The new RS Q3 range will feature a lighter, more powerful version of the famous five-cylinder turbocharged engine, Audi has confirmed.
Ingolstadt has released the full details of the new faux-by-four, and the engine specs make pretty sweet reading. The 2.5-litre TFSI unit has been bumped to 394bhp and 354lb ft courtesy of a retune and some serious lightening work.
The surprisingly compact engine, whose block is less than 50cm long, is some 26kg lighter than before. A new aluminium crank case sheds 18kg and a hollow-bored crankshaft is 1kg lighter, which helps the engine respond faster and feel livelier.
A 1-2-4-5-3 firing order keeps the off-beat warble intact, grouping two adjacent pairs together and punctuating them with the middle cylinder. Drive is, as you’d expect, to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox. There’s clever wheel-selective torque control that brakes the inside wheels gently through turns to help the car hold its line.
You can choose this new engine in either the standard RS Q3, which is quite a handsome, muscular thing, or the RS Q3 Sportback. Both have 10mm-flared wheel arches and a 10mm lower ride height versus the vanilla Q3. The Sportback has a 45mm lower roof line but is otherwise the same car, capable of 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and a regulated top speed of 155mph. Spend a bit more and Audi will raise that to 174mph.
As standard both cars come with 20-inch wheels but for the first time on the sporty Q3 Audi is offering 21-inch rims. They completely fail to hide rather lovely six-piston brakes at the front, although red paint is – annoyingly – a cost-option. Ceramic brakes are also available for some reason, yours with grey, red or blue calipers.
If you’re wondering what the bright green paint is called, it’s the RS-specific Kyalami Green. It’s one of eight choices on the table, plus the unlimited palette available from Audi Exclusive.
Elsewhere on the new model the boot measures 530 litres, the flat-bottomed steering wheel can host buttons to activate the optional RS1 and RS2 customisable driving modes. There are a tonne of interior options to make the Alcantara-strewn cabin as reserved or as daring as you like, while gadget hounds will quickly sniff-out the RS displays in the trip computer, which cover live power output, lap times, g-forces and acceleration stats.
The order books open in October, ready for deliveries in certain European countries by the end of the year. Prices on the continent start at €63,500 for the RS Q3 and €65,000 for the Sportback. We’d have the former, options spend permitting…