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The RS badge is normally found on the front of Audi’s sporting cars but, for the first time ever, Audi have attached it to an SUV – and not just for decoration.

Audi believe that the RS Q3 concept will be one of the stars of the 2012 Beijing Show that takes place over this weekend, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that their confidence may well be justified.

It looks good for a start, finished in a combination of striking Ordos Blue matt and blue ‘clearcoat’ paint, with 20-inch alloy wheels with high gloss outer surfaces and sandblasted innards. Stylewise, the treatment reflects classic RS hallmarks such as the honeycomb-style grille, deeper air intakes and side sills, a pronounced rear diffuser and large oval exhaust tailpipes.

The Audi RS Q3 concept lets in plenty of light courtesy of its glass sunroof, and enough to laminate the mainly black interior with flashes of dark blue contrasting Alcantara sections within the Fine Nappa leather-upholstered seats. And the RS culture is reinforced by RS badges on the instrument cluster, the seatbacks, door sill plates and floor mats. In the rev counter, Chinese characters replace the usual Arabic numerals.

Under the bonnet, the powerful 2.5-litre TFSI engine combines direct petrol injection and turbocharging in the best Audi traditions, generating 360PS, which can catapult the concept car from rest to 62mph in 5.2 seconds, and take it on to a top speed of 165mph. All this makes use of the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission which, when required (or detected) can transfer to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system.

How? Basically, when a loss of grip is detected on the front wheels, it can redistribute forces to the rear axle via a hydraulic multi-plate clutch with electronic control – instantaneously and variably.

And all this whilst looking good too!

It’s justification for Audi’s plans to maintain the technological lead that they feel is embodied in its Vorsprung durch Technik slogan by investing €11.6 billion between 2011 and 2012, mainly in new products. They estimate that, by 2015, they will have expanded the number of models that they have in their range to 42 from the current 39.

The new generation A4 and A5 ranges and the Q3 compact SUV are currently available, and they will soon be joined by, among others, the A1 Sportback and the R8 e-tron, the first fully electric series production Audi model which will be hitting the market in late 2012.

It is all part of the efforts of Audi to continue the successes of last year when they recorded their best ever worldwide result of 1,302,650 sales, a 19% improvement over 2010.

We helped them in the UK by giving a (hopefully) good home top around 113,700 Audi models, a 14% increase on 2010.

Glad we could help.