• The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In

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The new Audi RS Q3 has made its debut with a revised version of that peppy and acoustic 2.5-liter, turbocharged, inline, five-cylinder engine. This time around, however, it is tuned to deliver 400 horsepower (295 kW) and 354 pound-feet (480 nm) of torque, all of which is channeled to all four wheels through Audi’s awesome Quattro AWD system. That accounts for an increase of 94 horsepower over the 2013-2014 RS Q3, 65 horsepower over the 2015-2016 RS Q3, and 38 horsepower over the most powerful version from the last-gen model, the RS Q3 Performance. The new RS Q3 is certainly an amazing compact performance crossover with unique styling touches, impressive horsepower, and notable luxury. But, it’s not the RS Q3 that is all that important in today’s headlines.

The RS Q3? Eh, it’s just another performance crossover. What about the RS Q3 Sportback? That’s right, folks. Audi has managed to apply the Sportback name to the range-topping RS Q3 and, believe it or not, it is somehow more attractive than the Q3 Sportback. It features its only unique styling compared to the RS Q3 and the sloping roof – paired with the more aggressive RS design cues – actually makes it look oddly like the Lamborghini Urus from certain angles. It’s hard to believe, sure, but there sure is a resemblance. Here’s a quick rundown of what the new Audi RS Q3 Sportback brings to the lineup.

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Sportback is a Sexy Little Compact SUV

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Exterior
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I’ve never been one to like the whole coupe-SUV design. I think it’s downright ugly and most cars – I’m looking at Mercedes and BMW here – just look like bubblier sedans and retardedly high suspension. Audi, on the other hand, nailed the Sportback styling with the Q3, and that is emphasized even more with the RS Q3 Sportback.

It gets the same traditional RS design cues that make it more aggressive, but it stands out against the RS Q3 SUV thanks to its slightly sloping roofline.

All of the body lines carry over from the Q3 Sportback as you’d expect, but the RS Q3 Sportback also differentiates itself with a new rear spoiler and front spoiler lip that you don’t even get on the standard RS Q3 SUV.

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Exterior
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With that in mind, that sloping roof is some 44mm (about 1.73-inches lower) than that of the RS Q3, the flared wheel arches help give it the feeling of a lower stance, and there are new oval exhaust outlets out back – something the RS Q3 has never had before.

Oddly enough, when you look at the RS Q3 Sportback from certain angles, it really does look like a Lamborghini Urus.

I’m not sure if this was intentional or not – probably not – but it’s kind of cool to some extent. On the other hand, it goes to remind us of just how closely related models from the dirty VAG actually are.

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RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback Performance

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Drivetrain
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Under the hood of the new Audi RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback sits a 2.5-liter, inline, five-cylinder (yes the downright awesome five-cylinder lives on) that’s now good for a total of 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.

That’s the equivalent of 294 kW and 490 nm for our friends on the other side of the pond. Audi claims that 62 mph (100 kph) comes as fast as 4.5 seconds while top speed is limited to 155 with the exception of models who select the right option package in which the top speed limited is raised to 280 kph or 174 mph. A seven-speed transmission handles cog swaps and directs power to all four wheels thanks to Audi’s Quattro AWD system that is standard on both models.

2020 Audi RS Q3 specifications
Engine 2.5-liter, inline, five-cylinder
Horsepower 400 HP
Torque 354 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

For a point of reference, the 2013-2014 RS Q3 delivered 306 horsepower while the 2015-2016 RS Q3 delivers some 335 horsepower. If you were lucky enough to have the RS Q3 Performance, you would have had 362 ponies at your disposal.

So, the new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback are anywhere between 94 and 39 more potent than the last-generation models.
The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Drivetrain
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This improved performance can be attributed to a number of things, with the most important being the new aluminum crankcase of the inline-five and the hollow-drilled crankshaft.

Those cut weight by 39.68 (18 kilos) and 2.205 (about 1 kilo,) respectively. To make things a little sportier, the suspension on both models has been dropped by 0.39 inches or 10 mm which really helps tidy up the side profile when they ride on the standard 20-inch wheels. It looks even better with the optional 21-inch wheels, though.

