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In-depth reviews

Audi RS3 review – design

A bit gauche in most specifications, spec subtly and the RS3 can look fantastically menacing

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  • Engine and gearbox are starting to feel out of date

The Audi RS3 is one of those cars that can be totally transformed by its specification, for better or worse. Fundamentally, the A3’s overall design is already fairly brutish, with pumped wheelarches and bold graphics, so the RS3 was never going to be the Q-car its predecessors were.

In order to fit the 265-section front tyres, the front arches are even wider, with an opening at its junction with the front door. This, in combination with the ‘mask’ front bumper derived from Audi’s RS e-tron GT, gives the RS3 a very aggressive stance, one only built on by the extreme negative camber of the front wheels. A similarly dramatic effect is found on the rear bumper, with a full-width fake mesh insert connecting the two oval pipes that only just contain the four individual outlets within.

Pair this look with a dark colour and most of the aggressive black openings disappear, making it look something like a development vehicle (in a good way). However, specify one of Audi Sport’s brighter colour options such as the Kyalami Green, Turbo Blue or Python Yellow and it’ll look less like a sophisticated Audi hot hatchback and more like something that’s just rolled off the lawn at Wörthersee.

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Another consideration are the UK-specific design specifications, as the base RS3 comes with aluminium-like elements on the front bumper, mirror caps and window surrounds, with an ornate set of two-tone silver and grey wheels. Carbon Sport and Vorsprung models swap these elements out for a stealthier black-on-black look regardless of exterior colour choice.

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