It’s been exactly 20 years since the high-performance RS badge made its debut on the S2 Avant in 1994, and Audi is now offering RS versions for nearly every vehicle in its lineup. The newest member of the family was launched in 2013 as the RS Q3. Audi’s smallest performance crossover is based on a concept car shown in 2012 and went on sale in late 2013. After only a year in European dealerships — the vehicle has yet to reach U.S. shores — the RS Q3 received a mild visual update and a revised drivetrain for the 2015 model year.

The upgrade brings the RS Q3 in line with the facelift applied to the standard Q3 as far as visuals go, and adds even more power under the hood, where the venerable 2.5-liter five-cylinder remains the company’s engine of choice. While the sheet metal remains largely unchanged, the RS Q3 becomes more aerodynamic and quicker than its short-lived predecessor, a change that’s expected with a vehicle wearing such an iconic badge. Read on to discover all of the updates behind this beefed-up crossover.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi RS Q3.

  • 2015 Audi RS Q3
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-5
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    340
  • Torque @ RPM:
    331
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    70300
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The Audi RS Q3 is the other big competitor
367 hp, 343 lb-ft, $65,000
2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The grille's silver frame now extends into the headlamps and under the hood, giving it a sportier appearance and setting it further apart from its standard sibling.

As with most Audi facelifts, exterior changed are far from massive. Up front, a new set of headlamps replace the previous units. The grille’s silver frame now extends to the headlamps and under the hood, giving it a sportier appearance and setting it further apart from its standard sibling.

The rear styling remains unaltered, save for the slightly revised taillights. Same goes for the profile, where only the side skirts and the wheel arches appear to have received some nips and tucks. Small changes are noticeable in the wheel design as well. 19-inch rollers are standard on the 2015 iteration of the crossover, with 20-inch wheels available on the options list.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,410 MM (173.62 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,603 MM (102.48 Inches)
Width 2,019 MM (79.48 Inches)
Height 1,580 MM (62.20 Inches)
Weight 1,730 KG (3814.00 LBS)

Side-by-side comparison

2015 Audi RS Q3 Exterior
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Interior

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Interior
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2015 Audi RS Q3 Interior
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2015 Audi RS Q3 Interior
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The sportiness of this crossover is further enhanced by RS-specific instrument cluster with red needless, as well as the special RS menu for the driver information system.

Interior updates are minor as well, but the RS Q3 is fresh enough to continue with the unique, sporty features it received a year ago. The cockpit is yet again wrapped almost entirely in black, with the sports seats available in either Alcantara and leather or the optional Nappa leather upholstery with diamond quilting.

The sportiness of this crossover is further enhanced by RS-specific instrument cluster with red needless, as well as the special RS menu for the driver information system. As with most modern-day RS models, said system enables drivers to monitor the engine’s oil temperature and boost pressure, while providing access to a lap timer. Cargo space remains unchanged with the facelift, meaning the RS Q3 offers the same 12.5 cubic-feet of room with the rear seats up or 44.5 cubic-feet with seats folded flat.

Drivetrain

2015 Audi RS Q3 Drivetrain
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The extra oomph isn't the only improvement responsible for the RS Q3's quicker sprints.

The engine compartment is where the 2015 updates are a lot more obvious. The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine now generates 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, which is a significant improvement over the previous 310 ponies and 310 pound-feet of twist. The extra 30 horses and 22 pound-feet shave 0.7 seconds off the crossover’s 0-to-60 benchmark, which is achieved in only 4.8 seconds, as quick as the Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. Top speed remains locked at 155.

The extra oomph isn’t the only improvement responsible for the RS Q3’s quicker sprints. The seven-speed S tronic has also been revised for faster gear shifts, with the lower gears closer than ever. The transmission transfers the power to the quattro all-drive-system using a brand-new hydraulic, multi-plate clutch.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.5 liter, five‑cylinder
Output 340 HP
Torque 331.9 LB-FT
0 - 100 km/h (62.1 mph) 4.8 seconds
Top Speed 250 km/h (155.3 mph)

Suspension and Brakes

2015 Audi RS Q3 Drivetrain
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Stopping power is provided by the same large brake discs gripped by eight-piston calipers.

An RS badge is not just about power and torque. Besides a brawnier engine and a revised transmission, the RS Q3 also receives a host of chassis updates, starting with the RS sport suspension shared with the rest of the company’s high-performance lineup. The system can be had with optional adaptive dampers for 2015, while the steering is tuned for a sportier driving experience. Also standard on the 2015 RS Q3 is the Audi drive select dynamic handling system.

