Audi RS Q3 review
The Audi RS Q3 is a fast SUV with a distinctive five-cylinder petrol engine and a lovely interior. The lower, lighter Audi RS 3 will be even more fun to drive, mind you.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi RS Q3
The Audi RS Q3 is part of a new fad for extremely fast and powerful SUVs. It’s not just a reheated version of the Q3 with more power, though – just like the Audi RS3 hot hatch, it’s a distinctive and re-engineered model. In more simple terms, it’s Vindaloo rather than Tikka Massala. Now you’re with us.
Rival sporty SUVs such as the BMW X2 M35i and Mercedes GLA 45 used tuned-up four-cylinder petrol engines, but the Audi RS Q3 uses a 400hp 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine. It also has 480Nm of torque, four-wheel drive and a snappy seven-speed automatic gearbox, which all help it go from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds.
The five-cylinder engine is the headline feature of the car, and it’s not just on paper, as it dominates the driving experience. It sounds better than any of its rivals by a long way, especially at higher revs, and the performance it brings is superb in any gear. You can buy an optional sports exhaust, which is great if you want to hear the engine even better.
The RS Q3 also gets sports suspension, which is lower than a standard Q3 model as well as being stiffer – there are adaptive dampers too, so you can change how stiff they are to a small extent. The RS Q3 is a bit more uncomfortable than a normal Q3, then, especially around town.
This all helps the car to stay controlled while cornering, but don’t think that the Q3 can match sports cars when it comes to handling. If you love driving, you’ll prefer the lower, sharper RS3 that shares the RS Q3’s epic engine – though for most drivers, the RS Q3 will be fine.
A couple of things help the Audi RS Q3 stand out amongst performance SUVs - its sharp looks and that characterful five-cylinder engine. It just sounds better than the competition.
The RS Q3 doesn’t have a totally outrageous exterior look like some hot SUVs, but it’s still easy to spot thanks to its dramatic grille and large alloy wheels. There’s a small boot spoiler on the back, too.
On the inside, you get leather sports seats and steering wheel, and if you get the RS design package you also get contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel, gear shifter and seat belts. All these help make the RS Q3 stand out – it is the range-topping car, after all.
The rest of the interior is pretty much the same as any other Q3, including the excellent tech it comes with. The Audi’s touchscreen infotainment system is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but that’s about as far as you can criticise it. The digital dash looks great, is easy to use and is full of functionality, and the central screen is a great host for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It’s practical, too: there’s a 530-litre boot with rear seats that slide forward and backwards on rails and recline. The rear bench splits 40:20:40 and folds down to open 1,525 litres of space up. That’s really good and better than the Sportback version. There’s plenty of room in the back seats for a family, too.
Take a look at the Audi RS Q3 Sportback review
So, if you love the sound of the Audi RS Q3 – both figuratively and literally – then head over to our deals page to see the current offers we have available.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.