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Audi RS3 review

Audi RS3 review

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The thought of a compact performance car having more than 300bhp was unheard of a few years ago, yet today it’s almost become the norm.

The New RS 3 sharper than ever before. 


Covered in this review:

What is the Audi RS3?

Updates to the Audi RS3?

What’s under the bonnet of the Audi RS3?

What is the Audi RS3 like to drive?

How does the Audi RS3 look?

Interior of the Audi RS3

What’s the spec of the Audi RS3?

Verdict on the Audi RS3


What is it?

The hot hatch segment has gone through a particulary evolutionary period. The thought of a compact performance car having more than 300bhp was unheard of a few years ago, yet today it’s almost become the norm. This brings us to the RS 3. Now entering its third generation, it packs more performance than ever as well as a range of technological enhancements which aim to make the RS 3 sharper than ever before. 


What’s new?

The new RS 3 has been given a real overhaul in order to improve things compared with the car it replaces. The engine has been worked over, while the chassis has been improved in order to make the RS 3’s handling that bit sharper. Audi has also included a torque splitter at the rear of the car, allowing power to be divided between the rear wheels depending on cornering speed, aiding agility. The suspension has been reworked too, while a new ‘drift mode’ has been included to make sliding the RS 3 a little easier. 

Audi RS3 Sportback driving down a road

What’s under the bonnet?

The new RS 3 has retained its much-loved 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, resisting the process of downsizing which is being adopted by many of its rivals. Though the 394bhp it produces is the same as before, torque has been increased while the power is now delivered lower down in the rev range, meaning that the car feels faster than before in the real world. Audi claims that the RS 3 will manage 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds before heading to a top speed of 155mph, or 174mph in Vorsprung specification. Need more speed? An optional RS Dynamic Pack lifts the top speed to 180mph. 


What’s it like to drive?

The RS 3 gets things off to a great start with a spot-on driving position, meaning you’re comfortable from the get-go. In Comfort driving mode, it also does a good job of soaking up the worst of the bumps in the road, so it’ll be easy to live with on a daily basis, too. However, when things turn twisty you can see how Audi has worked hard to develop the RS 3’s talents. It turns in sharply, with the rear following keenly and giving the whole car a real feeling of agility. 


How does it look?

Audi has worked hard to ensure that the styling of the RS 3 is well-differentiated from the regular A3. It’s wider and chunkier, while the front end wears the trademark RS honeycomb grille design. Large air inlets and a redesigned bumper complete the front-end look. Audi has also introduced two new colours with the RS 3 - Kemora Grey and Kyalami Green- with both pairing well with the RS 3’s muscular looks. 


What’s it like inside?

The RS 3 is absolutely packed with interior tech, while aspects such as the virtual cockpit have RS-specific displays that can be configured and moved around. You’ve also got a 10.1-inch central infotainment system which is easy to use and responsive, too. There’s also the option to have the seats and air vents finished in the same colour as the car’s exterior - a particularly good option if you’re wanting the inside of your RS 3 to look just as striking as the outside. 

Audi RS3 interior

What’s the spec like?

Three trim levels are available with the RS 3 - RS 3, Carbon Black and Vorsprung. All can be fitted to either hatchback or saloon layouts, giving buyers a more practical option should they need one. Prices for the RS 3 start from £50,900 and includes that new torque splitter, 19-inch alloy wheels and a variety of interior extras, such as heated front seats and Nappa leather upholstery. All manner of optional extras can be included too, with a highlight being the £5,000 RS Dynamic Pack, which adds adaptive suspension, ceramic brakes, an RS sports exhaust system and that aforementioned increase in top speed. 


Verdict

It feels as those Audi has hit the nail on the head with the new RS 3. It’s not just a straight-line weapon anymore, arriving instead as a car that is just as capable in the bends as it is accelerating towards the horizon. It’s also comfortable when you want it to be and practical too. In short, it’s the ideal everyday performance car.

Explore the RS range Browse used RS3 Explore RS3 Sportback Explore RS3 Saloon