Geneva 2013: Audi

  • First ever Audi Q model to RS treatment
  • 2.5-litre engine gets from 0-62mph in 5.5s
  • Another e-tron concept, this time it's the A3 

New car on show: RS Q3, A3 e-tron, RS6 Avant, A3 g-tron

Everyone sits up, listens and looks around like a meerkat when you mention an RS model is in the offing.

We know this because Jeremy Clarkson raced a climber in one and he deemed it the best car he’s ever driven. But, hell, he always says that.

The RS model is like the pot at the end of the performance rainbow. All RS’s are brutality fast, great around corners and although the styling can be a little David Cameron, they certainly look the part.

Audi, unwilling to be predictable, has applied the RS brush to the Q3 4×4. BMW gave the X6 and X5 the M treatment so one has to ask, why the hell not with the Q3?

The difference between the RS Q3 and the BMW X6 and X5 M versions is that the Q3 doesn’t look as ugly as sin. In fact it’s rather pleasing on the eye, particularly in the so-called Sepang Blue paintwork.

It’s acceptably fast too. The 306bhp 2.5-litre twin turbocharged petrol engine will get the RS Q3 from a standstill to 62mph in 5.5 seconds and it’ll get to 155mph if you keep your wellie to the floor.

For the first time for an RS there’ll be start-stop system which, let’s face it, seems laughable but that at least helps it to achieve a claimed average fuel economy of 32.1mpg.

Of course it has Audi’s Drive Select system which allows you to select either auto, comfort and dynamic modes and true to Audi RS tradition, it has quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

Both in the interior and exterior, there’s plenty of details, mods and sods to tell you are driving something special. Be interesting to see what it’s like around corners though.

For the Audi RS Q3 review click here.

A3 e-tron concept

Audi’s press team delivers a stroke of genius with the line ‘Audi will make all the right connections when the A3 e-tron petrol/electric hybrid – capable of up to 188mpg – adds to the roster of highlights on the Audi stand at the Geneva Motor Show’.

Yep, we get it.

The first line tells you pretty much all you need to know and they’ve given the R8 e-tron treatment before, so really, this is not a great surprise.

Anyway, for those not versed in all things Audi this is a plug-in petrol electric hybrid capable of stunning fuel economy, a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 138mph.

It’s got a modified 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the bonnet that’s married to a 75kw electric motor. Combined, the two power units generate 201bhp with CO2 emissions of 35g/km. The Audi A3 e-tron can run exclusively on electric power for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 80mph.

RS6 Avant

The RS fun continues  with the RS6 Avant, a super-quick version of the A6 Avant estate. Top speed is as high as 190mph, depending on which optional performance package you specify – as standard, a 155mph limiter is fitted.

Under the bonnet is the same turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that’s fitted to the S6, S7 and S8 Audis with similarly silly performance. It generates 552bhp and is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a manual paddle-shift function.

Although UK prices are yet to be confirmed, expect them to head towards the £80,000 mark.

You can read more about the Audi RS6 Avant here.

A3 g-tron

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of Audi’s naming system they go and add another model type. Like the A3 e-tron, the Audi A3 g-tron is a more environmentally friendly version of the A3 only this time the ‘g’ stands for gas.

Compressed natural gas to be precise, or special carbon-neutral ‘e-gas’ produced by Audi themselves in a special plant using renewable electricity.

It has a normal 1.4-litre petrol engine and a pair of gas tanks under the boot floor. Total range when using the petrol engine as well is 559 miles.

Performance figures are unchanged from the regular A3 1.4 TFSI, so top speed is 118mph and it’ll get from 0-62mph in 11 seconds.