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% 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 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.
The Q3 series in 2015 was sold to 15,000 people and this year Audi hope the RS models will account for a further 2% rise with conquest sales from buyers who may have been looking at German rivals.
Later this year, there will be Q2 and Q7 Hybrid versions extending buyers’ choices and an SQ7 is being planned as well. So the Q-queue is getting longer, and faster.
Audi in the UK has achieved record new cars sales in 12 of the past 15 years and already has got off to a flying start for the first quarter of 2016, writes David Miles.
Globally, Audi achieved record sales in 2015 with a 3.6% increase to reach a total of 1.8-million new cars finding new homes.
Although Audi were knocked off the top spot in the UK in 2015 as the best selling premium brand by BMW, who unusually registered a very high number of cars in December, Audi still sold 166,708 cars just 508 less than BMW.
However the tables have turned and Audi on back on top for the first quarter of 2016 having sold 47,380 new cars just ahead of Mercedes Benz with 47,239 units and BMW with 46,495 registrations.
Cian O’Brien, Audi UK’s head of sales has said this growth is being achieved organically and isn’t centred on any one model range.
“Demand grows every time we enter a new market sector and the inherent strength of our premium brand image. In the last 15 years the range has gone up from 17 to 50 core models plus numerous derivatives – the latest being Plus and RS Performance variants,” he said.
The latest Plus and RS Performance derivatives with added performance and specification are in addition to the recent introduction of Ultra derivatives.
These are more fuel and CO2 efficient versions of their standard production cars such as the A4 and A6 models which have high sales from fleet and business customers. Mainstream core specification levels include SE, Sport and S line
New derivatives given the Plus treatment include the SQ5 340hp diesel SUV, the S8 605hp petrol luxury saloon and the R8 Coupe V10 610hp petrol sports supercar.
The RS Performance title is given to the RS Q3 367hp petrol SUV, the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback models with their 605hp petrol engines. All Plus and RS Performance versions have Audi’s quattro all wheel drive system.
With many more new models, derivatives and updated models to come, including the face-lifted A3, the all-new Q2 compact SUV and the additional Q7 e-tron plug-in diesel/electric SUV variant, there is bound to be a significant ‘plus’ in sales leading to yet another year of high ‘performance’ sales for Audi.
Latest in the line up is the RS Q3 Performance, essentially an RS 3 on steroids which pumps up the body and power to deliver a really sporting SUV for those who want and can afford it.
The 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 1120 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.
There is, however, no doubting the RS Q3 Performance will become one of the rarest and most desirable of the true Sports Utility Vehicles.
|Audi RS Q3 performance 2.5 S tronic||Price: £47,850 ( as tested £53,050)|
|Insurance group: 43||Mechanical: 367ps 2.5 litre 5-cyl turbo-petrol, 7sp S tronic, 4WD|
|Max speed: 155mph||0-62mph: 4.4 sec|
|Fuel consumption: 30.1mpg on test||Emissions: 203 gkm|
|BIK: 37%||Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles|
For: Performance, refinement, handling.
Against: Visibility, rear seat room, emissions.
Images by Matt Vosper Photography