Form an or­derly Q for another win­ner from Audi’s in­som­ni­acs

Q3 is given the su­per­sporty treat­ment and Fred­eric Manby finds it a well-be­haved all-roader with a nifty turn of speed.

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - AUDI RS Q3

DO they ever sleep at Audi’s HQ in In­gol­stadt?

Well, that’s rhetor­i­cal. They must sleep, yet the ‘vor­sprung durch tech­nik’ stuff must be rac­ing through their dreams. They wake not with mem­o­ries of those un­so­licited phys­i­cal en­coun­ters that in­vade our sleep; they wake in­stead with some new durch, or ad­vance­ment, of the prod­uct.

Then it goes into plan­ning and, oh, maybe a few days af­ter the dream, it’s be­ing touted and nudged into the paths of the pub­li­cists who toil for Audi glob­ally and then they nudge it over to the jour­nal­ists and, th­ese days, the blog­ging opin­ion for­m­ers and lick­spit­tle lack­eys of the free launch, and sud­denly it’s out there.

Or some­thing like that. In Bri­tain alone it sell some 50 dif­fer­ent model lines.

It’s not even as if they are cheap. The en­try price in the bot­tom rung A1 hatch­back costs £14,000 (to £22,000) – for a car that is kin to a hum­bler Volk­swa­gen Polo. In other words a small, re­fined, chic hatch­back.

This price lad­der then as­cends rapidly. Most Audis cost more than £20,000 and a large swathe are be­yond £40,000 and a hand­ful are the top side of £100,000. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are chas­ing the same buy­ers and the trio sold 360,000 cars in Bri­tain in the year to Novem­ber 30.

Do you go to Lon­don? It’s worth the stress just to have a look at the pres­tige Ger­man metal on the streets – some of it with Bent­ley and Roll­sRoyce body­work.

I don’t ex­pect the men and women at the bot­tom of the pile are even aware of the rush of cash into what are, af­ter all, just smarter or marginally faster ways of get­ting from May­fair to Hen­ley, the City to Heathrow.

Audi’s tally in the first 11 months was nearly 134,000 and count­ing. (Ford sold 291,000 but I’d es­ti­mate Audi’s fore­court in­come matched Ford.)

A suc­cess­ful model range is the Q se­ries of smart SUV es­tates. The big­gest-sell­ing model is Q5, which leads its sec­tor, tak­ing more than 50 per cent of Q sales to reach 230,000 this year. That’s what you call on the money

The car tested here is also at the top of its game. The RS Q3 is based on the Audi Q3, which is a bulkier, higher rid­ing ver­sion of the A3 hatch­back. A Q3 has all-wheel trac­tion and down­hill speed con­trol for ad­e­quate off-road romp­ing in a do­mes­tic sort of way.

It is the small­est of Audi’s Q all-road­ers but the RS Q3 is al­most the quick­est, pipped

It’s worth the stress of go­ing to Lon­don just to look at the pres­tige Ger­man metal on the streets.

only by the V8-en­gined S Q5, a size up.

It is won­der­fully quick with its 2,480cc turbo petrol en­gine de­liv­er­ing 306bhp and 309 lb ft of torque. The seven-speed twin-clutch gear­box is, as ever, a quick and smooth way of chang­ing gear. The 0-62 mph time is pos­si­ble in 5.5 sec­onds, says Audi, and the quoted econ­omy is 32mpg com­bined, with 206g/km of CO2 giv­ing it a high tax band.

Well, here’s a thing. The of­fi­cial av­er­age should be pos­si­ble (29 to 33 mpg on test) but if you are watch­ing fuel con­sump­tion you will have bought a Q3 with a diesel en­gine. Yes, I would too.

A lot of Audi’s mo­tor sports tech­nol­ogy has gone into mak­ing an all-roader into this fast-roader. The RS Q3 is the first SUV to get the RS treat­ment from the boffins at Audi’s per­for­mance di­vi­sion, known as quat­tro GmbH.

The reg­u­lar Q3 higher ride height is erad­i­cated by a dropped chas­sis and shal­lowwalled 235/35 Pirellis to avoid body-roll. I’d be loth to take it any­where the ex­pen­sive 20inch al­loys could get scuffed.

De­liv­er­ies be­gin early next year. My ad­vance sam­ple was in red, with sil­very body de­tails.

De­tails in­clude airstream­ing strips at the side of the tail­gate win­dow, some tasty carbon-weave type gloss pan­els on the fas­cia and door in­serts, the em­blem­atic sil­ver and red RS logo on the gear lever, and – hard to miss – a deep deck of grilles at the front which over­power the vis­ual ap­pre­ci­a­tion. How­ever, the vents are there for a rea­son, not for show. At the rear a sin­gle oval tailpipe looks al­most un­der­stated – but takes care of the ex­haust gases ef­fi­ciently and with a stir­ring tune.

Head­room is good and there is ad­e­quate room for lug­gage, above a false floor which cov­ers a faux sparewheel well, which houses the tyre re­pair kit, part of the op­tional Bose au­dio in­stal­la­tion, still leav­ing room for odds and ends. The Bose door speak­ers are out­lined with a white light, a touch which may ap­peal – or not.

An irk­some fea­ture was the rear load cover, which ap­par­ently does not tilt when the tail­gate is opened, and is fid­dly to re­move.

You may no­tice lots of road roar on coarse roads but it is, af­ter all, a very sporty car and th­ese spin-offs are ac­cept­able. And it has a re­ally good ride.

Verdict: Not my sort of Q3 but ful­fills its de­sign brief ad­mirably.

The Audi RS Q3 sees a lot of the Ger­man gi­ant’s mo­tor­sports tech­nol­ogy turn­ing an all-roader into a fast-roader.

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