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Geneva show: Audi kicks Q3 in the RS

In the Q: Audi’s RS Q3 will be priced under $100,000, Audi Australia promises.

Five-pot turbo RS Q3 to become Audi’s first hot SUV – and cheapest RS model

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Audi logo20 Feb 2013

AUDI is getting set to transplant its potent five-cylinder performance engine from the TT RS sports coupe into its Q3 to not only create its first RS-rated SUV but also its most affordable model wearing the fabled RS badge.

Audi Australia has promised the all-wheel-drive RS Q3 will be priced under $100,000 when it arrives in Australia in the first quarter of 2014.

Currently, the new $139,900 TT RS Plus is the cheapest RennSport-enhanced Audi in Australia. Others include the just-released $149,400 RS4 Avant and $161,900 RS5 coupe.

The bad news is that the new Q3 flagship will not share the same blistering speed and grunt as its RS stablemates, getting a de-tuned 228kW/420Nm version of Audi’s 2.5-litre turbocharged direct-injected petrol engine – 37kW and 40Nm shy of the 265kW/465Nm variants powering the TT RS Plus.

The bulky 1730kg RS Q3, which will make its debut at next month’s Geneva motor show, will naturally also be slower in the 0-100km/h sprint than the TT RS, clocking 5.5 seconds compared with the TT flagship’s supercar-like 4.1 seconds.

However, it will be the quickest Q3 by far, slaughtering the sprint time of the fastest current Q3, the 155kW 2.0 TFSI, which makes the dash in 6.9 seconds – and the fastest in the medium SUV segment.

It is also faster than the swiftest BMW X1, the 180kW xDrive28i, that goes from standstill to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds.

While the RS Q3 will be the most affordable RS model from Audi’s Quattro hot shop, coming in under $100k, but it will demand a large price premium over standard Q3 models that top out at $56,000.

The RS Q3 is one of four RS models in the pipeline this year, taking the RS family to eight. The others include the RS5 Cabriolet, RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback, with all destined for Australia in 2013 or early 2014.

The RS Q3 will be available exclusively with a seven-speed S-tronic automatic transmission with steering wheel paddles – no manual will be available – driving all four wheels via Audi’s quattro drivetrain.

The engine gets idle stop – a first for the five-cylinder engine – that, along with electric-assisted power steering, helps keep fuel economy to 8.8 litres per 100km – 1.1L/100km inferior to the Q3 2.0 TFSI.

The engine, which has been named three times in the Engine of the Year awards, develops peak power between 5200rpm and 6700rpm, while top torque comes between 1500rpm and 5200rpm.

Drivers can select between three drive modes – auto, comfort and dynamic – with the latter opening up an exhaust flap for sharper performance and complete aural pleasure.

As well, the RS Q3 comes equipped with launch control for quick getaways with maximum traction, while handling is enhanced with a sports suspension 25mm lower ride height. The ESC can be turned off too.

The light-weight disc brakes have been upsized for greater stopping power, with 365mm front discs gripped by eight-piston callipers painted black with RS logos.

In Germany, the RS Q3 will get 19-inch alloy wheels, plus optional 20 inchers.

Body wise, the RS Q3 is set apart from its average brethren by a roof spoiler, rear bumper with distinctive diffuser insert, big-bore elliptical tailpipes and RS Q3 badges.

Inside, sport seats are in black Alcantara, although Nappa leather in black or silver is optional. RS Q3 logos are embossed on the seats.

Also in the ‘Q’ for Audi in Australia this year is the SQ5 TDI armed a 230kW/650Nm 3.0-litre bi-turbo diesel V6.

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