Audi has hit us with a double whammy by announcing both the Audi RS Q3 and its sibling the RS Q3 Sportback. Underneath the surface the pair are virtually identical, only differing in how they are presented visually. They are the brand’s performance entry-level SUVs but there’s certainly nothing entry-level about their performance at all.

Both models are powered by Audi’s world-renowned 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder engine which produces 294kW of power and 480Nm of torque between 1 950rpm and 5 850rpm. It is engaged by a 7-speed S Tronic gearbox. These are seriously powerful figures which, until now, were not even available in this segment. Audi says the pair will sprint from 0 – 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, reaching a speed limit of 250km/h, which can be upped to 280km/h by your Audi dealership.

“The first Audi RS Q3 established its own segment. We aim to continue this success story with the new generation of the compact high-performance SUV,” says Oliver Hoffmann, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “With the offering of the all-new Audi RS Q3 Sportback, a progressive SUV coupe crossover, we are the trendsetter and are leveraging to the full the phenomenal growth potential for Audi Sport.” 

Visually the main highlight is the inclusion of a second exhaust tailpipe in this series. Remember the previous car only carried one oval pipe. This time the car is in line with other RS cars. Moving to the front end we see Audi’s new single frame grille and large air inlets, an RS bumper, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights (Matrix will be optional in some markets) and those boomerang-shaped blades which are exclusive to the cars.

Where they part for a moment is on the side profile, which for the Q3 is more or less normal, while the Sportback roofline slants quite heavily from about the middle all the way to the boot lid. Both cars have wider, flared wheel arches and broad shoulders to go with them.

Some of the nicest interior appointments include MMI touch display tilted towards the driver, RS-specific Audi Virtual Cockpit, RS Displays with items like power output, torque and lap times, as well as a multifunction flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles.

Audi South Africa will be unleashing these two pocket rockets in Mzansi sometime in 2020 in order to compete in that very tiny performance segment where the only other competitor is the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45.

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