Audi Robosphere is a powerful Cyberpunk world machine curious to break records

Audi never seizes the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to future automotive trends. Their Sphere concepts, namely – Skysphere, Grandsphere, Activesphere, and Urbansphere being the prime examples. There four shapes of future progression resonate with the brand’s philosophy and for now are limited to the four-wheeler domain.

A concept design wants to break the ice for Audi with a dystopian world concept bike that fits right into the German automotive giant’s scheme of things. Dubbed Audi Robosphere, the presumed limited edition electric motorcycle aims to break the world speed record. Perfectly superimposed with Audi’s current Motorsport endeavor in Formula-E and soon to be in Formula-1, the electric bike is a monster under the hood.

Designer: Andrea Di Matteo

The goal of this project is to take Audi into the zone of record-breaking accolades – courtesy of the limited series of 50 road-legal parts honed by motorcycle mechanics. The target market for the handsome two-wheeled performer, well, the opulent class who don’t fret about taking their machine to the absolute limits.

Andrea has chosen a functional aerodynamic design, flowing from the front wheels to the rear, creating a soothing visual unison. Voluminous styling is dominant here, contrasted by the cool graphics and transparent aesthetics. To optimize the airflow even more, the handlebars are not protruding from the sides, rather they are integrated into the body. Those wide wheels and the geometrically aligned LED headlights to the body frame give off the tell-tale future motorbike character.

This bike has an extremely sporty setup just like you’d have in motocross bikes, but can be toggled for normal riding posture as well. Fork of the Robosphere draws inspiration from the Bimota Tesi 3D which is one impressive Italian art on two wheels. One of the most startling features of this Audi bike is the illuminated rear which doubles as a big headlight. Something that’s never-before-seen on a sprinting machine.

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Ken Block’s drifting nirvana in the one-off electric Audi S1 Hoonitron for “Electrikhana”

Ken Block has bamboozled me all these years with his millimeter-perfect drifting skills in the unbelievable Gymkhana videos. Now a new breed of Hoonigan branded set of wheels is on the horizon paving the way to the future of electric Gymkhana. Well, according to Ken, “Electrikhana” to be precise.

The one-off Audi S1 Hoonitron bespoke electric drift missile with its skillful master has set the Las Vegas Strip on fire for this jaw-dropping video. This is the first ever factory-crafted Gymkhana vehicle, and that makes it even more special whizzy past under the famous neon lights of Sin City.

Designer: Audi

This Hoonitron costing around $10 million – $12 million looks so similar to the Pikes Peak–dominating Audi Sport Quattro S1 of the 1980s, adding the element of nostalgia to the electrified future of drifting. According to Ken, the new installation of the Gymkhana series is the progressive evolution of the brand. While he loves the roar of a V-8 powertrain and turbo engine, the all-electric platform has enough performance under the belly to eat up three times more tires (around 100 tires) than during normal filming. That’s because of the Group B-inspired EV’s Formula E motors powering each axle. The result is an all-wheel-drive bi-motor setup generating a mind-numbing 4400 pound-feet of torque.

The drifting machine gets four 17.3-kWh lithium-ion battery packs feeding the motors running at 800 V. In the S1 Hoonitron there’s one big advantage as Ken certified – the launch is as simple as thumping the throttle pedal. Compare that to a regular car which has to be put in gear and the rider has to wait for the turbo to set in.

It’s obvious that Ken is loving the huge amount of torque generated by this one-off electric Audi drifter, and yet again, I loved all the tire squealing action with the strange motor whining of the Si Hoonitron in the backdrop!

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Apple supercar concept with a distinct Audi and Lamborghini-inspired design is the EV we absolutely need

I’m waving my Apple Card at the screen but I can’t seem to get it to take my money.

Meet the Apple iCar, a conceptual automobile from the mind of Ukraine-based Echo Studio. Created as an entry for the Motion Design Contest, the concept explores what it would be like for Apple to launch a high-end electric supercar that stands out even against other EV stalwarts like Tesla and Polestar.

