Coupe, Roadster, Cabriolet, Sportback, Avant and SUV – very soon the UK introductions of the RS Q3 and the RS 7 Sportback will broaden the Audi RS range to a total of eight models with six body styles and one clear goal – to deliver breathtaking performance without compromising everyday all-weather usability. The new RS Q3 – the first Audi SUV ever to wear the RS badge – is now available to order in the UK priced at £43,000 OTR, as is the RS 7 Sportback, which takes the acclaimed RS 6 Avant as its technical basis and is priced at £83,495 OTR. Both will reach their first UK customers in early 2014.
The Audi RS Q3
At the heart of the new RS Q3 is the 2013 International Engine of the Year in the 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre category – the characterful Audi 2.5-litre, five-cylinder TFSI engine, here linked exclusively to a seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Producing its 310PS peak at between 5,200 and 6,700 rpm, and maximum torque of 420 Nm (309.78 lb-ft) between 1,500 and 5,200 rpm, it gives a gloriously distinctive five-cylinder rasp as it powers this pioneering RS Q model from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed electronically limited to 155mph.
A standard Start-Stop-System, and a regulated oil pump that only supplies lubricant when needed, contribute to fuel economy that sets a new precedent for an RS model – up to 32.1mpg is possible according to the combined cycle test, equating to CO2 output of 206 g/km.
Audi drive select as standard
Drivers can influence the way the RS Q3 feels using the standard Audi drive select system, which offers auto, comfort and dynamic modes controlling throttle response, steering weighting and transmission shift points. In the dynamic mode the engine note takes on an even more bass-heavy tone.
True to Audi RS tradition, quattro permanent all-wheel drive system underpins the RS Q3, in this case the version based on an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch located on the rear axle. The system provides swift and proportionate distribution of torque between the front and rear axles for optimum power management in all weathers. It works with RS-specific sports suspension which lowers the body by 25 mm, and which is tuned to deliver flat cornering without forsaking equally important everyday ride comfort. A specially tailored electronic stabilization control (ESC) also stands guard – it offers a sport mode which raises the limit at which it intervenes, and it can also be deactivated entirely.
Electromechanical rack and pinion steering provides quick and accurate turn-in, and ventilated disc brakes provide progressive and steadfast stopping power. The perforated 365mm front discs have a wave design with wave-shaped outer contours, which saves approximately one kilogram of weight at the front wheels. They are gripped by eight-piston calipers painted black with RS logos. An electromechanical parking brake and hill hold assist are also standard.
The exceptional performance and incisive handling are channeled through striking 20-inch Twin-spoke V-design alloy wheels, and the very special status of the RS Q3 is also underscored by RS-specific body detailing, including a high-gloss black honeycomb front grille and RS bumpers, a special front treatment including a quattro emblem in the air intake and a distinctive rear diffuser insert flanked by large elliptical tailpipes. A roof spoiler, roof rails in matt aluminium and special door sill plates and door trim strips also add emphasis.
For even more differentiation, RS Q3 customers can choose an exclusive body colour – Sepang Blue pearl effect – from the list of eight available, and can also add one of two optional styling packages – matt aluminium or black. In each case the chosen colour enhances the flaps in the side air intakes, the trim on the diffuser and the fins on the roof spoiler.
Additional RS gauges
The RS accents continue inside, where the instrument cluster features grey gauges with white scales and red needles, the heated and Fine Nappa leather-upholstered front sports seats are embossed with RS Q3 logos, the flat-bottomed RS multi-function sports steering wheel with contrasting rock grey stitching is complemented by aluminium race inlays and bright aluminium pedals and the Driver’s Information System includes boost pressure, oil temperature and lap timer modes.
In addition to the RS-specific Driver’s Information System, standard equipment also includes park assist plus, light and rain sensors, the Audi sound system with ten loudspeakers incorporating Audi Music Interface (AMI) iPod connection, a Bluetooth phone interface, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lamps and LED tail lights which have a dark red tint when they are not lit.
In the infotainment area, a modular component system offers a wide range of options, including the hard-drive based MMI navigation plus system and mobile phone preparation with Audi connect, which brings internet access via mobile devices and internet-based services such as Google earth, Google Street View and real time local fuel prices to the car. A BOSE surround sound system driving 14 loudspeakers can also be added, bringing up to 465 watts of output power.
The luggage area has a capacity of 356 litres with the rear seats in place, and 1,261 litres with the seat backs folded. A practical reversible load liner is standard, and customers who have even bulkier loads to transport can specify a towing bracket.
The Audi RS 7 Sportback
Combining the finesse of the A7 Sportback with the ferocity of the twin-turbo V8 at the heart of the acclaimed RS 6 Avant gives the new RS 7 Sportback the same exceptional 3.9-second 0-62mph acceleration potential, 189mph top speed capability and scope for 28.8mpg economy.
With the help of its two turbochargers, the 4.0-litre TFSI engine delivers its formidable peak power of 560PS between 5,700 and 6,700 rpm, and peak torque of 700 Nm between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm. The two large twin-scroll turbochargers located, along with the intercooler, inside the ‘V’ of the cylinder banks, produce up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure, helping to generate incredible accelerative force. The RS-specific engine management and unthrottled intake system also contribute to the engine’s dramatic response, which is delivered with all the charisma expected of a V8. Switchable flaps in the exhaust system can make the sound even fuller at the touch of a button, and customers seeking an even more dramatic drive can choose a sports exhaust system from the options list.
