Com­fort – check; power – check; han­dling – check. Audi’s new RS Q3 re­ally does tick all the boxes.

That’s how all the other com­pact, po­tent SUVs will be feeling – Audi has struck the per­fect bal­ance be­tween com­fort, power and han­dling in this lit­tle beastie,

Friday - - Contents - says wheels’ Im­ran Ma­lik

TThree years ago, Audi launched the RS Q3 and the one thing you’d never say it needed more of was power, be­cause 347 horses is more than ad­e­quate in a car the size of a shoe. But there’s al­ways room for more and so for the 2017 model, Audi has re­leased a Per­for­mance ver­sion that takes the horse­power up to 367. So how does the ex­tra oomph trans­late to the road? Bril­liantly. Dur­ing my week­end with the Java Green tester, the heav­ens opened and we had a storm on our hands. The strong winds and wet roads made for haz­ardous driv­ing con­di­tions, not that I could tell, be­cause of its prodi­gious amounts of grip. What’s more, my view out of the wind­shield was akin to watch­ing a silent movie, with the fine Nappa leather-clad cabin with in­lays of car­bon fi­bre and alu­minium co­coon­ing me from the harsh el­e­ments. I couldn’t hear a whis­per of the wind or the rain lash down, which speaks vol­umes about the build qual­ity of the RS Q3. How­ever, even more im­pres­sive than that was its abil­ity to re­main glued to the road and there’s a word to ex­plain this phe­nom­ena: qu­at­tro.

The bright green Audi didn’t put a foot wrong, even with large pud­dles on the road and me and my lead foot do­ing my level best to un­set­tle it out of T-junc­tions and the odd cor­ner out of town. The per­ma­nent all-wheel drive sys­tem was able to de­liver the 565Nm of torque ef­fort­lessly thanks to its hy­drauli­cally ac­tu­ated, elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled multi-plate clutch (it dis­trib­utes the grunt au­to­mat­i­cally be­tween the front and rear axles as needed) and al­ways seemed to have im­mense trac­tion at its dis­posal. All this dur­ing the wet, and the next day

when the sun was shin­ing again it proved even more sure-footed; the wheel-se­lec­tive torque con­trol pre­vented slip through tar­geted brak­ing ac­tions on all cor­ners, re­sult­ing in pre­cise con­trol and sporty han­dling.

With a sharp-shift­ing S-Tronic seven-speed gear­box and a sus­pen­sion low­ered by 20mm over the stan­dard Q3, this com­pact SUV was a hoot to drive — es­pe­cially as the made-for-five fam­ily hauler can hit 100kph from rest in just 4.4 sec­onds. With three drive modes to se­lect from via the Audi drive se­lect but­ton, Com­fort and Auto never got much use — I was al­ways in Dy­namic, which stiff­ened up the steer­ing and sus­pen­sion and quick­ened up the throt­tle re­sponse. In this mode, the RS Q3 seemed to shrink around me as I weaved past slower-mov­ing traf­fic with the alacrity of a hot hatch.

Nat­u­rally, I didn’t get near the top speed of 270kph on the high­way, but at the limit, it felt com­posed and the blown in­line five-pot was hardly fussed. The 2.5-litre TFSI, which has a claimed fuel con­sump­tion of 8.6 litres per 100km, has won the In­ter­na­tional En­gine of the Year award in its cat­e­gory six years in a row and it was easy to see why.

The spark-ig­ni­tion en­gine with di­rect in­jec­tion dis­played ter­rific pulling power through­out the rev range — and a won­der­ful sound­track to boot. The mo­tor was one of many high­lights, but there were oth­ers such as a com­fort­able cabin loaded with tech in­clud­ing hill-start as­sist, MMI nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, and all sorts of ameni­ties in­clud­ing a panoramic roof and a bang­ing Bose sur­round sound sys­tem.

It looked pretty good too, and I’m not just talk­ing about the bright paint; it rode on 20in five-spoke wheels, fea­tured sportily de­signed bumpers with large air in­lets and a heav­ily pro­filed dif­fuser.

There’s a lot to take in, but what I took away from this was that it’s one of the best in the high-per­for­mance com­pact SUV seg­ment.

The bright green Audi didn’t put a FOOT WRONG, even with LARGE PUD­DLES on the road and me and my lead foot do­ing my level best to UN­SET­TLE it out of T-junc­tions and the odd cor­ner out of town

The ex­te­rior fea­tures a roof edge spoiler and a dif­fuser but, yep, it’s the Java Green paint that gets the most at­ten­tion…

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.