Designer: Echo Studio

We’ve seen a lot of Apple Car concepts over the past couple of years, but nothing quite like this one right here. While other cars were mainly focused on creating automobiles that ‘looked’ like a part of Apple’s product family, the iCar is just a phenomenally designed automobile that happens to have the Apple logo on it. There aren’t any MacBook references, cheesegrater grilles, iPhone notches, or lightning ports. It’s just a great-looking car. Perhaps the “best car Apple has ever made”.

The vehicle has a rather luxurious supercar-inspired appeal to it. I see a little bit of the Audi R8 and the lesser-known Lamborghini Asterion in the iCar. The vehicle has an aggressive, speedy silhouette, a rounded back, and some beautifully designed headlights and taillights. There’s obviously an Apple logo on the front, but each wheel sports some drop-dead gorgeous rims with Apple logos on them too.

A little Porsche, a little Audi, and definitely a little Lamborghini in the way this rear form was sculpted.

Do the rims cost extra? Probably!

For Echo Studio, the Apple iCar was just a part of their broader vision for the Apple experience. Below, the studio even designed the entire car-browsing/shopping experience for the iPhone, allowing you to see it in VR, choose paint colors, and even pick the wheels of your choice.

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This transforming Audi roadster morphs into a Segway-like city commuter

The number of vehicles on the roads is increasing at a fast pace, and there’s no stopping the menace anytime soon. That’s why much emphasis has been on the personal commuter and shape-shifting vehicles which can cater to the driving and traffic conditions.

Yet another concept from this school of thought is the Audi Vista, designed to go from a full-blown roadster (with no retracting roof, mind you) to a more compact commuter on demand. The latter holds merit for crowded cities and tough parking spots. Even more so, when there’s only a couple navigating around the city in this niche Audi roadster.

Designer: Hyunsik Moon

This transforming electric vehicle makes use of Audi Quattro technology to bring forth these two varying experiences. There are four exposed seats on the Audi Vista for the driver and passengers to enjoy the open views while traveling. This however will not be the preferred mode of transport in inclement weather conditions. Driving input is done via a central console which is as simple as moving one hand for everything right from accelerating to braking. Of course, there’s the autonomous mode tracking to prevent the consequences of any unintended inputs.

In the Segway mode up to two riders can travel in the city in standing mode. So, it’s strictly for short trips to the grocery store or at maximum stretch, an evening skirmish to the outskirts of city limits. The transition from the Roadster mode to the Segway mode takes mere seconds, which is a good option to have when you get stuck amid city accident chaos.

Hyunsik imagines this off-beat design in a bunch of peppy colors to appeal to the next-gen riders, but will it be practical enough for real-life scenarios? Instances when the riders want to have shade above their heads or feel cozy when relentless rain is jarring the cityscape?

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This shape-shifting Audi concept prioritizes lounge themed socializing in autonomous mode

The paradigm shift in the interior design of concept cars is weighting towards lounge theme – presuming there’ll be reliable Level 5 autonomy in half a decade’s time. We’ve seen a number of concept designs embellished in big brand logos (of course not the official ones of course) having spacious and airy interiors, just like a living room.

Most of these concepts or even existing ones themed around the lounge styling leverage the ambient lighting or at most, movable steering panels and seating. This Audi concept takes things even further with exterior and interior going the shape-shifting way minus all those gimmicks. One thing to take note of here is the interior design-inspired stacked panels made from wooden material for airiness and a sustainable feel.

Designer: Yunsik Kim

The car gets two modes – Private and Social – which define the shape the car takes on the inside and outside. In the Private mode, the steering wheel pops out of the dashboard and the driving seat takes precedence. The front grille section and the rear morph into a more aggressive stance for a sports car-like feel while driving. In the Social mode which is fully autonomous, the driving seat recesses back to where the rear seats are situated. The steering completely vanishes into the dashboard housing and wooden panels from the inside come up and align themselves on the front of the interior to create a socializing seating arrangement.

