Just be grateful for the RS6.
We're living in the era of the crossover, with more and more families moving away from the family sedan, wagon, or minivan in favor of the elevated ride height and rugged styling of crossover SUVs. With a massive push towards these high-riders, we've also seen an upsurge in performance crossovers, with the latest to the mix being an all-new Audi RS Q3. Based on the 2020 Audi Q3 and Q3 Sportback, the pair of RS Q3s sports Audi's newest design language, but as with all Audi Sport productions, the aggression has been dialed up to 11, and that includes the engine. But before you get too excited, the RS Q3 isn't coming to America. That's right, we can have an RS6 Avant, but we can't have a hot crossover that would sell like cold lemonade in the middle of a hot summer - we think Audi might need to rethink their priorities a little.
Audi's team of engineers have given the RS Q3 the only logical choice for a performance vehicle of this size, throwing in the 2.5-liter turbocharged five-pot found in the TT RS and RS 3, and giving it outputs of 394 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. As has become the Audi standard, power is sent to a Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which gives the RS Q3 twins the ability to sprint from 0-62 mph in just 4.5 seconds and on to a limited top speed of up to 174 mph if you tick the right boxes.
But the singing five-cylinder isn't the only highlight. There's variable-ratio steering, brake-assisted torque vectoring, and an electronically controlled multi-plate center differential that sends more power rearward in sportier drive modes. It rides 0.4 inches lower thanks to RS Sport suspension, and there's available variable damping, too. Big brakes help bring things to a grinding halt, with 14.8-inch steel rotors up front and 12.2-inch rotors out back. However, if you spend even more money, 15-inch carbon-ceramic front rotors can be had, along with 21-inch alloy wheels.
Audi's incredible Virtual Cockpit comes standard, and there's now the option to upgrade it with more functionality including a shift light display, special RS displays with tire pressure, power and torque outputs, lap times, and G-force measurements. Of course, to grip you around the corners, a set of RS sport seats is equipped, upholstered in Nappa leather with a honeycomb pattern exclusive to Audi's RS models.
The twins are mechanically identical to one another, but in Sportback guise, the RS Q3 has a sloping roof for a sportier aesthetic. It also looks particularly good in this shade of Kyalami Green - named after the Grand Prix circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
So the bad news is that you can't buy the RS Q3 in either form - Audi's not bringing it Stateside. But all is not lost. You can still get this same powertrain, and the incredible interior appointments you see here, in other Audi RS products that are sold in the US. The Audi TT RS, for example, is lower, sleeker, more focused, and will manage the 0-60 mph run in 3.6 seconds. The Audi RS 3 Sedan manages the same task a little slower, taking 3.9 seconds to hit the mark, but you get four doors, five seats, and that sweet five-cylinder engine. Starting from 63,500 Euros the RS Q3 is cheaper, too, as European pricing translates to roughly $70,000 for the RS Q3 and $72,000 for the Sportback, compared to the RS3 and TT RS at $56,200 and $66,900 respectively.