China’s ever-growing automotive market has became such a boon for a lot of automakers that concept vehicles that would otherwise be introduced in auto shows like Frankfurt or Geneva are already making their way to either Beijing or Shanghai.
For their part, Audi is bringing one of these concepts to the 2012 Beijing Auto Show: the 2013 Audi RS Q3 Concept. This concept serves as a response to some Audi drivers that just needed a little more “umph.”
The RS Q3 Concept is a fresh look at what an RS-badged Q3 crossover could look like and since Audi has just released the Q3, it appears that we won’t have to wait long to see a production model soon.
As for the concept itself, the RS Q3 Concept looks hot in its blue-and-black color scheme. As an RS model, Audi also added several RS elements to the concept’s overall look, including a black honeycomb grille, tinted headlights, a new bumper with graping air intakes, and a new set of 20" aluminum wheels. The RS Q3 is planned to borrow the same 2.5-liter engine from the Audi TT RS, so getting that little extra something should be simple for Audi lovers.
Unfortunately, the Q3 will not arrive in the U.S. until later in 2012, and the RS Q3 has yet to be mentioned in the same breath as the U.S. With the growing love for crossovers here, it may become a possibility. Also the fact that the TT RS finally made its way here greatly increases the chances of us U.S. buyers seeing the RS Q3. So let’s have a look at the upcoming RS Q3’s information, courtesy of Audi’s latest press release.
Find out more about the Audi RS Q3 Concept after the jump.
The Audi RS Q3 Concept offers plenty of distinctive styling cues that’s bound to generate some positive buzz at Beijing. One of the more distinguishable elements on the crossover is the front bumper set-up, which has been redesigned to carry more powerful edges around the outer air intakes. The inner sections of the bumper come with honeycomb screen inserts, whereas the outer sections have a smooth funnel shape and are made out of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP). The vehicle’s front spoiler is also made out of CFRP with the entire lower section finished in matte black that’s complemented by blue clear coat paint. In addition to the bumper, the RS Q3 Concept also sports a distinctive single-frame radiator grille with brushed and polished aluminum trim frames. Likewise, the lower area of the grille integrates a silver quattro signature.
Audi also used tinting on the crossover concept to highlight its unique design characteristics. The headlights are slightly tinted and inside them, some chrome parts are dark or covered by panels of CFRP. The sides of the RS Q3 Concept also carry the same tinted areas, particularly on the trim strips of the doors and sills and on the add-on parts of the wheel housings. The door mirror housings also come with black CFRP, while the side windows sport matte aluminum trim frames. Then there’s the roof spoiler, which runs a long way towards the rear and has a middle section has been slightly shorter relative to its outer sections.
Over at the rear, the crossover concept carries a sport and angular lower bumper with a diffuser insert that has been shifted upward. Finally, the rear lights and auxiliary lights in the bumper are tinted in anthracite and are made of clear glass.
In keeping with the black-and-blue motif of the exterior, the interior of the RS Q3 Concept uses black as the dominant color, including on the Fine Nappa leather seat upholstery, the leather-upholstered instrument panel, the roofline, floor carpet, and floor mats. As a nice contrast to the leather seat covers, Audi added Dark blue Alcantara, thus giving the interior an even more luxurious ambience to it.
The German automaker also added CFRP decorative panels on the interior, dressed in a contrasting blue finish while the steering wheel, which has been covered in black Velvet leather, also gets its share of the expensive carbon fiber material.
Meanwhile, the inside door handle carries a perforated lightweight construction look that’s similar to a lot of RS models Audi has produced lately. And to ensure that the RS Q3 Concept is as RS as it gets, Audi tacked on "RS Q3" badges on the instrument cluster, the seatbacks, door sill plates, and floor mats.
The gauges and buttons are all strategically positioned for easy reach, but they are also not overwhelming. Many luxury car builders think more gadgets make the car better, but Audi did a good job finding a good middle ground.
There was no information given about the interior options. Things like standard audio system, climate control interface, infotainment, and other things we’ll just have to wait for. We can see in the image that there is about an 8-inch LCD or LED screen popping from the center of the dashboard.
