Today, the North American market gets a far greater variety of European models than in years past, but that doesn't mean we get all of them. In the case of the Audi RS Q3, it's a double forbidden fruit, as the standard Audi Q3 is not yet on sale in the U.S. Although that prospect may change with the 2014 model year, it's unknown if we will get the hottest of the hot Q3s, which will make its production debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The RS Q3 Concept was shown at last year's Beijing Auto Show.
As with other RS models, the RS Q3 represents the performance pinnacle of the Q3 line, and gets a turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder under the hood producing 306 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That power is channeled to the ground through a seven-speed twin-clutch S-tronic transmission, and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The powertrain combination is good for a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
The RS Q3 sits an inch lower than standard Q3s, and has different suspension and stability control tuning to give it a more sporting character. When it's time to bring the RS Q3's substantial 3814 pounds to a stop, massive 14.3-inch perforated front disc brakes gripped by eight-piston calipers handle the braking duties.
The RS Q3 can be distinguished from its more reserved brethren by its high-gloss black honeycomb front grille and unique RS bumpers, a unique rear diffuser, and large dual elliptical tailpipes. On the inside, the RS Q3 gets grey gauge faces with white numbers and red needles, and a flat-bottomed three-spoke steering wheel with contrasting rock grey stitching. A black headliner is standard, with a lunar silver headliner optional. Piano black interior trim is standard, with aluminum or carbon-fiber trim optional.
If your listening needs go beyond the sweet music made by the turbocharged five-cylinder, a 14-speaker, 465-watt Bose sound system is available. The RS Q3 will go on sale in Europe in summer 2013.