2017 Audi RS Q3 Performance

2017 audi rs q3 performance – DOC664251

When it comes to the Audi Q3, two big things happened for the 2015 model year. The first was a refresh that gave the car a sportier look with mild changes to the front end. In addition to the mild facelift, Audi also brought the Q3 to U.S. shores for the first time. Of course, we didn’t get the plethora of engines available in other markets, but hey, at least we got the Q3. Now that we’re slowly crossing days off the 2016 calendar, Audi has dropped the news that a performance variant of the RS Q3 – called the Audi RS Q3 Performance – is in the works and will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 2016.

Naturally, the performance-minded RS Q3 will take on some significant changes to differentiate it from the standard RS Q3. There will be minor changes to the exterior, as well as some significant changes to the interior. In addition to that, a performance-optimized engine and chassis come together to make this little crossover something that dreams are made of.

So far, the RS Q3 Performance has only been given a European emissions classification (Euro 6,) so it doesn’t look like it is coming to the States anytime soon. Hopefully, that will change in the future but, until it does, let’s take a look at what our neighbors on the other side of the drink can expect from the Audi RS Q3 Performance.


Audi RS Q3 Performance

Audi RS Q3 Performance

Audi RS Q3 Performance

Up front, you’ll notice subtle changes that set the RS-variant apart from the standard Q3.

The RS Q3 Performance is the third model to join Audi’s RS performance lineup, sitting alongside the RS 6 Avant and the RS 7 Sportback. As you might expect, the RS Q3 takes on the same general styling that is seen on its other performance-oriented siblings. Up front, you’ll notice subtle changes that set the RS-variant apart from the standard Q3. The standard grille has been replaced with a gloss black grille that has a honeycomb design. Down below, air vents have been added to the fascia’s corner inserts. Those inserts, by the way, also take on the same honeycomb design as the grille.

In comparison to the standard Q3, there aren’t any significant changes to the side of the vehicle. The same titanium-looking finish from the air vent ducts up front have been applied to the mirrors, window trim, roof rails, and side-view mirrors.

Around back, you’ll notice that the RS Q3 performance has a sculpted diffuser that is painted gloss black.

Around back, you’ll notice that the RS Q3 performance has a sculpted diffuser that is painted gloss black. The rear fascia has a little more character than on the standard model with new styling below the fascia-mounted reflectors. Because the RS Q3 performance comes standard with the Audi’s RS exhaust system an oval exhaust outlet protrudes from the rear diffuser.

The model shown in the images here has the optional Ascari blue metallic finish that is an exclusive option for the RS Q3 Performance. Other exterior options include a matte aluminum or Gloss black styling package. Personally, I would like to see some dark tinted windows here. Dark windows in combination with that Ascari blue metallic finish would really tie the exterior together.


Audi RS Q3 Performance

The standard seats of the Q3 will be replaced by sport seats that are embossed with the RS Q3 logo, and wrapped in black Alcantara and leather. A black and blue color scheme for the seats is also available with the optional RS performance design package. The RS Q3 Performance will have a flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel. With the black and blue color scheme, blue contrast stitching will be used throughout on the seats and the shifter boot.

With the black and blue color scheme, blue contrast stitching will be used throughout on the seats and the shifter boot.

In addition to the black and blue theme, the seats can also be had in black or lunar silver Nappa leather that is held together by gray stitching. As you can see from these images, the black and blue color scheme includes diamond-shaped inserts in the middle of the seat, also offset by the blue stitching. Furthermore, inserts on the door trim, dashboard and around the shifter also set off the black and blue scheme with a diamond pattern.

To further differentiate the model on the inside, the standard gauge cluster will also take on some new colors. The black background of the gauges has been traded for a gray background, with bright white lettering and bright red needles. The driver information center in the middle will show boost pressure and oil temperature. When the RS menu is activated the information center will display a lap timer – yup, Audi even thought of that for the RS Q3 Performance. The MMI infotainment system and Audi sound system will carry over from the standard Q3 and RS Q3, but that system is already impressive as it is, so that really isn’t a big deal.


Audi RS Q3 Performance

This little performance crossover is powered by a hand-built 2.5-liter, TFSI engine that pumps out 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. That isn’t too bad at all when you consider that is enough to push the RS Q3 Performance to 62 mph in just 4.4 seconds. In case you don’t know, this is the same engine that has been named the International Engine of the Year for the last six years.

This little performance crossover is powered by a hand-built 2.5-liter, TFSI engine that pumps out 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque.

Power from the 2.5-liter is sent to the wheels all four wheels via a modified seven-speed S Tronic. According to Audi, the transmission has very short shift times, with the lower gears spaced closer together. This dual clutch transmission will shift automatically on its own unless you’re feeling frisky and want to shift with the standard shift paddles on the steering wheel. The all-wheel drive system is permanent, but an electronically controlled clutch on the front axle distributes power between the front and rear axles as needed, depending on driving mode.