Overall, this is one sexy interior that anyone would be proud to sit in.
The engine, as in most Audis, doubles as an appearance item. A beautifully crafted L-shaped carbon fiber engine cover sits atop the engine. On the right side of the cover, however, the beautifully painted red valve cover is exposed. The engine looks the part, now how about performance?
Just as expected, the RS Q3 does not disappoint, as the 2,440 cc (2.5-liter) five-cylinder engine that it borrowed from the TT RS cranks out a whopping 265 Kw (360 horsepower). There is no mention on torque specs, but the TT RS has 343 pound-feet of torque at 1,650 rpm, so we assume the RS Q3 would be the same. This slingshots this crossover from a complete stop to 100 Km/h (62.14 mph) in just 5.3 seconds, equaling out to a 0 – 60 time of about 5 seconds.
This 2.5-liter TFSI engine is not all about acceleration either, as it allows the RS Q3 to hit a top speed of 265 km/h (164.66 mph).
The engine hooks up to a seven-speed S tronic transmission, which then connects to Audi’s signature Quattro system. This infamous AWD system distributes almost 100 percent of the power to the front wheel, until it feels slippage. At that time, it will allow additional power to the rear wheels until the slipping stops, via a hydraulic multi-plate clutch system.
There are no estimates on fuel economy yet, but the TT RS gets 18 mpg in the city and 25 mph on the highway with its manual transmission. By reasonable estimation, we can assume that the RS Q3 will get in the area of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, thanks to its less efficient automatic transmission and more drag on the body.
There’s no real hard information on the RS Q3’s suspension system, but we anticipate that it will be heavily modified. We do know that the RS Q3 concept will arrive in Beijing bearing a fresh set of 8.5- x 20-inch alloy rims with a set of high-performance 255/30R20 tires wrapped around them, making for some rather expensive tire spinning.
Could We See It Make Production?
Audi has given no indication about any production plans for the RS Q3 Concept, although we’re pretty sure that we’re going to see a Q3 sporting the RS badge soon enough. Whether it’s going to be based entirely on the RS Q3 Concept is a different matter altogether.
There’s no official pricing from Audi, which is expected of a concept car. Let’s do what we do best here, and speculate. Going from the base model Audi TT to the TT RS we see a 48 percent increase in MSRP. We would assume that the RS Q3 would have similar increases.
In the U.K., the gasoline powered RS Q3 bases out at £25,280 ($40,410). Let’s add in the same RS package increase that the TT gets, and that brings us out to $59,808. Now this is purely just speculation, but that seems about a logical starting point for this model.
The Q3 RS kind of sits in its own little segment with its donor SUV, the Tiguan, but it receives a little competition from the BMW X3 xDrive35i and the Porsche Cayenne.
The X3 xDrive35i has a 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine standard and an eight-speed transmission. The exterior styling of the X3 is sharp and certainly rivals the RS Q3. Unfortunately, the X3’s interior falls far short of the looks of the Audi’s interior. The X3 xDrive35i is priced lower that the RS Q3 will likely be, but we have yet to confirm that. One thing is for sure, the RS Q3 will certainly outperform the X3, except in fuel economy.
Now for the Porsche Cayenne S, which arguably would compete with the RS Q3. This machine comes with a 4.8-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 400 horsepower, so it certainly beats out the RS Q3 in raw power. The Cayenne surprisingly performs well in fuel economy, getting 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, equal to what we estimate the RS 3 will get. The Cayenne loses out in exterior looks, as it is outdated and getting a tad ugly these days. The interior of the Cayenne is also way too boring for us, plus all of the buttons on the inside make you wonder if you need to wait for ground control to clear you for launch.
On the surface, the RS Q3 looks like an awesome buy, but we need to await its official release to see what options Audi will include with it. We also need to know the MSRP and fuel economy to make a final decision. For now, you can pencil us in as saying to wait it out for the RS Q3, but that might change as more details come out.
We will keep you up to date on all of the details as they come.
Love the look
Interior looks posh
Not as much power as we expected
Still in concept guise
No word on whether it will translate to production