By Patrick James on 2014-08-25 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Audi RS Q3 2.5 TFSI
quattro S tronic
AS well as achieving a top-end score in a game of scrabble the RS Q3 scored plenty of points from a whole host of admirers - including one worker at the local refuse tip.
The friendly attendant said he hadn't seen an Audi like it as I pulled up with a boot full of grass cuttings.
There are not too many of the RS versions around and I suspect that few of the owners will be using them to lug rubbish.
Ironically, the good looking Q3 is built exactly for jobs like lugging rubbish along with transporting the dog and the daily school run.
It's a genuine multi purpose car that's spacious, comfortable and good looking to boot.
The RS badge adds fixtures and fittings and adds a certain style and flair to brutal power and pace
I suppose it's the perfect car for someone who wants the practicality of an MPV with the performance and styling that eclipses almost everything on the road.
The chrome covered front grille has the quattro legend embossed in the bottom, the wing mirrors are silver backed and there is a huge exhaust with flashes of the RS branding all over the place - including the brake pads, door kicks, boot and front grille.
The clever, LED trimmed bi-xenon headlights frame the stylish chrome-filled front and the big aluminium body sits on striking alloy wheels.
The interior is immaculate in typical Audi style and includes leather RS Q3 branded heated sports seats.
The central computer screen sits on the top of the dash and houses the clever Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system.
The central dial controls the sat-nav system, DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity and hard drive jukebox with a digitally stored library of albums.
However the only real criticism is the usual one of the cost of relatively basic additions on a model that already sets you back more than £40,000.
I had more than £4,500 of extras fitted with some of them being fairly obvious, like the £1,495 for the MMI navigation system and the £690 for the upgraded Bose music system.
However, it is disappointing to see a £150 charge for electric, folding heated door mirrors, £295 for an auto-dimming rear view mirror, £225 for cruise control and £245 for an interior LED light package.
The performance of the 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine is stunning.
It hums threateningly as you cruise around town and then engine when you floor the pedal.
The slick seven-speed automatic gearbox is also fitted with column-mounted paddle shifters to offer power on tap to the permanent four-wheel drive system.
It has excellent body control and feels sure-footed in corners and composed if a bit firm on every type of road courtesy of a bespoke and lowered sports suspension.
Despite the brutal power, economy is still decent with a start-stop system that cuts engine power when you are idle at traffic, and restarts in just two-tenths of a second.
However, select the sport mode will rocket you to 60mph in just 5.2 seconds.
Much of the time was spent in economy mode, which helps to push up the range.
The computer showed a range of around 600 miles from 90-litre tank, but did considerably more when I driven carefully over some lengthy journeys.
The sport mode gives the car its huge punch, but it's frankly swift enough in the standard drive mode and is far more economical.
I didn't get too close to the advertised figures, but it's fair to say that it was more economical on cruise control than it was about town.
A niggle was with the numbers on the speedo dial, which were a bit small to read and completely missing on the important one likes 30, 50 and 70, but the figures thenselves were more than big enough - up to 200 in fact.
Cheaper and more economical Q3 models might make more sense to almost every Q3 buyer, but RS Q3 is still a clever little package that manages to combine style, performance and practicality.
Audi RS Q3 2.5 TFSI quattro S tronic
Mechanical: 310bhp, 2,480cc, 5cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 5.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 32.1
Insurance Group: 37
C02 emissions: 206g/km
Bik rating: 34%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
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