GENEVA, Switzerland - The new Audi RS Q3 is the first ever SUV from the German automaker to be handed over to its high performance subsidiary quattro GmbH. The new model will make its debut at the Geneva International Motor Show and arrive in South Africa later in 2013.RS TRANSFORMATIONFranciscus van Meel, managing director of quattro GmbH, said: “The RS Q3 transfers the performance philosophy of Audi to the compact SUV segment, thereby creating a new performance class.“In addition to the RS 5 Cabriolet, RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback, the RS Q3 is the fourth RS model that we are launching in 2013. The RS family is growing to eight members – more than ever.” At the heart of this RS SUV is a 2.5 TFSI borrowed from the TT RS and RS 3 Sportback. The powerplant is linked to a seven-speed S tronic. The turbocharged unit produces its 228kW at 6700rpm and maximum torque of 420 Nm between 1500 - 5200 rpm. IMAGE GALLERYThe new model is capable of sprinting from 0-100km in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed electronically limited to 250km/h.Fuel consumption is rated at up to 7.3 litres/100km with CO2 emissions of 206 g/km.The 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence, supported by the air induction and exhaust systems, ensures that the spirit of the legendary five-cylinder quattros of the 1980s lives on in the soundtrack emitted by Audi’s latest performance SUV.Drivers can influence the flap control for the exhaust system and the accelerator via the Audi drive select. It offers auto, comfort and dynamic modes, and in the latter throttle response is sharper and the engine sound even more intense.QUATTRO DRIVETrue to Audi RS tradition, quattro permanent all-wheel drive system underpins the RS Q3, in this case the version based on an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch positioned on the rear axle. It works with RS-specific sports suspension which lowers the body by 25mm compared to the standard suspension, and which is tuned to deliver flat cornering without forsaking equally important everyday ride comfort. A specially tailored electronic stabilisation control (ESC) is also equipped, offering a sport mode which raises the limit at which it intervenes and it can also be deactivated entirely.The perforated 365mm front discs have a wave design with wave-shaped outer contours, which saves approximately 1kg of weight at the front wheels. They are gripped by eight-piston calipers painted with black RS logos. An electronic parking brake with hill hold assist is fitted as standard.The Audi RS Q3 benefits from a black honeycomb grille, RS bumpers, diffuser and large elliptical exhaust pipes. A roof spoiler, aluminium roof rails, special door sill plates and trim strips emphasise the model’s performance nature. The RS Q3 is 25mm longer than the standard car (now 4.4m) and weighs 1730kg.The interior benefits from RS treatment. The instrument cluster has grey gauges with white scales and red needles. The three spoke steering wheel has grey stitching as well as the gear lever. The MMI and driver information system displays sport the RS logo. ARRIVING IN SADrivers can call up boost pressure, oil temperature and lap timer via the RS menu on the driver information system.Stowage capacity is rated at 356 litres and can be increased to 1261 litres by folding down the split rear seats. A practical reversible load liner is standard and customers who have even bulkier loads to transport can specify a towing bracket. As for the South African launch, we'll have to wait a little longer in 2013 as Audi plans to launch it in the fourth quarter of this year.Rudi Venter, Audi SA product and price planning manager, commented: "We plan to launch the RS Q3 in SA towards the end of the year (2013). Pricing and specs will only be available closer to introduction."