Variable top speed
‘Standard specification’ in performance terms for the new RS 7 Sportback – although anything but standard – is a phenomenal 0-62mph acceleration time of just 3.9 seconds and a governed 155mph top speed. Customers with Autobahn aspirations can increase the latter to 174mph by specifying the optional Dynamic package, and boost it even further still with the Dynamic plus package, which calls a halt to acceleration at 189mph.
Despite performance of this magnitude, the RS 7 Sportback nevertheless manages to maintain a firm grasp on reality where economy is concerned. Thanks partly to an engine start-stop system and innovative thermal management technology, but primarily to the new engine’s cylinder on demand (COD) system, it can cover up to 28.8mpg according to the combined cycle test. At low to intermediate loads and engine speeds, the cylinder-on-demand system shuts down the intake and exhaust valves of cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8. The engine then runs as a four-cylinder until the driver demands strong accleration. Efficiency in the active cylinders is increased because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads.
Active engine mounts
The switch between four and eight-cylinder operation takes just a few hundredths of a second, and the only real indication to the driver that it is taking place is a visual signal within the instrument cluster. Active engine mounts use out-of-phase counter-oscillations to compensate for the vibrations that occur during four-cylinder operation.
The 4.0-litre TFSI is paired with the familiar, and highly favoured, eight-speed tiptronic transmission featuring shortened shift times and offering ‘Sport’ and ‘Manual’ modes in addition to the standard ‘Drive’ setting. For manual shifts drivers can use the paddles on the steering wheel or the RS-specific selector lever. The lower gears of the tiptronic are tightly spaced for optimum performance, while a tall eighth gear reduces fuel consumption.
In the RS 7 Sportback the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system which is one of the hallmarks of the RS lineage incorporates torque vectoring, a self-locking centre differential with an elevated locking value and a sport differential on the rear axle to distribute power steplessly between the rear wheels.
RS 7 adaptive air suspension
Adaptive air suspension with RS-specific settings works in harmony with the quattro system. The specially tuned set-up lowers the body by 20 millimetres, and incorporates damping with configurable settings. As an alternative, sports suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control (DRC) is available as an option. This system employs steel springs and three-way adjustable shock absorbers that are interconnected diagonally by means of oil lines and a central valve for improved stability.
Both set-ups are controllable via the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, which enables the driver to choose between Comfort or Dynamic modes depending on their preference, or an Automatic mode in which sensors automatically adjust the settings based on driving style, speed and prevailing conditions. An Individual mode is also available in which the driver can assign one of these three settings to each individual component of the driving experience, from the suspension or steering weighting to the throttle response and the sport differential. A dynamic steering option, which allows the driver to steplessly vary the system’s actual ratio and boost, can also be controlled via the Audi drive select system.
Behind the standard 20-inch seven twin-spoke design alloy wheels are four internally vented discs with weight-saving wave-like outer contours which provide suitably resolute and reassuring stopping power. The sizeable discs are gripped by six-piston calipers and are available in either black or red. Also available as an option are carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs with anthracite grey calipers.
The elegant body, comprising 20 per cent aluminium and considerable high strength steel content, contributes to handling composure with its outstanding rigidity, and is embellished by numerous RS-specific design details. Matt titanium applications, a high gloss black honeycomb radiator grille, exclusive front and rear bumper treatments and a rear diffuser flanked by two large, elliptical exhaust tailpipes provide visual differentiation without overstatement. In common with the other members of the A7 Sportback range, the RS 7 Sportback is also pinned more securely to the road by an electrically extending rear spoiler providing additional downforce.
The interior of the RS 7 Sportback conveys the sporting theme with similar subtlety, but leaves passengers in no doubt that they are travelling in a very special Audi flagship. RS logos appear in the dials with their white faces and red needles, on the flat-bottomed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, in the illuminated entry sills, in the rev counter and in the displays for the MMI and the colour Driver’s Information System (DIS). This RS 7-specific DIS features a new shift light function in which a bar of green segments is gradually illuminated as revs increase, and the bar turns red and begins to blink when revs approach the red line. The DIS also integrates displays for the selected gear, boost pressure and oil temperature gauges and a digital speedometer.
RS logos are also punched into the front RS super sports seats with their pronounced bolsters, integrated head rests and honeycomb-quilted Valcona leather upholstery. The two-seat rear bench which is standard for UK models also has pronounced contours for optimum grip. Power-adjustable front comfort seats can also be added at extra cost to replace the more overtly sporting RS originals.
The footrest, pedals and switches in the MMI navigation plus terminal have an aluminium look which contrasts with the piano finish for the decorative bezel surrounding the retractable monitor and the carbon inlays. A black headlining is standard, but Moon Silver or black Alcantara options are also available.
As befits the ultimate incarnation of the A7 Sportback, the RS 7 features a generous list of standard equipment, and it is possible to upgrade this list even further with a portfolio of exceptional driver assistance, driver entertainment and driver information systems, including adaptive cruise control, night vision, the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System with 15 speakers and 1,200 watts of total power and mobile phone preparation – High with Audi connect, bringing web-based services to the car.
Audi ramps up RS range – The UK introductions of the RS Q3 (£43,000 OTR) and the RS 7 Sportback (£83,495 OTR) will broaden the Audi RS range to an unprecedented total of eight models based on six body styles.