Forbidden fruit: Audi’s go-fast RS Q3 family gets more power and a minor facelift for 2015

Audi has given the Q3 and RS Q3 a subtle makeover for 2015, in what will likely be the final update of the compact SUV’s first generation.

Although the aesthetic changes are easy to miss at first glance, the tweaks become more and more apparent the longer you look. Audi’s familiar trapezoid front grill is increasingly angular on both cars now, and the silver ‘Singleframe’ surround connects the headlights into a cohesive, t–shaped face.

The front air vents are much bolder new as well, and the xenon headlights (LEDS are optional) have been redesigned and reshaped. The result is a blockier, more expressive fascia for 2015, but to be honest it looks a bit less refined than before.

The go-fast crossovers didn’t just go under the knife for their mid-cycle facelift, they clearly went to the gym as well.

The Q3 boasts up to a 10-horsepower bump depending on engine choice, which ranges from a 2.0-liter TDI with 147 hp to a 2.0-liter TFSI gas unit with 221 hp. Audi claims up to a 17 percent increase in fuel efficiency throughout the lineup.

The range-topping RS Q3 retains the 2.5-liter five-cylinder from 2014, but it’s been bolstered by 30 hp for a new total output of 340 hp. Channeled through the RS’ quattro all-wheel drive system, the hopped-up Q3 can now reach 60 mph from a standstill in 4.8 seconds.

For those who are counting, that’s .7 seconds faster than before. There’s still only one exhaust outlet, but the German automaker has added controllable flaps inside the piping for increased control over the five-banger’s sound.

Deliveries of the Q3 will begin in February 2015 with a base price of just under $37,000, while the $70,000 RS Q3 will go on sale sometime during 2015’s first quarter.

(Video hosted by World Car Fans)

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