A rapid lit­tle rip­per

Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT -


It’s not cheap at more than $90,000 on the road and the list of stan­dard fea­tures is ad­e­quate rather than out­stand­ing. Op­tional packs can push the price tag above $100,000 and into the ball­park of the much larger Q7. Stan­dard crea­ture com­forts in­clude sat­nav, dig­i­tal ra­dio, 20-inch wheels, Al­can­tara trim, power tail­gate, heated front seats, re­vers­ing cam­era and dip­ping pas­sen­ger­side side mir­ror so you don’t scratch the al­loys on the kerb. Metal­lic paint is $1495 and pri­vacy glass is $950. Three­year/45,000km plan in­cludes three ser­vices for $1590.


Snug sup­port­ive seats hold you tight through the bends, which is just as well be­cause the RSQ3 is ca­pa­ble of rapid cor­ner­ing. The ride is sur­pris­ingly live­able for a car with such a sporty fo­cus, although the stiffer sus­pen­sion can mean it’s a bit bouncy over speed humps and big­ger bumps in the sport set­ting. Rear legroom is tight for an SUV and the load area is more hatch­back-size than family wagon. Road and tyre noise are gen­er­ally well sup­pressed and the con­trols are easy to use, falling eas­ily to hand.


For a car in this price range the Audi is light-on for driver as­sis­tance. It has blind spot warn­ing but there’s no au­to­mated emer­gency brak­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing or ac­tive cruise con­trol. Pay $1990 for an as­sis­tance pack and the car will steer you back into your lane if you stray and will dip or ac­ti­vate the high-beams to give you op­ti­mum vi­sion at night without blind­ing on­com­ing driv­ers. The pack also in­cludes hill de­scent con­trol and hill­hold as­sist for those ven­tur­ing off-road. The stan­dard Q3 scored well in ANCAP crash test­ing, with 35.15/ 37.


The RS3 hatch­back is a Cars­guide favourite for its com­bi­na­tion of blis­ter­ing ac­cel­er­a­tion and day-to-day live­abil­ity. The RSQ3 shares its po­tent five-cylin­der turbo (270kW) and claims 4.4 sec­onds for the 0-100km/h run, com­pared with the hatch’s 4.3. Some­how, though, it doesn’t feel that quick. Per­haps it’s the SUV ride height or the ex­haust note, which rel­a­tive to the RS3’s is more muted and doesn’t crackle, spit and snarl. Driv­ing modes adapt for com­fort or sporti­ness, the lat­ter sharp­en­ing throt­tle re­sponse, gear shifts and steer­ing. On the whole it works well but the sporty steer­ing set­ting seems to add more weight than feel. Ex­cep­tional grip and poise through cor­ners make it feel more like a hatch­back from the driver’s seat.


Audi RS3, from $78,616

Cheaper, faster, more eco­nom­i­cal and more nim­ble with a bet­ter sound­track, the RS3 will suit any­one who doesn’t need the added prac­ti­cal­ity of an SUV. Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG, $84,315

Higher out­puts but iden­ti­cal 0-100km/h claim plus more driver as­sis­tance tech­nol­ogy and more stan­dard equip­ment.


The RSQ3 is well fin­ished and the en­gine is a rip­per but it’s not as en­gag­ing as the hatch coun­ter­part. Audi con­tin­ues to charge for equip­ment that is stan­dard on cars a third of the price.


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