Audi has pulled the covers off its new RS3 hatchback and saloon, which gain a raft of new performance features and a bold new design.
Rivalling the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, the RS3 retains the same characterful 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine as before, which produces 395bhp and 500Nm of torque. Though power remains the same, the torque figure has increased by 20Nm and is available across a wider rev range. It means it can sprint from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds, helped by a quattro all-wheel-drive system and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
While as standard the RS3’s top speed is limited to 155mph, Launch Edition and Vorsprung models see the limiter raised to 174mph, while an optional ‘RS Dynamic’ package unlocks 180mph, where permitted.
An exhaust with variable flaps are also fitted, which aims to amplify the noise of the RS3’s five-cylinder engine further. It’s also the first Audi to be fitted with a torque splitter that’s capable of just sending power to the rear wheels, aiming to minimise understeer in the process.
The standard RS sports suspension has also been revised with new shock absorbers that can act quicker, while an adaptive suspension setup is also available to improve things further. A newly-developed six-piston steel brake setup comes as standard, though ceramic brakes are also available, and are offered with a wider choice of colours for the brake callipers.
As is to be expected, the RS3 gets a far more muscular look than the regular A3, with wider bumpers, wedge-shaped LED headlights and the large oval exhaust pipes that are found on all Audi RS models. Matrix LED headlights are also available on all but the standard trip, with these able to display the RS3 lettering and also a chequered flag.
Elsewhere, there are flared wheel arches, along with a new air outlet in the front wing. Bold Kyalami Green and Kemora Grey colours are also unique to the RS versions.
Inside, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel features built-in zinc shift paddles, while a large 12.3-inch digital dial system and 10.1-inch touchscreen are both included as standard, with specific RS displays to separate it from the regular A3.
The new Audi RS3 will be available to order from the middle of August, with first deliveries expected before the end of the year. Audi hasn’t announced full pricing, but has said the Sportback hatch will be available from £50,900 and the Saloon from £51,900.Enquire on a new Audi RS3