Audi RS Q3 Concept - big performance in a small package
Ready for its official reveal in Beijing, the Audi RS Q3 Concept was created to showcase the enthusiast-grade potential that lies within its compact envelope. The first Audi SUV ever to carry the automaker's primo "RS" sport designation, this fully engineered one-off matches subtle but functional styling tweaks with stunning dynamic characteristics. Like other RS production models, the Audi RS Q3 Concept boasts revised body bits, starting with more aggressively rendered front and rear fascias enhanced with lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) elements. Finished in Ordos Blue matte and blue clearcoat paint with matte black and matte aluminum accents, the Audi RS Q3 Concept also features an integral roof spoiler and anthracite-tinted headlamps/taillamps. To further elevate its cornering prowess, this hot hauler also rides on custom 20-inch alloys wheels wrapped in sticky 255/30 performance rubber and features a sport-tuned suspension that drops its ride height by nearly an inch.
Under its hood, the Audi RS Q3 Concept packs the same engine used in the Audi TT RS Quattro Coupe -- a 2.5-liter turbocharged/direct-injected TFSI five-cylinder that makes 360 horsepower. Backed by a 7-speed S tronic automatic transmission that doles out that motive might to each wheel via Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel drive, the RS Q3 Concept can rocket from 0-62 mph in 5.2 seconds and carry on to a 165 mph top end.
Inside, the Audi RS Q3 Concept displays the same black-and-blue motif, but in this realm, the color balance is reversed to further emphasize the "dark" side of its persona. Deeply bolstered sport seats are covered in fine noir Nappa leather set off with dark blue Alcantara and its flat-bottom steering wheel is covered in black Velvet leather for added grip and features shifter paddles made of aluminum-framed CFRP. To celebrate its world debut in Beijing, the tachometer markings on the RS Q3 Concept feature Chinese rather than conventional Arabic numbers.
No word on how close this stellar show vehicle is to possible production status. But it's nice to ponder the possibility that by 2014, when the first Audi Q3s will start arriving here in America, an RS version may be part of the lineup.