Audi RS Q8 v RS4 Avant v RS Q3 Sportback
This past week, Audi’s performance arm, Audi Sport, outlined plans of how they planned to grow the brand, and add even more ‘RennSport’ models to their high-performance portfolio.
At present, Audi’s ‘RS’ range comprises 12 models in their global portfolio, but the Ingolstadt-based automaker plans to expand that in the not too distant future. Interestingly, Audi’s RS-range has retained a certain exclusivity that both Mercedes-AMG and BMW M have abandoned in recent years, as the latter marques have sought to splash their performance logo and every model they can, whereas Audi has been far more strategic – much to the appeasement of their loyalists.
And here we have three of the latest Audi Sport models, all from different segments, all using very different powertrains for propulsion, line up in this Carwow test.
The most powerful model of the three is the RS Q8. The BMW X6 M rivals shares its powertrain with the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback and currently holds the record as being the quickest SUV to ever lap the Nurburgring. It draws power from a hybridized-twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that produces 441kw and 800nm. It utilizes and 8-speed automatic, and in typical Audi fashion, power is sent to all corners via a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The RS Q8 is also the heaviest of this trio, weighing in at 2.3 tons, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that it will still do 0-100kph in a claimed 3.8 seconds, and run to 305kph.
Audi doesn’t offer a ‘direct rival’ for the BMW M3 sedan, but instead, their M3 rival is a station wagon – the RS4 Avant. They have adopted a similar approach with the RS6 Avant which “goes up against” the BMW M5. While many are confused by Audi’s logic, this offering seems to work for Audi. The RS4 Avant uses a twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 and produces 331kw – the exact output of the current M3. Despite weighing in at 1,830kgs, the wagon will still run from 0-100kph in just 4.1 seconds and max out at 280kph.
And last but not least, the baby of the bunch. With ‘only’ 294kw from its RS3-derived 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder, the second-generation RS Q3 is capable of a 0-100kph time of 4.5 seconds. However, it is significantly lighter than its rivals here and it also has Audi’s highly-rated seven-speed S Tronic transmission which channels the power to all four wheels through a Quattro all-wheel-drive system with wheel-selective torque control. Interestingly, despite having the same output as the RS3, the RS Q3 weighs some 265kgs more than the hyper hatch, and when you factor in his ground clearance, and softer suspension; you understand why it can’t match the brutal acceleration demonstrated by the RS3.
While there is no local pricing available as yet, Audi South Africa does plan to launch the RS Q3 and the RS Q8 before the end of 2020. The RS4 Avant meanwhile is priced from R1 258 500.