2019 Audi RS Q3 sports SUV revealed: price, specs and release date

Spiced-up version of the Audi Q3 family SUV can outrun most sports cars to 62mph...

Audi RS Q3 front
Author Avatar
Darren Moss
25 Sep 2019 21:01

On sale: Late 2019 | Price from: £53,000 (est)

In the same way that a handful of chillies might improve your favourite jalfrezi, this new Audi RS Q3 is aimed at those looking for some extra spice from their family SUV.

Both the RS Q3 and its rakish RS Q3 Sportback sibling receive more muscular bodywork than their standard Audi Q3 siblings – most noticeably sporting more aggressive front and rear bumpers, dual exhaust tips and flared wheel arches – and sit lower to the ground. Both cars also sport LED headlights as standard, while more powerful carbon-ceramic brakes are optional.

Audi RS Q3 rear

2019 Audi RS Q3 engine and performance

Under the bonnet of the RS Q3 is a 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine developing 395bhp – 168bhp more than the next most powerful engine in the Q3 range. That extra power allows the RS Q3 to sprint to 62mph in just 4.5sec – faster than the rival BMW X2 M35i and ahead of even the Porsche 911 Carrera sports car. The RS Q3’s top speed is limited to 174mph, and a seven-speed automatic gearbox sends power to all four wheels. Fuel economy is rated at 32mpg, with CO2 emissions of 203g/km.

Drivers can switch between six driving modes, with bespoke RS settings joining the standard Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Efficiency. The car can be put into its sportiest settings quickly via an RS Mode button on the steering wheel. Another option is Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive damping, which is designed to make the RS Q3 feel more agile through corners.

2019 Audi RS Q3 interior

2019 Audi RS Q3 interior and price

Inside, there’s the same 12.3in digital instrument display and infotainment touchscreen that you’ll find in the regular Q3. Drivers can optionally upgrade to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit Plus, which includes bespoke graphics within the instrument cluster, showing things like tyre pressures, lap times and g-forces, as well as telling you when to change gear if you’re using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

There are also sports seats, finished in nappa leather with contrasting stitching, and other optional RS-badged trim pieces finished in red, blue or black.

The RS Q3 will cost from around £53,000 when sales begin later this year, making it substantially more expensive than its main BMW rival. As an example of what discounts might save you in time, What Car? New Car Buying can currently save you up to £2302 on the current Audi Q3.

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

The most and least reliable family SUVs

If you're in the market for a new family SUV, you want to know that it's going to be reliable. And that's where the annual What Car? Reliability Survey can help, because we've taken the real-world experiences of more than 18,000 car owners and used them to rank cars according to how reliable they are. Below we look at the most, and least, reliable family SUVs.

Average reliability score for class 91.6%

Most reliable Kia Sportage (2016-present) 98.6%

What went wrong? Gearbox/clutch 3% Brake system 1% Engine 1% Non-engine electrics 1% Suspension 1%

Only a tiny percentage of Kia Sportages went wrong, although the faults that did occur were major, so some couldn’t be driven and two-thirds were laid up for a week or more. All repairs were free, though.

Although 11% of Volvo XC40s had a fault, the areas concerned were mostly minor, being split evenly between the bodywork, fuel system and sat-nav. This meant half were back on the road the same day and the others were repaired within a week. No owner was charged.

Petrol Audi Q3s proved far sturdier than diesels; 12% went wrong compared with 25% of diesels, and their additional issues were with the engine itself and its electrics. No petrol engines encountered trouble; the only gremlins were the bodywork and non-engine electrics, with some infotainment systems failing. Every car remained drivable, but half spent more than a week in the garage. All work was done for free. 

BMW X1 vs Audi Q3 vs Range Rover Evoque

Least reliable Range Rover Evoque (2011-2019)

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 17% Exhaust 12% Brake system 9% Engine 9% Engine electrics 9% Battery 7% Bodywork 6% Air-con 5% Suspension 5% Gearbox/clutch 4% Interior trim 2% Fuel system 1% Sat-nav 1%

Range Rover Evoque owners had trouble in 13 of our 14 categories; only the steering was unaffected. Nearly half of cars were off the road for more than a week and 10% were undrivable. Most work was carried out for free, but some cost from £101 to more than £1500. 

Renault Kadjars suffered a lot of electrical gremlins; 34% went wrong and 11% of faults related to non-engine electrics. Three-quarters were off the road for more than a week, and, while 75% of work was done for free, some owners had to pay from £51 to more than £1500. 

Petrol Nissan Qashqais performed slightly worse than diesels: 48% compared with 42%. Battery trouble afflicted 24% of cars and 6% had brake issues and problems with their engines. The only upside is that half were fixed the same day and three-quarters of work was free. 

Reliability for family SUVs aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Kia Sportage 2016-on 98.6%
2. Volvo XC40 2018-on 98.4%
3. Audi Q3 petrol 2011-2018 98.0%
4.  Peugeot 3008 diesel 2017-on 97.8%
5.  Peugeot 3008 petrol 2017-on 97.0%
6.  Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 2013-on 96.9%
7. Hyundai Tucson 2015-on 96.6% 
8. Volkswagen Tiguan 2016-on 96.0%
9. Volkswagen Tiguan 2007-2016 95.7%
10. Kia Sportage 2010-2016 95.3%
11. Toyota C-HR 2016-on 95.0%
12. Seat Ateca 2016-on 94.7%
13.  BMW X1 2015-on 93.8%
14. Mercedes GLA 2014-on 92.7%
=15. Jaguar E-Pace 2017-on 91.8%
=15. Skoda Karoq 2017-on 91.8%
17. Audi Q3 diesel 2011-2018  90.4%
18. Dacia Duster 2013-2018 90.1%
19. Nissan Qashqai diesel 2014-on 83.3%
20. Nissan Qashqai petrol 2014-on 82.1%
21. Renault Kadjar 2015-on 81.3%
22. Range Rover Evoque 2011-on 78.4%