If you are driving in northern Sweden in February, vehicle control on the icy roads is not only a necessity, but also a source of the greatest driving pleasure. It's not for nothing that Audi presented its new RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback on a frozen lake. Their outstanding driving characteristics come into their own here particularly well.
At first it is difficult to get used to the slick streets. With every oncoming truck you ask yourself the question: what if it now skids ...? In the new Audi, you quickly get used to the fact that, thanks to Quattro drive and spikes on the wheels, you stay in control. And you can clearly feel that the new generation RS Q3 far exceeds its predecessor in all criteria of driving dynamics.
The engineers not only implanted more power (400 hp) in the new generation, but also filed, optimized and coordinated at all corners and ends of the drive that a driving machine had been created that seemed to override physical limits. Of course that is nonsense. But on the ice course of a Swedish lake you can learn how relative these limits are when the umpteen electronic sensors lead the quattro drive to the optimum of an apparently unlimited liability. In other words, it has simply become easier for the driver to approach these limits.
The legendary five-cylinder gives you goose bumps
There is the legendary five-cylinder, which not only conjures up 2,5 hp and 400 Newton meters of torque from a 480-liter displacement, but also creates a soundscape that causes goosebumps. This five-cylinder has been awarded the coveted “International Engine of the Year Award” nine times in a row. In just 4,5 seconds from 0 to 100 km / h are an expression of its performance, which only comes to an end at a reduced 250 km / h. If desired, this limit can also be extended to 280 km / h. The permanent "quattro" all-wheel drive enables the driver to explore boundaries and yet remain in control at all times.
If a few colleagues had to be pulled out of a snowdrift on the edge of the slopes during our test drive in the far north, the car did not fail ... It goes without saying that this does not take place on public roads, but on the Audi Sport test site Here, by the way, customers can also find out for themselves what it means not to lose control in the border area on ice. “Audi Driving Experience” is the name of the driver training program for ambitious Audi customers that takes place at numerous locations.
The standard RS sports suspension with a body lowered by ten millimeters can optionally be supplemented with the damper control DCC, which noticeably dampens the body movement during fast cornering. Not noticeable on the smooth streets of northern Sweden. About the driving dynamics system Audi Drive Select the driver can vary all driving parameters and thus adjust the steering, the 7-speed S tronic, the engine characteristics and the sound as desired. There are also two RS modes, which the driver can program himself and activate in a fraction of a second at the touch of a button on the steering wheel without cumbersome menu handling.
In fact, we were very impressed with the variability of the different driving modes. Comfortable on the snow-covered country road, dynamically aggressive when drifting on icy ground. The seven-speed S tronic shifts at lightning speed as required and can also be operated using a shift paddle. All in all, the fine tuning of the entire drive up to the power transmission on the road has been subjected to a comprehensive revision. The qualitative system jump from the predecessor to the current model is enormous. Already in the first few meters we noticed the progress in terms of driving behavior and agility. Only one criterion could go even faster: the throttle response lacks two-thirds, which the engine seems to take as a break from thinking.
The design shines with a dash of subtle restraint
The design of the new models radiates that SUV sportiness that, formally, successfully refers to the potential of the RS Q3 and Sportback and yet does not look chunky. SUV design in the best sense with clear references to the range of services, but with a dash of subtle restraint. Coupe-like the Sportback, masculine the RS Q3. Both are dominated by the shiny black single-frame cooler with a strikingly structured honeycomb structure. The generously dimensioned air inlets with the boomerang edges, also known as blades, indicate the high breathing air requirements of the five-cylinder propellant and the cooling requirements of the brakes. Whether RS Q3 or Sportback is up to the taste of the customer. Both show a high level of sportiness molded in sheet metal.
The rear conveys a dominant presence, width and powerful appearance in both cars. The double-flow exhaust system ends in two large oval tailpipes, which are embedded in an RS-specific bumper with a rear diffuser. The stovepipe-like exhausts are the only stylistic exaggeration, but make it clear to everyone afterwards that an SUV suitable for racing is sweeping across the street in front of them.
The quality impression of the interior does not require any big words
Both vehicles are equipped with LED headlights as standard. The Matrix LED headlights are a (recommended) option. With 63.500 euros or 65.000 euros for the Sportback, the basic prices are only a guide on the fairly open extra price scale. For this, the customer gets a very special SUV and can point to the family's high suitability for everyday use. Despite their sportiness, both models are compact SUVs with high suitability for everyday use. This is particularly evident in the interior. As standard, the back seat can be moved lengthways by 150 millimeters in the RS Q3 or 130 millimeters in the RS Q3 Sportback, the inclination of its split backrest can be changed in seven steps. As a result, the luggage compartment has a volume of 530 liters, with the backrests folded down up to 1.525 liters (Sportback: 1.400 liters).
We don't need to say a lot about the quality of the interior. It is often referred to as the benchmark. And as far as the numerous assistants are concerned, everything is in abundance here too. Networked in all directions, connectivity is an outstanding feature of the Audi fleet. By networking with other audis, the new models receive and send information about parking spaces at the roadside, danger spots and speed limits, which are recognized by the on-board camera and vehicle sensors. Whether parking in reverse at the supermarket car park or in the parking garage, the driver is warned of cross traffic before the driver can see the other car. Numerous assistants ensure a level of security that has long been a matter of course for Ingolstadt residents.
Technical data Audi RS Q3 / Sportback: four-door compact SUV, length: 4,50 meters, width: 1.85 meters, height: 1,60 meters / Sportback 1,55 meters, empty weight: 1.715 kg, tank capacity: 63 liters, engine: Inline five-cylinder with turbocharger, displacement 2480 cc, power: 400 hp between 5850 and 7000 rpm, max. Torque: 480 Newton meters between 1.950 and 5.850 rpm, 0 - 100 km / h: 4,5 seconds, maximum speed: 250 km / h, CO2 emissions: 203 g / km, consumption combined 8,9 liters, price from: 63.500 / 65.000 euros.