To keep the RS Q3 Performance stable under heavy acceleration and tight maneuvers, the RS sport suspension system has active dampers that can be set to one of three modes – comfort, auto, and dynamic. In addition to that, the suspension system also drops the body by 0.8-inches in comparison to the standard Q3. The performance crossover comes standard with 20-inch wheels and eight-piston brake calipers all the way around. Those calipers come standard with a bright red finish, but Audi will paint them black for no additional charge.


Audi RS Q3 Performance

Audi didn’t mention much regarding safety in its press release about the RS Q3 Performance, but it is safe to assume that it comes will all of the safety features found in the standard Q3 and RS Q3. In addition to that, Audi’s parking system plus and LED headlights will also come standard on this model.


Orders are already being taken for the RS Q3 Performance in Germany with a price of €61,000 or $68,237 at current exchange rates. To give you an idea, that is about €32,000 more than the standard Q3, and about €5,000 more than the current RS Q3.


Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic

Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG – Driven

The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4Matic has a significantly smaller engine compared to the RS Q3 Performance, but that doesn’t take it out of the running as a competitor. The GLA 45 comes with a 2.0-liter (1,991 cc) inline, four-cylinder engine that produces 381 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. That’s 14 horsepower and 132 pounds more than the RS Q3 Performance. That power pushes the GLA 45 matches the RS Q3 Performance to 62 mph with a time of just 4.4 seconds. In Germany, the GLA 45 4Matic starts out at €58,393, about €3,000 cheaper than the RS Q3 Performance.

Porsche Cayenne S

Porsche Cayenne

The Porsche Cayenne S is a more expensive than the RS Q3 Performance, with a starting price of €81,016. For that money, you get 414 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque from a six-cylinder engine. The thing with the Porsche is, however, that you’re really paying an extra €20,000 for the name, because the Cayenne can’t even match the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 or the RS Q3 Performance to the 62 mph benchmark. No, it actually falls short, with the Cayenne taking 5.5 seconds to hit 62 mph. Then again, the Cayenne is a tad bit larger than the RS Q3 Performance. Be that as it may, it is still Porsche’s best competitor for Audi’s new model without stepping up to the more expensive and larger Cayenne GTS or Cayenne Turbo.


Audi RS Q3 Performance

I like the fact that Audi can wrestle with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 and the Porsche Cayenne, but I’m not sure the work going into the RS Q3 Performance is really worth the creation of a whole new model. To me, it would make more sense to offer everything that comes with the RS Q3 Performance as a package for the RS Q3. It seems that sales of the RS Q3 will suffer as it would simply make more sense to spend the extra €5,000 and go with the RS Q3 performance. Regardless of that point, I still like where Audi is going with this model, if it has to be a model of its own. The 4.4-second sprint to 62 mph isn’t bad at all, and it competes with Mercedes -AMG and Porsche a little better than the RS Q3 can. Now, the next thing on my mind is what I have to do to convince Audi to bring the RS Q3 Performance to the U.S.


  • More horsepower and better performance
  • Honeycomb grille and inserts up front
  • Standard sport exhaust and suspension


  • Why not offer it as a package instead of making a whole new model?
  • Could have more aggressive styling on the sides
  • A six speed and clutch pedal would be nice

Press Release

More power, specific exterior details and an exclusive interior package: These are the key features that make the Audi RS Q3 performance* the premium brand’s new top model in the compact SUV segment.

Audi RS Q3 Performance

The new Audi RS Q3 performance joins the RS 6 Avant performance* and the RS 7 Sportback performance* as the third member of the RS performance family. As the sporty subsidiary of AUDI AG, quattro GmbH is responsible for these high-performance models.


The output of the 2.5 TFSI engine has been increased by 20 kW (27 hp) to 270 kW (367 hp), helping the RS Q3 performance to a standard top speed of 270 km/h (167.8 mph). 465 Nm (343.0 lb-ft) of torque is available from 1,625 to 5,500 rpm; the RS Q3 performance sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.4 seconds. Combined fuel consumption in the NEDC cycle is 8.6 liters per 100 km (27.4 US mpg), corresponding to 203 g CO2 per km (326.7 g/mi). A recuperation system and a start-stop system contribute to this value. The emissions classification is Euro 6.

The 2.5 TFSI has a displacement of 2,480 cc, the result of an 82.5 millimeter (3.2 in) stroke and 92.8 millimeter (3.7 in) bore. With tremendous pulling power, an extremely free-revving character and the characteristic sound of the five-cylinder’s 1 ‑ 2 ‑ 4 ‑ 5 ‑ 3 ignition sequence, goosebumps are guaranteed. At higher loads and rpm, a flap in the RS exhaust system opens to make the characteristic sound even more voluminous. This five-cylinder engine is a modern classic. Since 2010, an international panel of automotive journalists has named it “International Engine of the Year” in its category six years in a row.

