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Audi RS division crosses over with Q3

Merc's AMG and BMW's M Division have been churning out fast and flashy crossovers for years, and now Audi's RS performance arm is finally taking the (arguably sacrilegious) plunge.

It's starting with the smallest crossover in the range, the Q3, and mechanically it appears to be something of a detuned RS 3 on stilts.

The RS Q3 gets its motivation from a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder direct injection turbopetrol, which Audi says will launch it from 0-100km/h in 5.5 seconds.

You'll have an awesome soundtrack, said to be said to be reminiscent of five-cylinder quattros of the '80s, on the way up to its 250km/h electronically limited top speed. This thanks to the carefully-tuned geometry of the air induction and exhaust systems, as well as a 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence. This experience, along with throttle sensitivity, can be further enhanced by the Audi drive select gadget.

The 2480cc motor pushes 228kW between 5200 and 6700rpm and 420Nm from 1500rpm and uses Quattro to channel power to all four wheels via a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch gearbox.

Drive it in a tree-hugging state of mind and you could achieve combined fuel consumption of 8.8 l/100km, according to Audi, thanks in part to an idle-stop system.

TAR-BABY

Despite its status as a crossover, you're not gonna want to take this into the bush. Not only because of its huge RS rims, of an unspecified size, on low-profile rubber. The RS Q3 also has an RS-tuned sports suspension system that lowers the vehicle by 25mm.

In fact, as the pictures tell you, there are many ways to tell this RS apart from its pavement-hopping siblings, including those obligatory butch RS bumpers, a high-gloss black honeycomb grille, roof spoiler and a big rear diffuser.

A flat-bottom steering wheel, piano-black inlays, black headlining and an RS-specific MMI driver information system - including lap timer - conspire to make cabin feel more special.

You will, however, have to pay extra if gadgets like navigation, premium Bose sound system and the usual array of driver assistance systems is on your wish list.

Pricing will be announced closer to its South African on-sale date, which Audi expects to be in the fourth quarter of this year.

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