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New Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback launched with 395bhp

The new Audi RS Q3 is joined the sleek RS Q3 Sportback, with both boasting the same 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine lifted from the RS 3

Audi has revealed RS versions of its Q3 and newly launched Q3 Sportback small SUVs.

Just like its predecessor, the new RS Q3 packs the same engine from the RS 3 Sportback and benefits from performance and chassis upgrades from the German brand’s Audi Sport division. The RS Q3 Sportback, meanwhile, is mechanically identical and, for now at least, is Audi Sport’s first coupe SUV.

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The visual upgrades are arguably at their most arresting at the front with the RS Q3 getting a different, more aggressive looking bumper from regular Audi Q3 models. Large air vents bookend a new grille, that’s not only more inset, but also features a gloss black finish and a honeycomb design, while a small slot, that sits above the grille but below the edge of the bonnet, mark out the RS version.

Both front and rear arches have been flared by 10mm, while at the rear there’s a new spoiler. For the first time on the RS Q3, there are two oval-shaped pipes – addressing criticism of the previous version’s single exhaust pipe arrangement – that sit under a new bumper, and for a deeper sound, there’s an optional sports exhaust system available.  

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Meanwhile, the RS Q3 Sportback is being touted as the more sporting version. Just like the standard Q3 Sportback, the RS version also features a roofline that’s 45mm lower than the more practical RS Q3. Moreover, the RS gets the same rising shoulder line as the Q3 Sportback that sits further down the body, giving the impression the car is sitting lower to the ground. The RS Q3 Sportback gets a different spoiler to the RS Q3, too – the coupe SUV has a more discrete lip spoiler rather than the RS Q3’s larger one.

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Under the bonnet, the RS 3 Sportback’s characterful 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine makes an appearance in the RS Q3, just like it did in the previous version. Here it pushes out 395bhp rather than the old car’s 335bhp (or 362bhp in RS Q3 Performance specification) and the 0-62mph sprint is now covered in 4.5 seconds (0.4 seconds quicker than the previous RS Q3 but 0.1 seconds slower than the old Performance model). The top speed is limited to 155mph or can be bumped up to 174mph for an additional cost.

The five-pot engine is hooked up to one of Audi’s seven-speed S tronic gearboxes and quattro all-wheel drive, and, as ever, there are a number of driving modes that adjust the car’s characteristics. However, just like the recently revealed RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback, there are two new modes in the Drive Select; RS1 and RS2 are the most hardcore and allow more ways for the driver to change the engine, throttle, suspension, steering and gearbox parameters.

As standard both models get RS sport suspension – that allow both RS Q3s to sit 10mm lower to the ground than regular models – 20-inch wheels and ventilated and perforated 375mm steel brakes at the front and perforated 310mm discs at the back. Adaptive dampers, 21-inch alloys and ceramic brakes are available as options.

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Inside, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit comes as standard but can be upgraded to a display incorporating shift lights. Both come with RS-specific displays, which feature g-force, tyre pressure, torque and lap time information, and just like the rest of the car, there are various options for the interior. Part-leather, part-alcantara sports seats come as standard with RS sports seats available as an option, and there are a handful of colour packages to brighten up the cabin. 

Two new body colours arrive – Kylami green and Naro grey – that are specific to the RS models, both cars’ exterior trim can be ordered in gloss black or aluminum, and puddle lamps – that beam the Audi Sport logo onto the pavement – are standard equipment. Both models will be going on sale early in 2020, with pricing to be announced later this year – but you can expect the RS Q3 to start from around £50,000 and the Sportback a little over £51,000.

Do you like the look of the new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback? Let us know your thoughts below...

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