Audi RS3: Details and pictures on the hottest new hatch

Audi's new five-cylinder hot hatchback takes the fight to Mercedes' 355bhp A45 AMG

Audi is clearly serious about its new RS3 Sportback. Not only does the model retain a five-cylinder engine – a layout that following the last model, Audi didn’t plan to revive – but it also beats Mercedes’ indecently quick A45 AMG in terms of maximum output.

With 2480cc and a turbocharger at its disposal, Audi has extracted 362bhp from its five-pot unit. By comparison, the A45 AMG produces 355bhp, albeit from a smaller 2-litre unit.

The RS3 Sportback also puts 343lb ft of torque through its quattro all-wheel drive system, enabling a 4.3sec 0-62mph dash and 155mph top speed. Owners wishing for more can ask their dealer to remove the limiter, sending the five-door hatch to 174mph.

A full Audi RS exhaust system provides the soundtrack. Twin flaps downstream of the silencer control exhaust flow to enhance the RS3’s aural qualities, though again Audi offers an upgrade – a full sports system is optional for the greatest dose of five-pot warble.

Audi has tweaked its familiar seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission for faster-than-ever shifts. A launch control system is standard, while Audi says the S tronic’s ratios have been optimised for low-end acceleration and top-end economy. Combined fuel consumption is 34.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 189g/km.

Sitting 25mm lower than a standard Sportback, the RS3 also gets a wider front track, variable-rate steering and optional magnetic dampers. Rolling stock comprises 19in cast alloy wheels and 235/35 tyres, though an optional package lets buyers specify wider 255/30 front tyres with 235/35 rears.

This, combined with a quattro system set up to deliver up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels, torque vectoring, and a dedicated sport ESC setting, promises greater adjustability than some previous Audi RS products.

Exterior styling follows the usual RS cues with silver detailing, deeper front and rear bumper sections and a honeycomb grille element, while interior trim is embellished with an Alcantara-trimmed flat-bottomed wheel and carbonfibre inserts in the dashboard.

Audi hasn’t yet revealed UK pricing for the RS3 Sportback, nor has it announced an on-sale date.

Recommended

Audi RS3 review (2015-2020)
Audi RS3 hatchback

Audi RS3 review (2015-2020)

Audi’s RS3 and RS3 Saloon have been rejigged to meet new emissions laws, but it hasn’t upset the recipe
8 Dec 2020
Cupra Leon 300TSI now on sale – 296bhp range-topper priced from £35,660
Cupra Leon
Cupra

Cupra Leon 300TSI now on sale – 296bhp range-topper priced from £35,660

The Cupra Leon’s three hatchback variants have been priced, with ST models to follow
24 Feb 2021
386bhp Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed – crossover gets hot new powertrain
Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed grey
Cupra

386bhp Cupra Formentor VZ5 revealed – crossover gets hot new powertrain

Cupra unveils a new Formentor flagship with a familiar five-cylinder and a halo status
22 Feb 2021

Most Popular

Jaguar F Pace SVR 2021 review – good enough to take on an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio?
Jaguar F Pace SVR 2021 review - tracking
Jaguar F-Pace

Jaguar F Pace SVR 2021 review – good enough to take on an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio?

As good to drive as an SUV gets, much better interior these days too
1 Mar 2021
Mazda e-Skyactiv X engine revealed – clever compression ignition petrol updated
Mazda 3
Mazda

Mazda e-Skyactiv X engine revealed – clever compression ignition petrol updated

More power, lower emissions and improvised drivability promised for Mazda’s clever petrol engine
1 Mar 2021
Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in
R8 Filler cap
Porsche

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in

Porsche claims a car running on eFuel will have the same CO2 footprint as an EV, and BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and McLaren all agree
24 Feb 2021