Other car reviews by

Michael Woodhouse

Audi RS Q3

There is a very big problem that people who want high-performance vehicles face. How closely their driving ability matches the vehicle they get behind the wheel of.

Step into a car such as the much-admired Porsche 911, or any of the rear driven, V8-powered AMG Mercedes and you need more skill behind the wheel than most people posses. So if you aren’t deft enough with your throttle control, you could end up going in the wrong direction. Which is why sending power to all the wheels is a good idea.

The Audi RS Q3 may not be driven by a humping V8, but the 2.5 litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine does boast an output of of 250kW and 450Nm of torque. That’s enough for the smallest SUV in Audi’s line-up to hit 62mph in only 4.8 seconds, and thunder on to a top speed of 155mph. It’d do 170mph if it wasn’t limited like most German premium cars.

But the performance isn’t scary. Audi’s fast cars are more point and squirt: point your car in the right direction, squirt the accelerator pedal and not too much longer after setting off you arrive at your destination. And it’s because they are all four-wheel drive.

Some journalists don’t like this, they pine for more connection between the road and the steering wheel, perhaps a little more of a visceral, intense driving experience with the odd bead of sweat falling from ones brow. I disagree.

What I want from a performance car when I’m driving from A to B is the aural thrill and the ability to drag people from traffic lights every once in a while - safely of course, and usually without the other participant knowing they’re in a competition.

And on that score the RS Q3 delivers. Out on the roads around Munich the autobahn flew by with only the slightest depression of the right-hand pedal, the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox kicks down and you fly off into the distance. Gear changes are responsive too if done manually. And thanks to a flap in the exhaust, the noise from the five-cylinder engine makes you smile. It’s far more pleasant than what you’ll find from the highly turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Audi’s main competitor, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG.

The RS Q3’s ride is comfortable, and even in dynamic mode it doesn’t judder your bones, but the comfort setting is definitely worth switching to on longer journeys.

Inside, the cabin is refined, and as with every Audi the build quality is second-to-none. The latest RS Q3 is just a facelift so it doesn’t have the most up-to-date feeling that you’ll find in the latest A3 for example - and that’ll come in the RS3 when it hits the roads next year - but it is relaxing.

However there is one drawback to the RS, which in this day and age even performance vehicles can’t neglect - the carbon dioxide emissions are too high. The reason so many vehicles in this class are moving to turbocharged four-cylinder engines is that they help reduce tailpipe gases. The Audi pumps out 203g/km, that 28g more than the GLA 45 AMG, but for no greater performance in terms of acceleration and top speed. So you have ask yourself what’s the point of sticking to the 2.5 litre engine?

The Audi RS Q3 is without doubt a good package, and it needs to be when it’s competing in a segment where vehicle prices are in or around the £45,000 mark.

The RS Q3 ticks a lot of boxes, you could live with it every day. And when you aren’t carting the family around, it’ll certainly bring a smile to your face, without the need to change your driving style to cope with the performance.

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