The Audi RS Q3 Estate has enough power to send you into orbit, but does the rest of the car have what it takes to back up it's almighty brawn?
Expensive to buy and run.
What do you get when you cross a practical, compact SUV with a high-performance race car? The answer, my dear friend, is the Audi RS Q3 Estate.
The RS Q3’s closest competitors come in the form of the slightly less powerful (four-cylinder engines) BMW X2 M35i, Mercedes GLA and Volkswagen T-Roc R. Although it’s worth mentioning that its performance capabilities are enough to give the far more expensive Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace SVR a run for their money.
The five-door RS Q3 is also available in a more athletic RS Q3 Sportback body style which is almost identical, though it is slightly less practical given its coupe-esque sloping roofline.
The RS Q3’s invigorating performance is amplified by the 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine it has hiding under the bonnet. Combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the almighty engine sends a frightening 395bhp to all four wheels as a result of the RS Q3’s all-wheel drive powertrain.
When it comes to interior styling, the RS Q3 Estate can be found a little wanting (if we’re being picky). The cabin is quite dark and dingy and feels a tad lackluster compared to similarly priced Audi cars. You will, however, receive a leather multi-function RS steering wheel and front RS Sport seats upholstered in either Alcantara or Fine Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching.
Tech-wise, the RS Q3 Estate is pretty well connected. The dashboard mounted 10.1” central touchscreen is complimented by Audi’s RS-specific, 12.3” Virtual Cockpit display.
Practicality is arguably the most significant feature of the RS Q3. The Estate’s wider and taller body shape means it can accommodate more luggage in the boot, as well as an extra 125L with the rear seats down compared to the Sportback version.
There’s no denying the RS Q3’s accomplished performance and appealing style, but it just feels that Audi have put all their eggs in the power-hungry engine basket. Compared to similarly priced rivals, the RS Q3 handles pretty poorly and its mighty engine ensures running costs (MPG) will be through the roof.
Priced at just over £50K, the entry-level RS Q3 boasts all the fundamental features that you’d expect. Highlights include the RS Q3’s front RS Sports seats in Fine Nappa leather with honeycomb stitching, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI touch display and Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus as standard. Standard safety features are available in droves, such as Parking System Plus, Cruise Control, Lane Assist and Pre-Sense Front as well as a pair of LED headlights with LED daytime running lights.
RS Q3 Audi Sport Edition
The Audi Sport Edition looks like it’s going for more of a mystic vibe thanks to its dark and mysterious complexion. The jet black 21” ‘V-spoke polygon’ alloy wheels compliment the dark tinted Matrix LED headlights. The black theme is intensified by the black styling pack which adds a splash of black highlights to the exterior, including the iconic four-ring Audi logo and the Q3 badge. The Sport Edition also features a panoramic glass sunroof and an upgraded RS Sport, dual branch exhaust system with exhaust flap control and gloss black oval tailpipe trims.
RS Q3 Vorsprung
The creme-de-la-creme RS Q3 trim is the lavish Vorsprung. The carbon exterior mirrors and twin inlays add to the glossy, sophisticated characteristics of the RS Q3 even further, while the Vorsprung’s upgraded RS Sport Suspension Plus is a game-changer if you value a comfortable drive - it’s much more comfortable (less firm) than the standard suspension and also allows you to alter between driving modes depending on the terrain. If you count yourself as a bit of a music buff, the standard 15-speaker, 680w Bang & Olufsen 3D Sound System is the stuff of dreams. You’ll also receive a number of innovative safety features including a 360 degree camera, Adaptive Cruise Control and Emergency Assist thanks to Audi’s Driver Assistance Pack.
For the latest trim pricing checkout, the Audi RS Q3 Estate lease deals page here you will find our best offers. Or if looking for alternative SUV deals we have this covered, we compile the best leasing offers across England, Wales and the rest of the UK.
The strapping RS Q3 Estate displays plenty of unique features to differentiate itself from both the standard Q3 Estate and the RS Q3 Sportback.
The menacing black honeycomb grille is sandwiched in between a pair of LED headlights, while a quattro-style vent sits above and below you get a huge front splitter.
The visual difference between the RS Q3 and the RS Q3 Sportback becomes more apparent from a side-on view. The Sportback’s coupe-style roofline gives it a lower shoulder line and makes it 45mm lower than the RS Q3.
Both models get a pair of distinctive oval exhaust pipes, an RS-specific rear bumper and a roof spoiler. The RS Q3 is also available with a choice of eight paint finishes - including RS-specific Kyalami green and Nardo grey.
The Audi RS Q3 boasts one solitary output - a 2.5 litre 395bhp TFSI quattro S Tronic petrol engine. Audi’s impressive quattro four-wheel drive system ensures that all the RS Q3’s power is distributed through all four wheels, providing the SUV with an abundance of grip to suit any weather conditions.
The S Tronic is in reference to the seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. If we’re being honest, it doesn’t really cut the mustard. The laggy response time is evident when you’re looking for a burst of acceleration which is annoying and actually quite dangerous given the RS Q3’s ferocious engine.
The RS Q3 Estate is capable of reaching 62mph in a causal 4.5 seconds and maxes out at a top speed of 155mph.
If that’s not enough to satisfy your needs, you can equip the RS Q3 with the Performance Pack Plus (for an additional £1,660) which will unshackle the RS Q3 to a top speed of 174mph.
The RS Q3 Estate offers a decent range of steering wheel and electrical front seat adjustment. You might feel like you’re sitting quite high, but you won’t have to worry about stretching for the pedals.
Front visibility is pretty good thanks to the slim front pillars, while the rear view is clear as day. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the RS Q3 Sportback - the sloping roofline means it has a much smaller rear screen making it harder to see out of.