In terms of fuel economy, Audi says the RS Q3, in standard or Sportback form, can nail between 8.8 and 8.9 liters per 100km or 26.4-26.7 mph in the U.S.

Final Thoughts

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Exterior
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I have to admit that while I liked the Q3 Sportback more than other so-called coupe-SUVs on the market, I still wasn’t really sold on its design either. Now that I’m looking at the RS Q3 Sportback, however, I’m starting to fall for the design a little more. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s more aggressive, or maybe it’s the fact that the larger wheels and various aero enhancements do it wonders. Hell, maybe it’s the fact that when I look at it I see the Lamborghini Urus. I can’t really say for sure, but the new RS Q3, in general, is a nice looking vehicle and the Sportback definitely has my attention. I love the fact that the five-cylinder lives on and 400 horsepower makes for a sizable improvement for this generation.

Now, the real question is what can we expect from the future RS Q3 Performance. Can Audi actually massage a little more power out of that inline-five? The last RS Q3 Performance differentiated itself with an extra 27 horsepower and 11 pound-feet of torque, but I question whether or not that’s doable. It’s quite possible that an RS Q3 performance model could be offered as a mild-hybrid with even more power from a smaller electric motor and small battery pack. If done right, the extra weight would be negligible in the grand scheme of things and the potential for extra power could be paramount. Here’s to hoping, right?

Further reading

The 2020 Audi RS Q3 Now Has a Sportier Friend You Might Be Interested In Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Audi RS Q3.

2017 - 2018 Audi Q3
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Read our full review on the 2018 Audi Q3.

2015 Audi RS Q3 High Resolution Exterior
- image 576602

Read our full review on the 2015 Audi RS Q3.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

mpg); combined CO2 emissions in g/km*: 203 - 202 (326.7 - 325.1 g/mi)) and with the RS Q3 Sportback (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km*: 8.9 - 8.8 (26.4 - 26.7 US mpg); combined CO2 emissions in g/km*: 204 - 202 (328.3 - 325.1 g/mi)) extends the product range to include an all-new model. The two sport compacts offer outstanding performance, athletic design and maximum everyday usability. They will be available in dealers in Germany and other European countries by the end of 2019. Prices for the high-performance SUV start at 63,500 euros. The SUV coupe starts at 65,000 euros.

* Information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as efficiency classes in ranges depending on the tires and alloy wheel rims used
** The collective fuel consumption values of all models named and available on the German market can be found in the list provided at the end of this MediaInfo.

“The first Audi RS Q3** established its own segment. We aim to continue this success story with the new generation of the compact high-performance SUV,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With the offering of the all-new Audi RS Q3 Sportback**, a progressive SUV coupe crossover, we are the trendsetter and are leveraging to the full the phenomenal growth potential for Audi Sport.”

Athletic: the exterior
The Audi RS Q3** and the Audi RS Q3 Sportback** are synonymous with strength and outstanding performance. Virtues that are also reflected in the design. The Singleframe with no color-contrasting surround in the compact SUV creates an even sharper impression. The gloss black grill with three-dimensional honeycomb structure is inset deeper and directly into the RS bumper with its large side air inlets. The striking boomerang-shaped blades in the bumper are designed exclusively for the RS Q3**. The RS genes are also apparent in the flat slits above the Singleframe radiator grille.

With its downward sloping coupe-like roof line, the RS Q3 Sportback** is with a height of 1,557 millimeters (5.1 ft) 45 millimeters (1.8 in) lower than the RS Q3**. The rising shoulder line on the Sportback is set farther down than on the sister model, lowering the body’s optical center of gravity. As such, the body appears even more muscular and the wheels larger. Both Audi Sport high-performance sports cars underscore their performance aspiration with pronounced muscles over the wheel arches, which have been flared by 10 millimeters (0.4 in).

The rear design also appears very powerful. With the low rear window and the roof edge spoiler with RS-specific spoiler lip in gloss black, the RS Q3 Sportback** appears even wider than its sister model. The low-slung roof line culminates in strong, flat sloping D-pillars. The RS-specific long roof edge spoiler in the RS Q3** emphasizes the pronounced forward thrust of the high-performance SUV and ensures improved downforce. The new generation of the RS Q3** comes for the first time with a dual-branch RS exhaust system with large oval tailpipes on both sides and chrome-colored trims. This exhaust system sits in an RS-specific bumper with rear diffuser and horizontal blades in gloss black. The blades are available in matt aluminum as an option.

