All right, let’s get things straight. The Audi RS3, especially in sedan form, can no longer be considered the “hot hatchback” as it was classified for the previous generations. Now in its 3rd generation, Audi has managed to turn it into an all-out sports car, ready to give the M3s and Caymans of this world a serious run for their money.
Without a doubt, the RS3 sedan has now filled the gap left by the Audi RS4, now only available in Avant (wagon) form. The RS3 is a staple in the Audi range, and the sedan form has returned for a second generation with the latest model. It certainly caused a stir when it was announced and the reception by paying customers is nothing short of interesting since most cars are used on a daily basis.
Styling has never been too wild for the RS models, and Audi hasn’t packaged the RS3 differently, with an overall subtle design that packs a big punch. So join me as we dive a little deeper into the RS3 and try to pick out the best feature Audi has given this super-cooking hot hatch.
The unique powertrain of the RS3 Sedan
This is the most important news for the new RS3. Its impressive 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo engine is a weird layout, but it works perfectly in its packaging. It happily produces the same 400 horsepower as the previous RS3 model, but torque has been increased slightly by 15 lb-ft of torque to 368 ft-lb as if this hyper-hot hatchback needed it.
With this perky engine under the hood, the RS3 can officially sprint from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, but customers see even better numbers around 3.6 seconds. That’s supercar-fast from a (fairly) understated car. If you want some clever mechanical upgrades, the RS3 is more agile and entertaining on your favorite twisty road than ever before, and on the track it’s even more of a scalpel-sharp driving weapon.
All this power goes through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox which then sends all that power to all four wheels using a revised Quattro system. Where once a four-wheel drive sports car was far eclipsed by its rear-drive counterparts, Audi has added something to the RS3 that means it’s a little biased towards the rear and can certainly hold its own on a racetrack or a twisty road back.
This new magic is the RS Torque Splitter System. This is mounted over the rear axle and allows the car to electronically send as much torque to both wheels as it wants. Essentially, if you turn to the right, it steers more towards the left wheel and vice versa. This in theory provides more grip and improves the car’s response when turning, reducing understeer, very clever.
Interior features of the RS3 Sedan
The interior of the new Audi RS3 sedan isn’t a huge revolution from the current S3 model, but it does get some more appropriate racing-style upgrades. These include a new flat-bottomed handlebar and RS badge in case you forget. A round version is available, but we think an Alcantara-trimmed flat bottom is the best choice. That combined with a new RS button for easy driving mode switching is sure to make for a special ride. It’s a luxurious place to play, but the focus is always on the driver, and it certainly feels that way when you’re in the cockpit.
You sit on a set of RS sports seats, which can be upholstered in nappa leather if desired. If you opt for a car with a design package, these will be stitched in red or green, complete with matching seat belts, dashboard trim and floor mats.
The interior of the new RS3 gets a 10-inch infotainment system as standard, complete with an RS Monitor mode that allows you to monitor oil temperature and tire pressure, clearly demonstrating Audi’s intention with this product. You also benefit from a 12.3-inch digital driver display that shows you the 1/4 mile, 0-60 mph times and G-forces, as well as the usual speedometer and tachometer info.
Exterior Styling of the Audi RS3 Sedan
Understated aggressiveness. If that was the design brief, Audi’s RS department hit the nail on the head. Up front, it gets a large but black honeycomb grille flanked by huge air intakes for a furious look. You get standard LED headlights, but you can upgrade to Matrix LED units if you prefer. If so, your RS3 will have daytime running lights in the form of the checked flag, with the flag on the right showing RS3 letters when you lock and unlock the car.
Flared wheel arches adorn the body panels, a signature Audi RS model at this point. The side profile also has a functional vent behind the front wheel, real race car stuff. You get 10-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, although a five-spoke set is available as an option. At the back you can see a huge diffuser and a set of oval exhaust vents. Look a little closer there and you’ll notice that they actually contain two smaller pipes, how disappointing.
The best feature of the RS3 Sedan
So this is quite difficult. It’s an exceptionally well-rounded car, so to help make this decision, I’ll break down some things that really don’t benefit the Audi RS3. The first is the price. The price! It starts at $60,000, but by the time you tick off the right options, packages, and a nice paint job, you’re looking at just $80,000. This brings him into the territory of Porsche Cayman, which as we know is one of the best sports cars. But put it on a BMW M3, a more comparable rival, and you’re on par.
However, the RS3’s best feature is without a doubt its incredible ability to do it all. 4 doors, 5 seats, large luggage space and a lot of performance. If you think of it as a replacement for the old RS4 sedan, the RS3 is quite a car for the money. The second-hand market for them is hot right now, but when it cools down, it will be the battle for the best daily driver.
BMW M4 takes on Nissan GT-R and Audi RS3 in drag race action
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