All RS Q3 models come with a progressive steering system that gets faster the farther you turn the wheel. This makes manoeuvring out of tight spots easy on the arms and ensures tight corners require less steering input at higher speeds.
The quattro all-wheel drive system allows the RS Q3 to take corners at a fair rate of knots. The only downside is that there's very little sense of connection between the steering wheel and the front tyres when cornering.
The laggy gearbox makes driving around town a bit of a chore, but once you get out on the open road, ‘Sport’ mode makes the gearbox more decisive.
To ensure the Audi RS Q3 is a better drive than the standard Q3, it gets a sports suspension that is 10mm lower to go alongside its progressive steering.
Although the standard sport suspension helps to reduce body lean, the firm springs mean the RS Q3 bobbles about on even the smoothest of surfaces. The discomfort is heightened when the RS Q3 meets a few nasty potholes, where you’ll be bouncing about like you’re on the bumper cars.
We highly recommend the optional RS Sport suspension (standard on Vorsprung) if you want a smoother ride. The dynamic chassis control kits the car out with oil-filled dampers that adjust the suspension to deal with different driving situations, giving a sportier response and much-improved comfort.
Audi RS Q3 Estate Interior
The RS Q3 Estate’s interior comes across as slightly underwhelming. It’s packed with cutting-edge tech, but let down by the dingy and uninspiring cabin.
Build quality is second to none. The Audi cabin has been put together using an array of high-grade materials so the switches look premium and the dashboard looks suave.
The commanding flat-bottomed, RS-badged, leather steering wheel looks and feels exclusive. It’s got gear shift paddles and ensures that controlling the on-board computer, sat-nav, telephone and entertainment features are just a fingertip away.
The RS Q3 Estate has a perfectly justified set up, but we just feel it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi for the price you’ll be paying. Similarly priced Audi models and rivals like the BMW X3 M40i and Porsche Macan offer a much more luxurious and lively feel.
All RS Q3 models come with a 10.1” MMI central touchscreen and a 12.3” Virtual Cockpit digital panel. The infotainment system has also been upgraded with RS-specific graphics and the ability to time 0-60mph runs and lap times.
The Virtual Cockpit replaces the conventional analogue dials with a digital display that projects a wide range of information as well as housing the full-screen navigation map.
Nevertheless, Audi has equipped the RS Q3 with Amazon Alexa so you can use verbal commands instead of finger fighting the system. Other highlights include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone screen mirroring, which come as standard.
If you’re pitting the Audi RS Q3 Estate and the Audi RS Q3 Sportback head-to-head, practicality plays a defining role.
4,506 (L) x 2,024 (W) x 1,602 (H)
The Audi RS Q3 Estate is a roomy SUV with the capacity to store 530 litres worth of storage in the boot.
Although the Estate and Sportback are fundamentally the same size, the Sportback’s sloping roofline means you won’t be able to stack your luggage as high.
Fold the rear seats completely and the Estate extends its capacity to 1,525 litres compared to the Sportback’s 1,400 litres.
There’s plenty of space to accommodate four average sized adults comfortably in the RS Q3 Estate.
You’ll get a generous amount of head and leg room up front, while the electrically adjustable seats slide back far enough for taller passengers to enjoy their ride.
Your taller rear seat passengers will be grateful if you opt for the Estate version over the Sportback thanks to its higher and flatter roofline.
Unlike the BMW X3 M40i or the Porsche Macan, the RS Q3 Estate’s rear seats have the ability to slide forward and backwards as well as recline. They also split 40:20:40 to create relatively flat and enlarged boot space.
The Audi RS Q3 Estate is yet to be Euro NCAP tested, but the standard Q3, on which it is based, scored a full five stars for protecting its occupants.
Both versions of the RS Q3 come with a wide range of safety features as standard including front and rear parking sensors (Parking System Plus), Automatic Emergency Braking (pre sense front), Lane Assist, Cruise Control and Blindspot Monitoring.
A rear view camera is an additional option, while Adaptive Cruise Assist comes as standard on the Vorsprung trim. This helps you keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front by automatically accelerating or braking for you.
You might want to cover your eyes for this part. As you might have guessed, the high-performance Audi RS Q3 Estate is neither pocket-friendly nor environmentally-friendly!
In terms of fuel economy, the Audi RS Q3 is on par with similarly powered alternatives. In real-time driving the Estate returns just under 27 mpg.
Balancing the weight of an SUV with the capabilities of a race-car is no mean feat. Inevitably, the environment has to pay the price with the RS Q3 Estate emitting a soaring 202g/km of C02.
Depending on body style and trim line, the Audi RS Q3 Estate sits in insurance groups 37-43.
|Cheapest Trim||Lowest Insurance Group||RRP|
The Audi RS Q3 Estate is an extremely capable SUV with no existing recurring issues. However, reports on Audi reliability can be quite mixed, with the manufacturer placing 34th out of 40 manufacturers on the Reliability Index.
The RS Q3 Estate comes with a standard three-year/60,000-mile Audi warranty, which should be more than enough for most lease contracts. However, if you want a longer term or high mileage lease to run the Estate round the race track every weekend, you’ll also be able to extend this annually up to 100,000 miles with Audi Extended Warranty.
For a hassle-free service, consider the ‘Audi Complete Plan’. This is available when you buy a new car from Audi, and you can pay monthly instalments for 3 types of scheduled maintenance.
The 3 types are:
Service - all services for the first 3 years.
Service and maintenance - same as above but with engine, suspension, gearbox, and brake components cover. You also get three years breakdown cover added in!
Service, maintenance, tyres - All of the above but covers any issues with tyres, including replacement as needed (fair wear and tear applies).