If you notice, most of the exterior and interior are crafted out of interlinked wooden panels that make the shape-shifting action possible. How this concept car would address inclement weather conditions or unwanted gusts of air while in driving mode is still unanswered. After all, the wooden panels won’t create a secure seal to wade off rain, snow, or dust. In the autonomous mode, everything is exposed to the elements. So, you can use the socializing mode in cozy sunshine or pleasant weather conditions only.

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Audi bestows old e-tron batteries with purposeful second life as refurbished e-rikshaw batteries

Audi has partnered with German-Indian startup Nunam to bring electric rickshaws to the Indian roads courtesy of the automotive giant’s sourced second-life batteries. These batteries will be sourced from the Audi e-tron test vehicles, and will be the perfect example for other EV makers to take a leaf from their book. The Audi Environmental Foundation, Audi AG and Nunam plan to bring three electric rickshaws to the Indian market which is going to boost the employment for women too.

If everything goes to plan the pilot project is going to hit the Indian markets by the early half of 2023. As per Nunam C0-Founder Prodip Chatterjee, typical car batteries have enough power even after their lifecycle, and are fully capable of propelling lower range and power requirement vehicles. He added by saying, “in our second-life project, we reuse batteries from electric cars in electric vehicles; you might call it electric mobility lite.” The focus goal of this project is to create a way for the old batteries to function as second-life power storage systems – thereby making use of resources effectively.

Designer: Audi and Nunam

According to Prodip, the rickshaws are a good point to start as they have an ideal eco-efficiency and are way superior to currently used e-rickshaws in the country. These batteries mostly have lead-acid batteries which don’t have a very good life span. Another silver lining of Audi’s venture is the way these vehicles will be charged. Compared to the public grid which is mostly powered by coal-fired energy, the Nunam’s e-rickshaws employ solar energy for the same task.

The main purpose for the vehicles is going to be intra-city and rural transportation for moderate-weight tasks like ferrying people from one location to the other. For now, the unique concept is going to make an appearance at the 2022 Greentech Festival in Berlin, Germany. Once it lands on the streets of India, the venture will have an impact on the grim air pollution situation in a major metropolis like New Delhi.

Sadly, the autorickshaws currently in operation contribute to the carbon emissions and this emission-free option will loosen the clutches a bit. To make this project a more fruitful adventure, Nunam is sharing its knowledge with industry players to motivate other manufacturers as well.

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Audi Urbansphere EV concept is a spacious lounge on wheels loaded with high end tech

Audi has revealed the Urbansphere concept which speeds into the future where EVs will be more of a premium lounge experience and not just mere vessels of transportation. A time when we’ll be spending more time relaxing in the four-wheeler rather than driving.

The trifecta concept from Audi’s Sphere series is here and by far it is the biggest when we talk of the length. While I’m restraining myself from labeling it a minivan, still it heavily weights on the side of one. We’ve already had our head over heels for the shape-shifting Skysphere roadster, this one is more from the conventional realm. In fact, this is by far the biggest car Audi has crafted with a total length of 217 inches, 79.1 inches width, and 70 inches of headroom.

Designer: Audi

Given its humongous size, there are only four bucket seats inside which take full advantage of the elegant lounge-like form with the swivel and reclining function giving the riders utmost freedom. Audi Urbansphere concept is our present-day glimpse of the electric mobility future with interiors more akin to a lounge space or a mobile office no one would be able to resist. On the outside, it takes the styling cues from the A4 e-Tron electric crossover.

The luxurious EV concept riding on 24-inch rims is tailored for a progressive mobility era where level 4 autonomous driving will be more than a common thing, and the digitally dominated cabin space takes a detour to a more communal and open design. It’s no surprise the Urbansphere has seatbacks capable of 60 degrees recline and an extendable footrest means the occupants ride in utmost luxury. Audi is planning to add a large format and transparent OLED screen which pivots vertically down from the glass roof to divide the two seating rows just like a taxi divider.

