RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback - most people will only see them from behind

and we're OK with that!

The heart of the new RS Q3 and its trendy coupé brother, the RS Q3 Sportback, is a 2.5 litre, five-cylinder turbo with 400 HP. This enables both AUDI SUVs with quattro all-wheel drive to reach 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds. It only stops accelerating at 250 km/h, as standard. However, if desired the RS Q3 can also be unlocked to 280 km/h. This makes the two siblings the fastest and most charismatic representatives of the compact performance-crossover. So it‘s likely that most people will only either see it in their rear views at traffic lights, or from behind on the road. At csi, we're just fine with that. Because it means people will get a perfect view of the parts for which we had significant joint responsibility: the front and rear bumpers. In cooperation with the automotive supplier SMP (Samvardhana Motherson Peguform) and Audi Sport, we were able to constructively implement the truly specially designed parts and get them ready for production.

Following the huge success of the first generation of the AUDI RS Q3, Audi Sport GmbH has decided with the model change to bring a Sport back variant of the high-performance SUV to the market, in addition to the RS Q3. Focusing on: customers who love special design. This can be seen in lots of special details, including the previously mentioned bumpers. Audi Sport GmbH has once again commissioned the team from SMP for this - as previously for the basic variant, the Q3. Good for us, because it meant we came on board as a partner for design and implementation in the series production. We have already brought many projects successfully to fruition together with SMP. It was particularly nice that the tier one supplier put additional trust in us and the scope of the order was larger than usual: unlike the usual in exterior projects, we were not only responsible for the design up to release of the data, but also for the subsequent product development until the start of production (SOP). This also placed the industrialisation in the hands of csi.

The end result is decisive. Everyone who is involved in the development projects knows that the way to the goal can be long and difficult: there are countless corrective rounds, adjustments and necessary changes and often, the end product has very little to do with the original concept. Things which don’t generally bother a rational engineer will give some other designers cause for doubt. Why do we mention that here? Because in this case it was very different and our experienced project manager, Marcin Herud, is still enjoying a particularly large amount of praise: “Towards the end of the project, we learned that the Audi designers were really delighted with the design implementation. Because we managed to implement their visual specifications almost 1:1. This is not often the case in series development. But all of us - SMP, Audi Sport and us - constantly had an eye on the design and we were able to rock it.” Andreas Moser is also happy with the results. The project manager responsible for the exterior at Audi Sport emphasised: “We are faced with target conflicts in the development process which have to be resolved with as few compromises as possible. In the RSQ3, this was really successful, not least because of the commitment of everybody involved. The individual aspects may not be directly tangible to some, for example, the minimal adjustments in the design, or the almost directly fed additional cooler. But you get the feeling whether the overall product is right. And both the RSQ3 and the RSQ3 Sportback are right.”

The good result is, on one hand, thanks to the extensive experience and expertise of those involved. However, almost equally as important is the fact that the cooperation worked seamlessly - both within the individual teams and also across companies and countries. Frank Schneider led the project for SMP and was supported by department-specific sub-project managers - including in the fields of technical planning, purchasing, quality and development. We were there for the design and also for everything after design to SOP. The “we“ in this project was, in particular, the product development team brought in, with Marcin Herud as sub-project manager for development and product engineers Lisa Morina and Markus Kaiser. The trio were incorporated very effectively into the work of the SMP project team. Dieter Gut, as the SMP team leader for development and Frank Schneider supported the team‘s close cooperation and integrated us superbly into the processes in order to guarantee a seamless transition from the design phase to series development of the bumper. “We were entirely responsible for the technical project development, so we were assigned to the “Development“ block - until the series launch in Autumn 2019.” explained Marcin Herud. Lisa Morina, who took care of the system maintenance, logistics, creation of the requirements specification, product lifecycle management and project organisation is certain: “The good cooperation and our experience from design contributed to us being able to benefit from our knowledge from the concept phase and thereby knowing the roughly 40 components per bumper, the interfaces and the technology for connections as well as the centering of certain parts from Eff-Eff. This enabled us to take on work after the design to SOP very quickly and efficiently.”

The holistic understanding of the design paid out particularly in the phase after design, which was concerned with implementing the data sets in hardware. In continuous discussion with SMP and the tool makers, components, tools and production parameters were optimised in such a way that ultimately, all components fit together precisely. “With the particularly fiddly elements, we had to develop special spraying concepts for the tools, such as a mesh structure in the upper rear diffusor area which was technically difficult to spray,” reported Markus Kaiser. Every six weeks the interim results were mounted on the master jig at Audi in Györ, inspected for a precise fit and the result evaluated with “error points“. Our parts did unusually well, even in the first master jig session. “csi was given unusually few error points for both the front and the rear bumpers on the first attempt. That was a huge success,” enthuses Markus Kaiser. But this first intermediate state is no reason to rest on our laurels. Because on this long journey together, which includes, among other things, the vibration-climate endurance test over ten days at temperatures from minus 40 to plus 80 degrees Celsius, there was still much to be done. Given Audi Sport‘s high qualitative requirements, at the end we also honed the smallest details and undertook adjustments in the entire process. The various iteration loops always ran similarly: SMP manufactured test parts with the tools delivered, which our team then put together as bumpers. That means, time and time again: correcting dimensions and starting new optimisation rounds. Ultimately, product development is about coordinating the various parameters of production, component tolerances, material properties or surface features and paint jobs in such a way that at the end, all the individual parts and the complete bumper meld together with the body work to create a technically and aesthetically optimal whole. Of course, with around 40 components for each bumper, there is a far amount of melding to do...

The Audi Q3 is produced at the Hungarian factory in Györ. Most of the parts for the RS bumpers are produced by SMP around 200 kilometres from Kecskemét and assembled with smaller parts from other suppliers into ready-to-install bumpers at the module centre in front of the gates of the Audi factory in Györ. So far, so good. However, there are also suppliers for the various injection moulding tools, who are located in China, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and, last but not least, Germany. This means that there was a lot for us to do with the coordination for this project, in order to network the various locations, acting as a link between SMP and Audi and thereby develop solutions in the course of personal discussions. We believe we have been successful. But you can judge for yourself - because since the market introduction at the start of the year, while we have been on the road less, the RS Q3 and RS Q3 Sportback can be seen out and about more and more. We wish everybody a good journey - and in particular that the bumpers remain pristine. Because more know-how and work has gone into making them than some may suspect!