Swedish auto rag Sportbilen recently got a chance to check out the “world” (and by world, we mean not for U.S. consumption) launch of the new Audi Q3 compact crossover. While the Q3 is launching with 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines, it’s long been rumored that Audi would give the Q3 a hot variant, with the same 2.5-liter turbocharged I-5 as the RS3 and TT RS. While Sportbilen was at the event to take a look at the new Q3, they did manage to snag a ride in a preproduction example of the Q3 RS.
While there’s really not much to this video, it does give us some idea of what we can expect Audi’s Q3 RS. The blue Q3 RS pre-production example featured in this video looks almost exactly the same as a stock Q3 -- it doesn’t even have visible “RS” markings. If and when the Q3 RS hits the market, it’ll likely feature a different body kit, wheels, and other visual cues to distinguish it from the lesser gas and diesel models. Since the Q3 RS shares its 300-hp turbocharged I-5 with the TT RS and RS3, its exhaust note (while quite aurally pleasing) is nothing unique to the car. Like the RS3, power is likely routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, complete with paddle shifters, and power is put down on the ground at all four corners with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system.
Audi has yet to confirm that North American customers will get the Q3, let alone the Q3 RS. Our take is that we’ll probably get the Q3 in a year or two in order to compete with BMW’s new X1. Chances are we probably won’t be getting the Q3 RS though. It took a Facebook campaign in order to get Audi to bring the TT RS to the United States (in limited numbers, at that) and Audi has so far been firm in stating that customers in the United States and Canada won’t be seeing the RS3 in North America. As far as Audi’s concerned, the TT RS and RS3 are the same car (and by extension, so is the Q3 RS) so we’ll only be getting one of them in the North American market.