Urbansphere will get an anxiety detection tech to scan the face and voice analyzer to determine any signs of anxiety. If the metrics are not right, it will offer personalized suggestions for stress relief. There will be calming wood accents inside the cabin and display panels on the central infotainment screen. The tech infusion doesn’t stop there – the car will be loaded with a pseudo assistant to make restaurant reservations, order groceries, or ferry the riders to the destination and find parking on its own.

The vehicle will get the 800V architecture with 270 kW max DC charging speed., So, the Urbansphere will be capable of charging the 120 KwH battery pack from 5 to 80 percent in just 25 minutes. That’s equivalent to a 466-mile range capacity. In just 20 minutes the battery can be topped for a 186 miles stint.

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Audi AI-Climber with a flying rig for pitching tent on steep cliffs is bliss for rock climbers

Rock climbing as a sport challenges the limits of human endurance to the extreme, and enthusiasts have to ensure everything is in place to make the exploits in the outdoors. Having an exciting journey in the mountains while being ultra-safe is important for every rock climber, and who would have thought an off-roading vehicle could do more than just ferry you to the base camp.

The Audi AI-Climber is a concept targeted specifically for rock climbers who want to challenge themselves and break through the limits of exploration. Car design student Xiqiao Wang has conceptualized this rugged off-roading set of wheels for outdoor rock climbing lovers by envisioning the vehicle for three different modes.

Designer: Xiqiao Wang

The first one is the obvious ‘Driving Mode’ to ensure incredible off-roading experience on any kind of terrain, the second one is the ‘Protector Mode’ to full-proof the safety of climbers in the Rockies, and the third one is ‘Resting Mode’ for comfortable sleep during the night time in the safety of the four-wheeler or even being suspended from the rock wall.

In the Protector Mode, the car turns into an intelligent belayer for solo adventurers who don’t have the liberty of a human belayer. There’s an elastic fall buffer wherein the climber can pull the rope in case of emergencies – as the climber falls down slowly to avoid any injuries. Also, there are two kinds of climbing protection options – the Lead climbing protection, wherein the rope is connected at multiple protection points, and the Top climbing protection, where the rope goes around the anchor. The vehicle itself is loaded with the mechanism to provide single rope, twin rope, or half rope, depending on the climber’s needs.

The most interesting bit of the geometric Audi AI-Climber is the Resting Mode, in which the rear part loaded with a hanging tent detaches and is capable of taking flight solo. The whole rig flies to the anchor point on a steep cliff and anchors to the rock. Thereafter the tent deploys automatically, and the daring rock climber can enjoy the perfect night from the perfect vantage point. For the less daring climbers, the rig can be pitched on solid ground too.

Other highlighting bits of the niche off-road vehicle are its terrain-adaptable tires with retractable treads, which can be employed in case more traction is needed. The interiors are designed for two travelers to comfortably sit back and enjoy the ride to the ultimate destination before the daring rock-climbing feat is undertaken!

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Holoride-Audi partnership delivers XR to some Audi series vehicles

AUDI Holoride In-car Experience

Holoride aims to add thrill to every ride, but not many people will appreciate the idea of turning a vehicle into a moving theme park. It’s the selling point of Holoride, but we recognize the fact many people won’t like it because they quickly get dizzy.

Holoride offers a fun and connected experience to every ride, at least, to the more adventurous people. If you’ve tried holoride and are contemplating getting a new car, you may consider Audi. The Holoride team just announced its integration with Audi series vehicles starting this June.

Designer: Holoride

AUDI Holoride Experience

Audi is the first car company to bring holoride-ready experiences. Audi will be taking advantage of its MIB 3 infotainment system and making holoride a native feature. In addition, the automotive company has partnered with Holoride to offer consumers a unique travel experience XR content in real-time. The Audi-Holoride experience is possible with a motion-synchronized car and location-aware data. XR content is shown in real-time, delivering information or entertainment that will benefit the passenger.

Sample AUDI Holoride Experience

In-car entertainment inside your Audi is taken to the next level with Holoride. It can be educational for the children and recreational for the adults with the gaming content. There is also well-being-related content so you can be happy, healthy, and comfortable all the time.

