The Audi RS 3 is now available to order in the UK in both the familiar five-door Sportback and the new Saloon. The Sportback is priced from £44,300 OTR and the Saloon from £45,250 OTR. Common to both is Audi’s even more powerful development of its five-cylinder engine delivering 0-62mph acceleration in just 4.1 seconds.
The new 2.5 TFSI engine serves up 480 Nm of torque alongside 400PS, and makes all of it available at between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm. The unique sound of the five-cylinder mill can be modified via the standard Audi drive select system with its Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual modes.
A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission channels power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system. Drivers can adjust shift points and the proportion of torque directed rearwards via the Audi drive select. It also influences the operating characteristics of the progressive steering, engine management and adjustable exhaust flaps.
A MacPherson strut front and four-link rear suspension, wheel-selective torque control and RS-specific Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) logic with higher thresholds also contribute to the handling. An RS sport exhaust system and RS sport suspension with Audi Magnetic Ride are available as options, as are carbon ceramic brakes.
Compared to an A3, the front track of the new RS 3 models is wider by 20 millimetres and the front wheel arches are subtly flared. The rear axle is 14 millimetres wider than the standard. Sportback models sit on 19-inch ‘5-arm rotor‘ design alloy wheels, while the newly introduced Saloons feature a ‘5-arm blade’ design also with a 19-inch diameter.
There is an RS-specific honeycomb single frame grille, deep side skirts, a roof-edge design with high gloss black inserts in the Sportback and an integrated bootlid lip spoiler in body colour in the Saloon. Standard LED headlights with distinctive daytime running lights can be upgraded to matrix LEDs as an option.
LEDs are also at the heart of the new Audi Beam feature, which is standard. On entry to, or exit from, the RS 3 it projects the Audi Sport insignia onto the ground. Heated RS-embossed and contrast-stitched front sport seats are finished in black Fine Nappa leather and the RS flat-bottomed steering wheel comes in the leather and Alcantara.
The digital Audi Virtual Cockpit provides RS-specific screens giving details such as tyre pressure, torque and g-forces in the 12.3-inch high resolution display. The RS3 retains the additional seven-inch colour monitor that rises from the dashboard.
Detailed navigation mapping and route guidance also appears on both screens courtesy of the standard MMI Navigation Plus which is paired with a touch-sensitive control panel for easy data entry. The Audi Smartphone Interface, another standard feature, enables selected apps to be displayed when an Android or iOS smartphone is connected. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System produces 705 watts of power through 14 speakers.
Optional driver assistance systems include traffic jam assist, which can briefly take over not only acceleration and braking but also steering in slow-moving traffic at speeds of up to 37mph.