continued..

Fact File

Price Range (in lakhs)*

Ex-showroom price Rs 58 lakh (estimated)

Engine

Installation Front, transverse, AWD
Type 5 cyls, 2480cc, direct-injection turbocharged petrol
Power 306bhp at 5200-6700rpm
Torque 42.82kgm at 1500-5200rpm

Transmission

Type AWD
Gearbox 7-speed, dual clutch auto

Dimensions

Length 4410mm
Width 1831mm
Height 1602mm
Boot volume 356 litres

Economy

Tank size 64 litres

Audi RS Q3 SUV review, test drive

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Autocar Magazine

Issue: 177 | May 2014

Crossovers, SUVs, supercars and compact sedans: there’s something for everyone in our May 2014 issue.
Autocar Magazine
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