Passenger experience is usually forgotten once a vehicle’s design has been finalized, but with holoride integration, it can be enhanced once again. Audi will start introducing this feature to several models like the Audi A4/A5/A6/A7/A8, Q5/Q7/Q8, Audi etron/etron Sportback, and Audi etron GT. In your Audi car starting June, you will find the holoride within the modular infotainment toolkit (MIB 3). Make sure you have a VR headset ready with you. It will connect wirelessly to your vehicle via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard. You can look at the HTC VIVE Flow since it’s the first holoride-ready headset.

AUDI Holoride Experiences Game

Audi and the Holoride team also worked with groups like Schell Games, ARVORE Immersive Games, TRIPP, PRELOADED, Magnopus, and MEDIASQUAD to develop more content. Future House Studios, SpiceVR, FreshFX, and VRWERX will also release holoride experiences in the near future. The in-car experience will be available in Europe and the United States in fall 2022.

The UK and Germany will get it first followed by more countries in the region by next year. The same holoride for Audi will be ready in China, South Korea, and Japan. Audi getting the holoride integration isn’t exactly a surprise since the startup’s co-founders were previous employees.

AUDI Holoride Experiences Game

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AUDI RS Q3 Sportback Review

Do you see red? I certainly do. And it’s all over this rather extroverted but nice-to-drive Audi RS Q3 Sportback. Depending on your sensitivities, the generous servings of red body paint, bright red brake calipers, red engine cover, soft red alcantara patches on the dashboard, seats and doors, and red stitching on the seats, gear shifter and steering wheel, as well as the red stripe on the seatbelts can be interpreted as either luxurious or a touch gaudy.

To be honest, I feel designers have pushed the envelope of what’s possible in terms of colored highlights on and in this car. Bluntly speaking, the amount of red is almost overwhelming. Choose blue body paint, and the car can be matched with blue alcantara and stitching in the cabin, while several other color variations are also available. Your engine cover and brake calipers will still be red though.

But it’s not only the full-on color assault that titillates the senses. To cater to the huge, ever-growing market for sporty performance SUVs, Audi created a two-pronged RS Q3 range — the standard RS Q3, and then added the racier, sleeker-looking RS Q3 Sportback to the lineup. In trying to find the right body shape for the Sportback, Audi experimented with a couple of silhouettes before arriving at this body profile. And yes, it certainly does look sportier than the stock RS Q3. Strangely, however, I can’t help but feel a little sympathy for this model, which doesn’t quite seem to know what it is.

A minor identity crisis?

First, Audi designers took an RS3 hot hatch, elevated its height to insert the car into the highly popular SUV genre, and then they thought, wait a minute, it doesn’t look sporty enough. So to justify the sportiness in its ‘sportback’ naming, stylists squashed the roof down to give it a sharp sloping coupe-like rear window. The result? In taking styling inspiration from the Lamborghini Urus, the RS Q3 SB appears to be suffering from a slight identity crisis. To get over this part-SUV, part-hot hatch, part-coupe styling dilemma, the RS Q3 might even have to reluctantly go see a therapist to confirm its real identity!

Jokes aside, the RS Q3s are an integral part of the Audi Sport lineup — the firm’s motorsport and customizing arm responsible for RS models such as the RS3, RS6, and R8 in addition to Audi’s Formula E, DTM, and GT3 racing programs — which plans to double the sales of its road cars by 2023. The RS Q3 just happens to be one of the fastest small SUVs you can buy thanks to its 400-hp engine and 174-mph top speed. Its rivals include the BMW X2 M35i, Porsche Macan Turbo, and the Mercedes-AMG GLB35 but the demand for such cars means that competition for the RS Q3 will only intensify over the next few years.

Yes, the Sportback does come across as a mini Urus. And it can’t help that fact given Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen Group through its subsidiary with Audi. The SUV boasts a no-nonsense sporty exterior with lots of sharp edges, aggressive bulges and surfaces, and large 21-inch wheels. Updated from the outgoing model, the new RS Q3 Sportback gets a slightly larger octagonal grille with a sportier piano black mesh design and a bolder four-ring Audi logo. Speaking of that mesh design, styling students may have noticed the three different styles of grille Audi has employed here. First impressions suggest that up to four different designers had a say in what happened at the front end of this car. Check it out.

