Audi RS3 review – performance and 0-60 time
All-wheel drive, a dual-clutch transmission and launch control help make the RS3 astoundingly quick off the line
Despite some laggy performance from the engine and gearbox, on paper the RS3 still delivers. It’ll hit 62mph in 3.8sec and 174mph if you tick the correct option box – but it does make you feel you’re never far from pulling for another ratio via the pathetically sized VW Group paddles or waiting for the auto to do it for you.
Away from the stopwatch, given a proper run-in, the RS3’s full potential is unleashed. With peak outputs of 394bhp and 369lb ft, it erupts with relentless acceleration; the engine has so much performance that its quoted power figure feels a little underrated. It’ll rush up towards the red line with real zing, and build speed with that classic five-cylinder sound as a constant backup. It’s not as loud as it used to be (or as we’d like it), but there’s real culture to the soundtrack that’s so much more special than in a rival like the A45 S.
In direct comparison, the Mercedes-AMG probably does have the edge in outright performance, and its turbocharger and transmission are more responsive, but the Audi’s charisma more than makes up for it.