The high-performance SUVs come standard with LED headlights. Matrix LED headlights with dynamic indicators and RS-specific darkened trims are available as an option. The rear lights also feature LED technology.

Outstanding: the drive
Within the Audi Q3 family, the RS Q3 (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km*: 8.9 - 8.8 (26.4 - 26.7 US mpg); combined CO2 emissions in g/km*: 203 - 202 (326.7 - 325.1 g/mi) and RS Q3 Sportback (combined fuel consumption in l/100 km*: 8.9 - 8.8 (26.4 - 26.7 US mpg); combined CO2 emissions in g/km*: 204 - 202 (328.3 - 325.1 g/mi)) are the sporty flagships. The performance figures for the compact engines are compelling: five-cylinder, 294 kW (400 hp) power output, 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft) of torque, quattro all-wheel drive. The five-cylinder engine is a modern classic. Last year, Audi Sport received the sought-after “International Engine of the Year Award” for the 2.5 TFSI engine for the ninth consecutive time.

The multi-award-winning five-cylinder engine gains a good 17 percent increase in power at an unchanged displacement of 2,480 cc. The engine’s maximum torque is available over the very broad rev range between 1,950 and 5,850 rpm. The RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback** sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in just 4.5 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 250 km/h (155.3 mph) or an optional 280 km/h (174.0 mph).

At less than 50 centimeters (19.7 in) in length, the 2.5 TFSI engine is extremely compact and is 26 kg (57.3 lb) lighter than the previous model. Its crankcase is made of aluminum, which alone saves 18 kg (39.7 lb). Elaborate measures reduce internal friction while at the same time increasing power output. The cylinder liners are plasma-coated; the crankshaft main bearings are six millimeters (0.2 in) smaller in diameter. The crankshaft is hollow bored and is therefore 1 kg (2.2 lb) lighter, while the aluminum pistons have integrated channels for oil cooling. In the short warm-up phase after a cold start, the switchable water pump does not circulate the coolant in the cylinder head – the 2.5 TFSI engine thus reaches its operating temperature more quickly. This lowers the coefficient of friction and reduces fuel consumption.

1-2-4-5-3 – firing alternates between adjacent cylinders and those far apart from one another. The particular firing sequence and the odd number of cylinders make for a very special rhythm and unique engine sound. The dual-branch RS exhaust system underscores the characteristic sound of the five-cylinder firing sequence. The optionally available RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipe trims accentuates the unmistakable sound even more.

The power from the five-cylinder engine flows via a seven-speed S tronic to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that distributes the power as needed between the axles via a multi-plate clutch. The wheel‑selective torque control perfects the safe and agile handling.

The Audi drive select dynamic handling system influences the quattro drive and other components such as steering, suspension, S tronic, engine characteristic and sound. Depending on the selected equipment variant, there is a choice of five or six modes: comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual or, as an alternative to the individual mode, the two new RS modes RS1 and RS2. Via the MMI the driver can adjust and save the two RS modes individually. Simply pressing the new “RS MODE” steering wheel button provides rapid access to the two new modes and allows the driver to switch between modes.

Consistently sporty: the suspension
The standard RS sport suspension lowers the body by 10 millimeters (0.4 in) compared with the Audi Q3 and Q3 Sportback. Its consistently sporty tuning satisfies the basic requirements for the outstanding handling of the two sport compacts. The RS-tuned progressive steering also conveys close contact with the road even on fast bends.