As if penned by a confident, extroverted designer, firstly you have the bold open honeycomb mesh design inside the main grille. Then, look closely and you will see a significantly smaller, much more subtle grille design inside the Audi logo that appears to have been drawn by an introverted individual who isn’t quite sure of their talent. It’s almost a case of “Hey, mom I shrunk the grille.” Then, glance at either side of the main grille, and you will see a downsized version of the main mesh grille design that graces the larger brake ducts, which have grown in height and width to deliver more air to cool the brakes. And finally, you have the long narrow pseudo grille located between the hood and main grille that is actually a fake grille and is just there for show.

At the back, the sloping roof and heavily slanted rear window give the RS Q3 SB its signature sports SUV look. Below the rear bumper, you’ll find a fake diffuser that’s merely there for design nuance, while the twin sports exhaust pipes generate an acceptably sporty soundtrack. However, if you really want an exhaust to enhance the sound of that 5-cylinder engine and make the neighbors pay even more attention, then spend the extra $1,500 and upgrade to a high-performance sports exhaust system.

Inside, its kind of like Gucci meets Versace

As mentioned briefly above, the interior is a shock for the senses with its bright red alcantara highlights on the doors, seats, and dashboard. That combined with soft leather, aluminum accents, and carbon fiber-like surfaces give the car a luxurious ambiance, if not a touch eccentric. It’s kind of like Gucci met Versace and they had a baby. If you’ve ever been into one of their high-end stores, you’ll know what I mean. Whereas some Audi sports models use swathes of subtle dark grey or black Nappa leather in the cabin, there is very little subtlety in this red RS Q3 SB. If you don’t like red, downgrade your interior decorating before you buy the car because those sizable red patches will be present and in your face every time you board the car.

Interestingly, the only indication of the Sportback’s lower roofline is the more compact rear windscreen. If you’re looking for maximum headroom in the back—enough for six feet plus passengers then we’d recommend the standard RS Q3 which gets nearly two extra inches of headroom. But if you are smitten with a sportier, more stylish profile, then the Sportback is for you. Either way, the car has the same tech-heavy interior as the regular RS Q3, with an easy-to-operate 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display and a 12.2-inch digital cockpit instrument cluster.

Drivers should like the thick, flat-bottomed, leather-bound steering wheel that feels good to grip when cornering hard and feel suitable supported seated in the bespoke RS-specced sports seats with honeycomb stitching. What they may be disappointed with though are the paddle shifters that appear to be made out of aluminum back are actually covered on the back with cheap plastic. Come on Audi, it won’t break the bank to give this hot SUV some shiny solid aluminum paddles. Surely.

In the back, you’ll find the same issue normally associated with Audi’s rear seats in their small to medium-sized SUVs and hatches—the upright seat position. While the rear seats do offer some sliding and reclining functions, the seatback does not recline enough, meaning that rear headroom is restrictive for taller passengers while the upright nature of the seat can cause fatigue over long distances. The rear luggage space however is competitive, offering 530 liters of capacity, which incidentally mirrors the figure for the standard RS Q3.

Gutsy 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbo packs a punch

Even though the sporty red exterior, outgoing red and black interior, and tech-laden infotainment system might temporarily distract a new Audi driver, the RS Q3 SB’s main selling point is undoubtedly its engine. Powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder unit that pumps out 400-hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, it’s mated to a quick-changing 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. This SUV will sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and if you speak to Audi nicely they will derestrict your car from its 155-mph speed governor to the maximum 174-mph spec. While the standard exhaust note delivers an acceptable turbo sound, you can also pay an extra $1500 to get a sports exhaust to give the 2.5-liter a throatier burble.

