Friday, December 10, 2021

Bucket Seat: Audi RS Q3

2021 saw Audi launch a wide variety of their performance models locally, something that made people in the motoring fraternity froth at the mouth with the the possibility of sampling all these awesome models. Here in sunny Durban however we aren't spoiled like our counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg so we have to take what we get, hence when this car was scheduled for me to test, I got a bit giddy. You see when Audi launch an RS model, you know its special, apart from the immense power it will be housing, it will be loads of fun as well so when the all-new Audi RS Q3 in Turbo Blue, rolled into my driveway, it was only fair for me to give it a fun nickname, hence Sporty Smurf was what I came up with for obvious reasons. Audi launched the RS Q3 in two variants, the standard which I had and the Sportback model which essentially is the same in-terms of performance but has that slanted coupe style roof. Both equally impressive and very attractive, in both looks and pricing for what you get compared to their competition in the market. With this in mind, it was time to see how a car like this performed in real world conditions as well as every day life. 


I spoke at length in my review of the Audi Q3 in terms of its new design and how much more better and mature it is to the older model, so taking that and making it more aggressive for the RS model was not a difficult task for the Audi designers. With its lowered stance thanks to an extended front bumper and side sills give the car a more staunch stance, the front bumper has larger air intakes on the sides while the main grille is completely blacked out with a honeycomb pattern, the added front splitter at the bottom gives the front end a great contrast between the dark and the bright. The Audi badges have also been finished off in gloss black, this includes the rings and nameplates, but this is a R5,800 option. Another option extra was the 5V spoke 21-inch rims in black, I must add these blacked out options contrasted beautifully on the bright Turbo Blue metallic paint and may get drowned out on darker colours. The rear diffuser follows the normal RS trend with the highlighted extrusions at the tailpipes which are also finished off in black. While these are dual pipes they are huge, dual tailpipes with plenty of volume. The Audi Q3 matrix LED lights both in the front and the back deserve a mention as they create a stunning look for the car with their design.  The interior has been upgraded to suit the Audi Performance style, with great looking sports seats finished off in leather and alcantara and has a honeycomb stich in blue with the RS logos embossed on the seats. There is a lovely play on materials in the cabin to give the car that sporty look and feel which will be discussed later in the review.


Unlike the menacing V8 in RS6 Avant I drove in Cape Town, this RS Q3 features a slightly motor, this one being the 2.5L Twin-Turbo 5-cylinder which is menacing in its own right. The 5-pot delivers 294kW and 480Nm of torque! It is a heck of fun to drive and is rather throaty, couple with the 7-speed S Tronic gearbox with paddle shifts, it makes this heavy SUV feel like a hot hatch. 0-100km/h takes just 4.5 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h however this one did come with the option to increase the top speed to 280km/h, not that I could ever achieve that on normal roads. When it comes to average fuel consumption, I don't feel its appropriate to discuss this on high-end performance models like this as it depends purely on driving styles but seeing that the price of fuel has sky rocketed to astronomically figures of late, it is good to note that driving around urban areas in eco mode I did manage to achieve a healthy average of 8.1L per 100km which is pretty decent seeing that I was hitting over 12 for most of my time with it. It has a 60L tank which you can finish in about 350km if you're going pedal to the metal in dynamic mode. Like all of Audi's performance models, the RS Q3 comes with Quattro four-wheel drive so keeping this large SUV planted isn't difficult, the car is rooted to the tarmac and seems at home when navigating the bends. Just to test the SUV nature of the vehicle I took it on some light gravel trails and it faired impressively well even with the 21-inch rims. 

I spoke about the sportiness of the cabin as well as the sport seats but while these do have side supports and large head rests, they are super comfy and can be heated as an option. They are fully electric adjustable with memory settings should anyone interfere with your preferred seating style. The cabin came with three-zone climate control which is an extra, usually its just a dual-zone system. Other extras included Audi's phone box package, 360 degree cameras, panoramic glass sunroof and 12V outlet as well as twin USB ports for the rear passengers. The ride quality is faultless, give its on harder suspension and bigger rims, it is still pretty comfy. A reason for this is Audi's adaptive chassis control with Audi drive select that ensures the cars stability and automatically changes to suit its environment. Safety wise, Audi has given its usual list of options which include lane departure warning which has lane change assist and include side assist, it has adaptive cruise control with pre send front collision which warns you if the car in front of you is slowing down. While driving a performance model like this, its quick to forget its actually a practical family SUV with more than enough room for 4 grown adults with a luggage capacity of 530L, so perfect for weekend getaways or long holidays on the road. 


Overall, the Audi RS Q3 takes off from its predecessor as being a practical, affordable performance SUV. It offers all the comfort as the usual Q3 but with the sportiness you'd want from a car like this. While with the increasing price of fuel, if you want a justification into buying a car of this nature, apart from driving it to seeing what you will be getting I feel the RS Q3 offers the perfect balance of practicality of a medium sized family SUV with the same performance you're getting from an Audi TT RS. It's the smallest engine offered in the RS range so you're not going to be taking out loans to fill this one up all the time and while you spend time with it, you get to learn how the car reacts to your driving styles and you will find the sweet spot to give you optimal fuel usage and still enjoy the engine for what it is. 


2.5L 5-cylinder Turbo
Gear Box
7-Speed S Tronic
Top Speed

*Price test at R1,286,880


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