Audi RS3 review – interior and tech

Ah, it was all sounding a little too good to be true. The A3’s taken a big step back compared to the last generation, and so too has the RS3

Evo rating
Price
from £50,900
  • Chassis upgrades have finally created a nimble and agile RS3
  • Engine and gearbox are starting to feel out of date

If the impressive chassis feels like a surprise win for the new RS3, unfortunately there are a few backwards steps, none more obvious than the interior design and quality. Last time around, the RS3’s interior broke new ground with its clean, minimalist design, motorised display and generally exceptional quality of both materials and build – not only has the new model not progressed in this department, it’s actually taken a few steps back.

The first issue is the design, which follows Audi’s current angular and complex style with lots of flat surfaces and sharp intersections. Whether you like the new look is one thing, but what brings the whole side down are the cheap materials that it’s made of. The dash top and doors are soft touch, but elements that constantly sit in your eyeline, like the driver’s air vents, and things you come into contact with, such as the gear selector, look and feel flimsy and cheap.

Both higher-spec RS3 models do have a slab of satin-finished carbon to help lift the interior, but this is offset with far too much glossy black plastic on the dash and centre console. The leather on the seats is at least of a high quality, so too the steering wheel which looks and feels great to touch, but the rest of it is a distinct step backwards.

Thankfully the digital interfaces are typical Audi, which is to say functional and clear, but there are some odd inclusions such as the iPod-style rotary volume/track button (what’s wrong with a knob?!).

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