On the road, this turbo engine is as pleasingly potent as you’d expect of any model wearing an RS badge, with the five-cylinder engine responding at lower revs and effortlessly rising to a 7000 rpm redline. Keep the engine spinning above 3500 rpm and you will have instant turbo response with even the slightest extension of your right boot. Let those revs fall below 3500 however and you will notice some slight turbo lag. Thanks to the strong mid to upper ranges, even small gaps in traffic will offer passing potential, while the off-the-line acceleration is fierce thanks to the superb traction of the all-wheel-drive system. The exhaust sounds the part as well, and while the need to comply with new emissions rules has all but done away with the signature pops and bangs that characterized this powerplant, the distinctive roar is still more emotional than a four-cylinder.

On the whole, the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox in automatic mode shifts quickly when called upon but can also sometimes show sluggish tendencies at low revs. It works smoothly at inner-city speeds, but ask for more and it can take a little longer than expected to drop a gear and quicken the pace. Engage sport mode however and things get snappier in the throttle department, although to get the most out of your 400-hp engine, it’s best to take charge yourself using the wheel-mounted paddles for the sharpest response.

The Driving Experience

The Sportback delivers the kind of sporty handling we associate with the RS range, letting you make rapid point-to-point progress while remaining predictable at all times, albeit with a little understeer when pushed hard. Make no mistake though—this SUV can get round a twisty road very quickly and efficiently and you will have loads of fun doing it. The progressive steering rack, while entertaining, can be prompted to give a little more sense of what the front tires are doing in the corners if you switch to the ‘dynamic’ settings on the drive select mode.

The RS Q3 gets upgraded sport suspension over the standard Q3, stiffer springs and dampers, and a ride height that’s nearly 4 inches lower than the standard car for a lower center of gravity and improved cornering. Given its sporty theme, the RS Q3 does deliver a slightly harsher ride at low speeds, so we’d recommend cruising in ‘comfort’ mode for the best inner-city results.

The ‘Audi drive select’ system gives you two new configurable settings, namely ‘RS1’ and ‘RS2.’ You can set them up to your liking by adjusting the drive system for quicker shifts, the steering for more responsive cornering, the engine sound and the ‘Quattro’ 4WD setup between ‘comfortable ‘normal’ and ‘dynamic.’ And to make things even easier for drivers to locate those modes in the heat of sporty driving, designers have fitted a special ‘RS mode’ button on the steering wheel that merely requires one quick tap to engage the mode you need. Brakes are substantial too, as you’d expect. The 375 mm drilled rotors on the front and 6-piston calipers pull the car up quickly and safely. But if you feel you want even more stopping power, you can upgrade your brakes to carbon ceramic but that will set you back over $5,000.

Price and Options

While the RS Q3 Sportback may not be available in the U.S. at the moment, it is for sale in many global markets for prices ranging from £52,000 in the U.K. to $92,900 in Australia to 8.9 million yen in Japan. Depending on the market, you can spend an estimated £1,000 for the upgraded suspension, another £1,000 to get the upgraded sports exhaust system, and around £5,000 extra for the carbon-ceramic brake package.

When put back to back with rivals like the BMW X2 M35i, Porsche Macan Turbo, and the Mercedes-AMG GLB35, the RS Q3 SB holds its own in the performance and handling departments. In fact, it excels! But in terms of comfort, especially in the back, the seat design does let the Audi down, and headroom is limited when compared to competitors.

Should I buy one?

The RS Q3 Sportback certainly looks cool and is loads of fun to drive with its gutsy 400-hp engine and sports suspension. It’s just that we didn’t find it as much fun on the road as a normal hot hatch, nor did we find it as practical as a standard performance SUV with a higher roof, indeed like its RS Q3 brother. If you prioritize styling, performance, and handling over practicality, then this Sportback might be for you. Otherwise, we’d lean towards the standard RS Q3 or perhaps even the Porsche Macan Turbo for the best combination of practicality, performance, and handling, not to mention the all-important street cred factor. As for those flamboyant red accents, well you can turn the level up to 11, as you see with this car, or you can dial it down to a less flashy 3 boasting subtle red stitching combined with black and carbon fiber accents. I think I’d opt for the latter.

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