Now that Audi has brought the new A3 on the market, they have moved on to preparing its higher performance RS version. Back in April, a test mule was caught lapping in Nurburgring and we had assumed that it would lead to a Paris Motor Show debut. That proved to be an accurate assumption as Audi will be debuting the RS3 at the end of September at the show.
The Audi RS3 will only be offered in a five-door version with prices anticipated to be between £38,000 -£40,000. Like the Audi TT RS, the Audi RS3 will be powered by a 2.5 liter, 5-cylinder turbocharged engine that is found in the TT-RS, but will adjust it to gain another 10hp, bringing the total horsepower up to 350. The engine will be mated to a new 7-speed S-trinic gearbox (PQ500 unit) as an option (also available on TT RS for ordering now). It is also rumored that the RS3 will get an all-new chassis which wouldn’t be surprising considering they have also gone to some lengths to decrease weight ont he hatchback. Audi has fitted the hatchback with aluminum panels, suspension parts, and special lightweight sport seats to trim the fat.
We have also heard that Audi will only build 2,700 units of the RS3, which is exactly the number of units the BMW 1-Series M Coupe will see. Coincidence? We think not.
There is some bad news to this story though; U.S. Audi fans shouldn’t hold their breath in anticipation for the new RS3. If Audi won’t share the 261 hp S3 with North America, the chances are slim that it will export its halo vehicle.
UPDATE 09/16/2010: This review has been updated with new details on the RS3.