Audi RS Q3

Performance - First

Drive

Audi RS Q3 Performance, front, action
Audi RS Q3 Performance, front
Audi RS Q3 Performance, rear
Audi RS Q3 Performance, side
Audi RS Q3 Performance, interior

BRITONS love Q-ing, at least to get their hands on the SUV versions of Audi's extensive range.

The Q3, Q5 and Q7 models in the line up accounted for 18.7 per cent of Audi UK sales amounting to 166,709 cars last year.

Anna Chudley, product manager for Q3 and Q7 models, said: "The RS Q3 Performance is being launched this month as the halo model in the Q3 range, bringing sports car performance to the family sector, for drivers who want to have fun in an SUV."

The Performance version of the RS Q3 gets an extra 27ps power boost and 15Nm of pulling power, clipping just under half-a-second off the 0-62mph time, now down to 4.4 secs, for about £4,000 more than the 'standard' RS Q3.

Top speed remains restricted at 155mph and fuel economy is a claimed 42.8mpg with emissions of 203g/km. We managed to average 30 to the gallon on our run.

The Q3 series in 2015 was sold to about 15,000 people and this year Audi hope the RS models will account for a further two per cent rise with conquest sales from buyers who may have been looking at German rivals.

The RS Q3 Performance is essentially an RS 3 on steroids which pump up the body and power to deliver a really sporting SUV for those who want and can afford it.

The RS Q3 Performance gets different exterior detailing to front panel and roof rails, and interior changes to the stitching around the wheel and seats.

It's rapid, refined and really covers ground swiftly and smoothly.

The RS Q3 Performance is firm but not lacking in finesse as you can set the responses as desired through a button on the console with comfort, auto and dynamic settings at your fingertip with the optional technology pack as fitted to the test car.

The engine is very gutsy and has a pleasant grunt when you want to use it, the seven-speed automatic is velvet smooth and the steering and brakes impart excellent feel.

Over a short test route taking in country lanes, urban roads and motorway we saw just over 30mpg returned, but what a return it was with instant strong power underfoot, agile handling and confidence building roadholding.

It's not a very roomy cabin but the boot has a low sill and good shape and capacity rising from 280 to 1,120 litres.

You have some over the shoulder blind spots and a high tail to contend with when reversing so sensors are a must.

It packs a punch and knocks out high emissions which means it attracts a high BIK penalty along with the price which starts from £47,850.

There is, however, no doubting the RS Q3 Performance will become one of the rarest and most desirable of the true Sports Utility Vehicles.

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