As a member of the hardcore RS performance stable, the RSQ3 gets the latest RS-signature frameless Audi honeycomb grille, with deep air intakes flanked by boomerang-shaped airblades. Flared wheelarches, a long roof spoiler and large oval tailpipes further distinguish the RSQ3 from the Audi Q3 it’s based on. Inside, sport seats in black leather/Alcantara with RS embossing provide the support you need at the cornering speeds the RSQ3 is capable of. Contrast stitching comes standard in gloss black, and optionally in red or blue.


Rally fans of a certain age will recall the charismatic off-beat burble of the original quattro, and Audi has remained loyal to the five-cylinder engine format. The RSQ3 has an all-new five-pot 2.5 TFSI, recent winner of the International Engine of the Year award. Power is up 17 per cent, weight is down by 26kg and a seven-speed S-tronic transmission sends the engine’s 400hp and 480Nm of torque to all four wheels via quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Zero to 62mph takes just 4.5 seconds, top speed is 155 but you can opt to remove the limiter for a top speed of 174mph. In an SUV!


The RSQ3 comes as standard with the impressive Audi Virtual Cockpit, which as well as the usual driver information can convey tyre pressure, torque, power output, lap times, g-forces and acceleration data. Choose the larger Virtual Cockpit Plus and you’ll also get a shift light display that prompts you to upshift when the maximum rpm is reached. Infotainment is accessed by the latest version of the MMI touch display, neatly integrated within a high-gloss black glass-look surround.


As with the Q3 it’s based upon, the RSQ3 driver and passengers are protected by a reassuring array of safety systems. These include Audi pre sense front, Audi pre sense basic, lane change warning, adaptive cruise assist including traffic jam assist, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic assist, 360 degree cameras and parking system plus.