Audi RS Q3 Performance

Just 49 centimeters (19.3 in) long, the engine is very short. It weighs approximately 180 kilograms (396.8 lb). Its crankcase is made of vermicular graphite cast iron, an extremely strong, yet lightweight material. Perfectly placed reinforcements enhance the block’s loadability. RS Q3 performance-specific refinements to the 2.5 TFSI include technical details such as a redesigned main radiator and an optimized fuel pump.

A small team of specially trained employees build the 2.5 TFSI by hand at the Audi site in Győr, Hungary.


The five-cylinder turbo’s power flows to a modified seven-speed S tronic with very short shift times. The lower gears are closely spaced for sporty response while the seventh gear is long to save fuel. The driver can let the dual-clutch transmission do all the work in modes D and S, or can shift gears manually using the shift paddles on the standard RS multifunction steering wheel. In the dynamic mode of the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, each shift operation is accompanied by double-declutching. A launch control function provides full-throttle acceleration from a standing start.

The primary component of the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system is a hydraulically actuated and electronically controlled multi-plate clutch mounted in front of the rear axle. The electronic controller combines stability, traction and driving enjoyment. Power is distributed as needed between the front and rear axles depending on the driving situation. Networking with the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) means that power is even distributed selectively to each wheel. As is typical for RS models, the ESC can be deactivated and has a retuned sport mode.

Audi RS Q3 Performance


The taut RS sport suspension on the new Audi RS Q3 performance translates the dynamics of the powerful engine particularly well and lowers the body by 20 millimeters (0.8 in) compared with the Audi Q3. Audi offers the RS sport suspension plus with damper control as an option. The characteristic of the adaptive dampers can be set to one of three different modes (comfort, auto and dynamic) using the standard dynamic handling system Audi drive select.

In Germany, the Audi RS Q3 performance comes standard with 20-inch wheels

in a five twin-spoke V design in matt titanium-look. Additional 20-inch wheels

in different designs and surface finishes are available as options.

The front brake discs measure 365 millimeters (14.4 in) in diameter and feature a weight-saving wave design. In the RS Q3 performance, the eight-piston calipers with the RS logo come standard with a gloss red paint finish. These are also available in black at no extra charge.

Exterior design

RS-typical design details, such as the sportily designed bumpers with large air inlets up front, the gloss black honeycomb grilles, the rear bumper with sculpted diffuser insert and the RS exhaust system with its large oval tailpipe underscore the sporty character of the Audi RS Q3 performance.

The exterior of the RS Q3 performance is characterized by exclusive add-on parts in a matt titanium-look finish. The frame of the air inlet duct and the quattro logo within, for example, are finished this way. Other parts finished in matt titanium-look are: the Singleframe, the lateral flaps in the air inlets, the trim strips at the side windows, the exterior mirror housings, the roof rails, the upper edge of the diffuser and the fins of the roof edge spoiler.

Audi RS Q3 Performance

The familiar matt aluminum and gloss black styling packages are also available upon request. Audi offers the optional Ascari blue metallic paint finish exclusively for the RS Q3 performance.

Interior and equipment

The dynamic line of the exterior design is echoed in the car’s interior. The sport seats with the embossed RS Q3 logo are covered in a combination of black Alcantara and leather. Audi offers the seats in the color combination black and blue with the optional RS performance design package. A dynamic perforation pattern on the seat center panel tapers off diffusely toward the bottom and rear, with the blue that shines through providing for exceptional color effects.

The RS sport leather steering wheel, which is flattened at the bottom, the center armrest and the selector lever gaiter get blue contrasting stitching. Inlays in carbon twill blue, in which a blue thread is woven into the high-quality carbon material, round out this exclusive combination.

The seats can also be ordered in black or lunar silver fine Nappa leather with stone gray contrasting stitching. With the black variant, a diamond pattern in stone gray is also available. Carbon inlays are standard, with aluminum race or piano black available as an option.

The instrument cluster has gray faces with white numbers and red needles. The color display of the driver information system shows boost pressure, oil temperature and a lap timer in a special RS menu. Besides the sport seats, the Audi RS Q3 performance also comes standard in Germany with the parking system plus, MMI radio, Audi sound system, deluxe automatic air conditioning and LED headlights.

Audi RS Q3 Performance

Orders are now being accepted for the Audi RS Q3 performance. It will celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016. The base price of the high-performance SUV in Germany is 61,000 euros. Deliveries of the RS Q3 performance are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2016.