The sneaky smiles
Germans. They don’t just rule on the football pitch but also enjoy picking a good fight on the Autobahn. Often accused of having started the horsepower wars, all three major brands have become experts at building very, very naughty cars. And showing that they’ve also got a sense of humour is the RS Q3.
Stuffing the foamy-mouthed engine of a TT RS into a small soft-roader may seem a little silly but it’s the resulting performance which is downright hilarious. Audi’s also done extremely well to disguise this car’s mad potential so people who enjoy scaring hot hatches at traffic lights will have even more to laugh about.
Although our press car was coated in the beautiful Sepang Blue metallic, you may order it in white or silver for maximum stealth effect. The RS Q3 has deeper bumpers with silver air intakes at the front and there’s a diffuser look at the back with a single, large, oval exhaust pipe. How sneaky is that?
Standard wheel size is 18 inch but our blue monster rode on optional 10-spoke 19-inch alloys of the striking and jolly expensive variety. 20 inch metal is also available. This car had very few other optional extras as the standard specification list of an Audi RS Q3 is extremely comprehensive and impressive.
Its cabin is every bit as stylish and solid as one expects of a modern Ingolstadt product. The sporty seats are at least as comfy as they are supportive but tall drivers may bemoan downward adjustment and head room. The cargo area can extend to a handy 1.6m length for that ultimate modern toy – your mountain bike.
Much like the exterior, Audi employed understatement in dressing the RS Q3’s innards. There are subtle badges hidden in various places like the flat bottom of the sporty steering wheel and the grey-faced instruments which include a superb trip computer and ridiculously illegal speedometer markings.
…the Audi RS Q3 has a great sense of humour…
Included in the base price of N$713,000 is the intuitive MMI navigation and multimedia system as well as a 10-speaker sound system. You also get a full deck of safety systems and quite a few driver aids with only active lights, clever mirrors, lane keeping and parking assistance living on the options list.
Enough of that though, the important bit slumbers sideways under this Q3’s metal: a 2.5L TFSi five-cylinder turbo-petrol developing maximums of 228kW (310hp) or 420Nm. Audi claims averages of 206g CO2/km and 8.8L/100km from the 64L tank but I frequently saw 12L/100km or more with mixed driving.
Considering its fire power, that didn’t bother me even slightly. The RS Q3 is extremely refined and light to pilot in everyday traffic with only the faintest off-beat burble from the exhaust. Handling is pin-sharp and damping on the hard side but still acceptable for the performance enthusiasts this car appeals to.
Should you wish to poke it with a stick, simply select Sport mode from the Audi Drive Select and 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission. This sharpens up throttle and steering response while Quattro all-wheel-drive will help to put full power down – Audi claims 5.5 seconds to 100km/h and a 250km/h top speed.
After pressing a few more buttons, the RS Q3’s launch control helped us to clock a GPS-verified 4.9 seconds to 100km/h and 400m time of 13.4 seconds. That’s properly quick; and those power reserves are just as useful on your daily commute, be it low-end torque forays or mid-range overtaking moves.
We even took this car through a set of muddy roads – which it crossed without fuss – but its forte is eating tarmac as fast as you dare. It may be expensive and relatively thirsty but the Audi RS Q3 has a great sense of humour… it dishes up more smiles per mile than most.
0-10km/h: 0.33 seconds
0-20km/h: 0.64 seconds
0-30km/h: 0.96 seconds
0-40km/h: 1.34 seconds
0-50km/h: 1.78 seconds
0-60km/h: 2.28 seconds
0-70km/h: 2.83 seconds
0-80km/h: 3.42 seconds
0-90km/h: 4.11 seconds
0-100km/h: 4.89 seconds
0-110km/h: 5.77 seconds
0-120km/h: 6.75 seconds
0-130km/h: 7.87 seconds
0-140km/h: 9.09 seconds
0-100m: 5.58 seconds @ 107.87km/h
0-200m: 8.52 seconds @ 135.67km/h
0-300m: 11.00 seconds @ 153.19km/h
0-400m: 13.42 seconds @ 167.46km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.97G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box