Audi RS Q5 preview
This one is a bit of conjecture. Time was when Audi would only sell one of its halo RS models at any given time; so, if an RS 4 was on sale, for example, and a new RS 6 was announced, the RS 4 would slip out of production ready for the bigger car. That, though, is most emphatically no longer the case – there are currently RS versions of the A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, Q3 and Q8 on sale. And it’s highly likely that, in 2020, an RS Q5 will join these ranks. Let’s take a stab at what it might look like…
What will its rivals be?
There are a glut of very-high-performance mid-sized premium SUVs right now, with the leader of the pack being the glorious Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Porsche has just released the 440hp Macan Turbo, which uses the very drivetrain the RS Q5 will likely employ, while BMW has both the X3 M and coupe-like X4 M in this category – both of these, like the Stelvio Q, deliver a fulsome 510hp as Competition models. Also delivering the same horsepower is the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S, which also has a Coupe derivative, and this thing gets a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – all of the others here pack heavily boosted six-cylinder engines.
Any tech info?
None as yet, but we can make some fairly safe suppositions about the RS Q5. Audi’s smaller, ‘3’-level of cars – the RS 3 and the RS Q3/RS Q3 Sportback, and also the TT RS – use a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbo rated at 400hp and 480Nm. The bigger RS models, like the RS 6, RS 7 and RS Q8, run a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 with mild hybrid tech and 600hp/800Nm outputs. Therefore, the RS Q5 will almost certainly go down the middle ground, lifting that 2.9-litre biturbo V6 out of the Macan Turbo; that’s a bit misleading, as it’s already used in the RS 4 and RS 5 Audis. The RS Q5 will almost certainly have big, blistered wheel arches and three slots cut into the front of its bonnet, to differentiate it from the current, diesel-powered Q5 performance flagship, the SQ5. It will also use quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed Tiptronic torque-converter automatic, both of which will be geared towards sporty driving.
What will the range be like?
Given the presence of the 354hp SQ5 in the line-up, it’s likely the RS Q5 will originally launch as a single-model halo for the SUV range. But Audi is known to do ‘performance’ variants of its RS cars, with even more power, so an RS Q5 performance with 625hp or more might not be out of the question in the future. And, as with the RS Q3, a coupe version of the Q5 called the Sportback could be introduced too, resulting in an Audi RS Q5 Sportback. Multiply the two body styles by two (potential) power outputs and you have a four-strong RS Q5 offering.
Difficult to say. Any new Audi RS model is keenly anticipated, although performance SUVs – and particularly performance coupe-SUVs – are frowned upon by some quarters of the enthusiast fraternity. However, as the RS 4 Avant with the same engine drives really well, as does the Porsche Macan Turbo, there’s every chance the Audi RS Q5 could be the surprise contender to take on that class-leading Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio.