One of the stars of this month’s Auto China show in Beijing, is bound to be Audi’s crowd-pleasing RS Q3 Concept, a purely one-off show car (for now) which combines the Q3’s SUV body with the turbocharged five-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI engine from the TT RS.
With 355bhp the RS Q3 will sprint from zero to 62mph in 5.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 165mph.
Lowered by 25 mm, the RS Q3 cuts a more aggressive stance than regular Q3 models, boasting a dynamic-looking body-kit, 20-inch wheels fitted with 255/30 tyres, finished off with carbon-ceramic brake discs.
The bumper is redesigned and subdivided into two segments – the inner sections with honeycomb screen inserts, while their outer sections, made of CFRP, have a smooth funnel shape. The front spoiler is also made of CFRP with its lower section coloured matt black.
In fact, carbon-fibre is featured throughout the RS Q3, including the door mirror housings, rear diffuser, interior panels, control stalks and it even covers some of the chrome parts within the front headlights.
Most of the steering wheel is covered with black Velvet leather – a leather that gives the hands a secure grip and repels dirt, and the door panels are trimmed in blue Alcantara.
In the tachometer, Chinese characters replace the usual Arabic numerals, whilst RS Q3 badges adorn the instrument cluster, the seatbacks, door sill plates and floor mats.
The seven-speed S tronic transmission conveys the RS Q3’s horses to the tarmac via quattro permanent all-wheel drive, with the front wheels performing most of the work until slip is detected.
Thereafter it can redistribute power to the rear axle via a hydraulic multi-plate clutch with electronic control – instantaneously and without the driver being aware of the transition from front to rear.
For the moment Audi describe the RS Q3 as an interpretation of a high-performance compact SUV, but it seems remarkably similar (in concept) to Porsche’s 370bhp Macan, which is due to hit UK showrooms next October.
Given how production-ready the RS Q3 Concept looks, I would be surprised if we didn’t see it on sale some months before its more illustrious sibling.