At the front axle with its MacPherson design featuring lower wishbones, the track width is 1,590 millimeters (5.22 ft). In the rear, the four-link design provides a track width of 1,583 millimeters (5.19 ft). For the first time on a compact high-performance SUV, Audi Sport offers 21-inch wheels in various rim designs. Behind the standard 20-inch or optional 21-inch wheels, the all-new six-piston RS steel brake system works with ventilated and perforated disks measuring 375 millimeters (14.8 in) (front) and 310 millimeters (12.2 in) (rear, not perforated). Their brake calipers are painted black as standard and are available in red as an option. The brake calipers of the optional, all-new RS ceramic brakes are available optionally in gray, red or blue. In front, the braking power is generated by newly developed monoblock aluminum calipers and ceramic brake disks that are 380 millimeters (15.0 in) in diameter. At the rear, floating calipers and steel disks measuring 310 mm (12.2 in) in diameter ensure the necessary deceleration.

As an option the new RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback** are available with the RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). Here an electrically actuated proportional valve regulates the flow of oil into the damper pistons. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system also influences the optional RS sport suspension plus with damper control, in which sensors measure movements of the vehicle body. The RS-tuned dampers are then adjusted accordingly to the road surface conditions and driving situation. The suspension provides the optimum damping force for each damper within milliseconds – low for hard bumps; high to brace the body during fast cornering or when braking. The upshot is enhanced driving dynamics, precise stability and agile handling coupled with even greater comfort.

Driver-oriented: the interior
The athletic design of the exterior is echoed in the car’s interior. The emphasis on the horizontal lines conveys a generous sense of space. The air-conditioning control unit, the center console and the MMI touch display are tilted toward the driver by ten degrees – the entire cockpit is very much designed with the driver in mind. The engine can be started using the optional start-stop button with its red ring.

The architecture of the instrument panel with the Audi virtual cockpit in the RS design harmonizes perfectly with the operating concept. The MMI touch display with its high-gloss black glass-look surround slots in seamlessly as another central element. As an option, the driver can choose the larger Audi virtual cockpit plus with shift light display that prompts the driver to upshift when the maximum engine speed is reached. Special RS displays in the Audi virtual cockpit plus also provide information on tire pressure, torque, power output, lap times, g-forces and acceleration measurements.

Sport seats in black leather/Alcantara with RS embossing express the athletic character of the RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback**. The RS sport seats in fine Nappa leather with RS-specific honeycomb pattern and integrated head restraints are available for the first time in the Q3 family. Their contrasting stitching comes standard in gloss black, and optionally in red or blue. When selecting one of the two RS design packages in red or blue, highlights on the steering wheel rim, belt straps, floor mats and gear lever are colored while the steering wheel and selector lever come in Alcantara. With the extended RS design packages, the panels and door armrests are trimmed in red or blue Alcantara. Inlays in Aluminum Race, anthracite, optionally in piano finish, black, or carbon, round out the sporty interior. For the first time, the interior can also be finished entirely in black.

Entry lighting with Audi Sport projection in the doors welcomes the driver and front passenger. RS logos adorn the interior on the steering wheel and the illuminated front door sill trims. The RS sport leather steering wheel, flattened at the bottom, including newly designed shift paddles comes with multifunction buttons that allow the driver to control the two optional RS modes in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. The RS-specific displays open automatically in the Audi virtual cockpit plus.

Generous: space concept and equipment
The new RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback** are designed as fully fledged five-seater models and also offer maximum everyday usability for all their sportiness. The rear seats can be moved fore-aft as standard by 150 millimeters (5.9 in) in the RS Q3** or 130 millimeters (5.1 in) in the RS Q3 Sportback**; their three-way split backrests can be tilted in seven stages. The luggage compartment holds 530 liters (18.7 cu ft), with the backrests folded down the figure rises to 1,525 liters (53.9 cu ft) (Sportback: 1,400 liters (49.4 cu ft)).

Eight paint colors are available for the new RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback**, including the RS-specific colors Kyalami green and Nardo gray. Customized paint finishes are available from Audi exclusive. The standard gloss black styling package adds highlights to blades in front- and rear bumper, window slot trims, roof rails (RS Q3** only) and on the insert in the side sills. The customer can also order these items in aluminum look as an option. In combination with the gloss black styling package, the Audi rings and the RS logos come in black on the front and rear.

The RS Q3** and RS Q3 Sportback** can be ordered starting in October 2019 and will go on sale at dealerships in Germany and other European countries by the end of 2019. Prices for the high-performance SUV start at 63,500 euros. The SUV coupe starts at 65,000 euros.

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