Audi’s RS division creates sleek ground-hugging road racers out of regular Audi sedans and hatchbacks, but this time they have stepped out of line and jumped the fence to do something out of the ordinary - create an RS SUV! The result is the Audi RS Q3 Concept that packs in a five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 360PS of power. The engine is the same one that does duty in the Audi TT RS and RS3 and has won the 2011 International Engine of the Year Awards.
The 2.5-litre turbocharged engine whose soundtrack harks back to Quattro’s rally days in the 80s is mated to a seven-speed S-tronic double clutch gearbox that drives the front wheels of the Audi RS Q3. However, the vehicle (like all Audi RS vehicles) comes with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system that can send power to the real axle via a hydraulic multi-plate clutch under slippery conditions.
Although the RS Q3 is a concept, it is a fully functioning one. The RS Q3 goes from 0-100km/h in a brisk 5.2 seconds and its top whack is pegged at 264km/h which is indeed very quick for an SUV.
Of course, an Audi RS vehicle is never complete without styling cues that ensure you notice that this isn’t just another Audi. This means a whole bunch of RS badges, contrasting colour stitching, lightweight body parts and lots of big details. And the RS Q3 Concept is no different. Finished in a combination of Ordos Blue matt and blue ‘clearcoat’ paint, the RS Q3 gets the trademark RS honeycomb grille, a bigger rear diffuser, bigger exhaust pipes, deeper air intakes and side sills.
The list of lightweight bits include the door handles, carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) side mirror casings, front spoiler, headlight inserts, sections of the front air intakes, and even the control stalks behind the steering wheel are made of CFRP, but have been framed by aluminium accents though.
The insides of the RS Q3 Concept have been have been littered with ‘RS’ badges on the instrument cluster, seatbacks, door sills and on the floor mats. The interiors of the Audi RS Q3 Concept like in all RS models are predominantly black in colour. The black is offset by dark blue alacantra bits within the leather seats and door trims.
Pop the hood and the cylinder block on the engine is covered with a carbon fibre cover sporting a red valve cover. Like in motorsport, the cylinder numbers are marked on the spark plugs. There is also an aluminium housing that holds the sports air filter the tube of which is made of stainless steel.
We hope the RS Q3 hits production line as it will be a considerably quick little SUV that can take on performance SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and the BMW X5M. Considering the lightweight and smaller dimensions of the RS Q3 Concept, it will be a serious contender in the performance SUV segment.
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