Audi RS3 Sportback review (2015-2017) - the definitive super-hatch? - Engine and Gearbox

A step up above its predecessor but still not as mighty as the spec sheet suggests

Evo rating
Price
from £40,795
  • Addictive noise, lighter on its feet than predecessor, quality
  • Not a big step up from Golf R or BMW M145i, still a shade sensible

Engine and Gearbox

The five-cylinder turbo engine returns impressive numbers – 362bhp from 5550-6800rpm and 343lb ft from 1625-5550rpm – and in general the car’s straight-line performance is very good. It doesn’t feel wantonly over-engined, though, and you’d be hard pressed to identify the extra power over a VW Golf R without driving them back-to-back. At least the exhaust note is much more evocative although some may actually find the optional sports exhaust a little too much for a hatchback.

Throttle response is okay but no more than that, although the engine does have a good appetite for revs for a five-cylinder turbo unit.

The 7-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox swaps cogs cleanly and quickly in auto mode and in the manual setting the shifts themselves are rapid. The problem is that there’s sometimes a delay between pulling the paddle and the shift actuation, and when you’re really hustling the car you don’t always get downshifts when you want them.

The ‘box will actually hold gears in the manual mode rather than automatically shift up, sitting the engine on the limiter, which is useful when you want to hold a gear as you dive into a corner. With the slight delay in upshifts, though, you do need to learn to tug the right hand paddle a heartbeat before you want the next gear if you’re to avoid an uncomfortable head-butt into the limiter.

On the way soon is the RS3 saloon, and this brings with it an even more powerful version of the 2.5-litre five-pot. Maximum power rises to 394bhp, while torque climbs to 354lb ft. We'd expect the RS3 Sportback to adopt the same increased outputs when the saloon arrives.

Most Popular

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed
MY22 Nissan GT-R T-spec – front quarter
Nissan GT-R

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed

Two new special editions and the return of some iconic colours are the highlights of the Nissan GT-R’s MY22 update
14 Sep 2021
Car pictures of the week
Roma GT test – group
Lamborghini

Car pictures of the week

We take a look at some of the unseen images from this month’s GT test, featuring Ferrari’s new Roma and an impressive wildcard rival.
17 Sep 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo

Tesla has now recorded a Nürburgring lap time with its Model S Plaid, if that matters
10 Sep 2021