Stopping power is provided by the same large brake discs gripped by eight-piston calipers. However, the front brake discs are now 2.2 pounds lighter thanks to Audi’s innovative "Wave" design.

Prices

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The revised RS Q3 is set to go on sale in the first quarter of 2015 from €56,600 in Germany, which converts to about $70,300 as of 11/07/2014. There’s no word yet on Audi’s intentions with the high-performance crossover for the U.S. market, where only the standard Q3 is offered for the 2015 model year.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG

2015 Mercedes GLA45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
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The GLA45 AMG arrived a bit late to the high-performance, compact crossover party, but the German vehicle has what it takes to give the RS Q3 a run for its money. The Merc is equally aggressive as far as styling goes, while its interior borrows a host of sporty features seen in previous AMG models. Acres of leather and microfiber cover most of the surfaces, while the AMG instrument cluster is yet another indication this crossover was built with performance in mind. Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that sends 355 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque to all four corners through an AMG Speedshift DCT transmission. When used in Sport mode, the GLA45 AMG needs only 4.8 seconds to charge from 0 to 60 mph, while top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. Unlike the RS Q3, the GLA45 AMG is available in U.S. showrooms alongside its standard sibling. Pricing begins from $49,225 including destination.

BMW X1 xDrive35i

2013 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
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Base BMW X1 shown here

Although BMW has yet to develop a proper M Performance version of the X1, the small crossover is peppy enough if selected in its range-topping xDrive35i trim. Powered by the company’s tried-and-true, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine, the xDrive35i comes with 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque on tap. The X1 needs 5.3 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start, and while that’s a half-second slower than both the RS Q3 and the GLA45 AMG, it’s the best you can get from BMW until an X1 M hits the road. Like any other Bimmer, the X1 is packed with tons of convenience and safety features, including an iDrive 4.1 with 8.8-inch display, Bluetooth with USB connection, a Harman Kardon sound system, auto start-stop function and many more. Pricing starts from $38,800, making the X1 xDrive35i the more affordable vehicle of the bunch.

Conclusion

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The facelifted RS Q3 might have received too few updates inside and out, but the revised drivetrain is likely enough to keep customers pouring in Audi dealerships. Unfortunately, the Germans don’t seem willing to bring it to the United States for 2015, meaning customers looking for a sporty compact crossover will have to settle for the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG. While that’s great news for Mercedes USA, Audi customers will be less thrilled without an RS Q3 on this side of the pond.

  • Leave it
    • * Mild exterior and interior updates
    • * U.S. availability uncertain
    • * Strong competition from Mercedes

Press Release

The Audi RS Q3 was updated concurrent with the Q3. The compact performance SUV is now hotter and more dynamic than ever. Its 2.5 liter, five‑cylinder engine now produces 250 kW (340 hp) and 450 Nm (331.9 lb‑ft) of torque. It also now satisfies the Euro 6 standard. The top model in the series now accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds on its way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). An RS exhaust system with a switchable flap adds even more volume to the unmistakable sound of the five‑cylinder engine.

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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The seven‑speed S tronic, which transfers the power to the quattro drivetrain via a new hydraulic multi‑plate clutch (5th generation), has also been refined for even faster gear changes. The lower gears are closely spaced for sporty response while the seventh gear is tall to save fuel.

The chassis of the Audi RS Q3 is also impressive. 19‑inch wheels are standard; 20‑inch wheels are optionally available. Thanks to the wave design, the large brake discs on the front axle are now one kilogram (2.2 lb) lighter. They are gripped by eight‑piston calipers. The standard RS sport suspension is also available with optional adaptive dampers. The steering is tuned for sporty driving, and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system is standard.

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
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Numerous design details illustrate the special status of the dynamic top‑of‑the‑line model. On the exterior, the distinctive bumpers are particularly eye‑catching. The color black dominates the interior. The sport seats are optionally available in Fine Nappa leather with diamond quilting; red needles sweep across gray dials in the instrument cluster; and the driver information system offers a special RS menu with lap timer and displays for both oil temperature and boost pressure.

The base price in Germany for the generously appointed new top model is 56,600 euros. LED headlights, among other features, are standard. Deliveries of the RS Q3 will begin in the first quarter of 2015..

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