At first, it wasn't clear if the pint-sized Audi Q3 was going to make it the U.S. market. Now, it looks like it might join Audi's lineup in time the 2014 model year and thanks to the Audi RS Q3 concept shown at the Beijing Auto Show, there's a high-power variant to potentially look forward to. Not only does this pint-size lux-ute pack a substantiall 360 horsepower, one look at it makes it clear this isn't your typical cutesy urban crossover.
As seems to be all the rage today for many concept (and some production) vehicles, the RS Q3 gets a matte paint treatment in the color "Ordos Blue." Although the pigment is described by Audi as an unappetizing-sounding blue with a "slight yellow tint," it is actually quite handsome. The front end is highlighted by a prominent honeycomb pattern grille that's accented with a three-dimensional geometric pattern and a subtle "quattro" signature in the lower grille, just above the front spoiler. On the outer edges of the front bumper, there are two carbon fiber polymer air intakes and though the technical literature on the vehicle does not specify whether or not they're functional, we hope they are given the RS Q3's badging and performance caliber. Carbon fiber can also be found on the outside mirror housings, lower rear bumper housing, and tailgate accents.
The theme isn't limited to the exterior. Audi got truly creative with the carbon fiber on the interior, interweaving the strands with luminescent blue glass fibers. This material is used on the door panels, dashboard, center console, on the bottom of the steering wheel, and as an accent material on the aluminum paddle shifters.
The steering wheel itself wrapped in black Velvet leather, a high-grip material designed to repel dirt, finished with bright blue stitching. If you're a fan of black leather, the material is used liberally on the concept's instrument panel and seats, which also get blue Alcantara accents along with the door panels. Paying tribute to its Beijing debut, the Arabic numbers on the tachometer have been replaced with Chinese numerical characters.
Getting to the main attraction, the powerplant is the 2.5-liter direct-injected, turbocharged five-cylinder from the TT RS, producing the aforementioned 360 hp and mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive. This combination is good for a claimed 0-60 time of around five seconds flat and a top speed of more than 164 mph. The rubber meets the road on 255/30-20 wheels and tires.
Though the RS Q3 is just a concept, other than a few exotic trim pieces here and there, there's nothing so outlandish here that would completely disqualify it from being a production model. We'll have to wait and see, but don't be too surprised if you see it in showrooms in a few years.