Audi first introduced the A3 nameplate, which initially included three-door and five-door hatchbacks, back in 1996. The first performance version arrived three years later as the S3, but it took Audi no less than 15 years to launch the brawnier RS3 Sportback model. The hot wagon-like hatch featured a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine with 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, making it one of the most powerful vehicles in Audi’s lineup. The RS3 needed only 4.5 seconds to charge from 0 to 60 mph and its race-bred suspension made it suitable for track hooning. The first-gen RS3 was retired in 2012, after only two years in showrooms. After two years of waiting and several videos with a new iteration of the car doing hot laps on the Nurburgring throughout 2014, Audi has finally unveiled the 2015 RS3 Sportback,

The compact comes with a redesigned, more aggressive exterior, more power, more torque, and a host of brand-new features. Thanks to its updated engine, the RS3 is now the most powerful compact in the premium segment. Check out the full details below.

Updated 12/12/2014: Audi unveiled the first details on the new RS3 Sportback, which is scheduled to go on sale in Europe in March, 2015. Click past the jump for the full details.

  • 2015 Audi RS3
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed S tronic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
    343 @ 1625
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.3 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    174 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    50000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Spy shots

April 24, 2014 - Audi RS3 Caught Testing in Production Form

2015 Audi RS3 Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Audi RS3 Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Audi RS3 Exterior Spyshots
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2015 Audi RS3 Exterior Spyshots
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The prototype caught testing by our spy photographers is simply an S3 mule, meaning that the new RS3 is still in early development stages. Even so, we pretty much know what to expect when the new model arrives in 2014.

It will be a little bit more aggressive than the S3, with a different grille, revised front and rear bumpers, larger air intakes that will ensure a proper engine cooling and for the rear a new exhaust system with dual tailpipes.

The model will sit on special RS wheels, combined with large brakes featuring six-piston calipers and cross-drilled discs.


2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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Down below, the completely redesigned apron boasts two massive air intakes, also featuring the grille's honeycomb pattern, and a silver blade-like element with vertical fins on each side.

Based on the third-generation A3, which was unveiled for the 2013 model year, the brand-new RS3’s design is significantly different when compared to the previous model. The modern headlamps are equipped with the company’s new LED strips, while the front grille is a massive departure from the unit fitted on the original model. Although it sports the same honeycomb pattern, the grille is now wider and sports a hexagonal design instead of the older trapezoidal shape.

Down below, the completely redesigned apron boasts two massive air intakes, also featuring the grille’s honeycomb pattern, and a silver blade-like element with vertical fins on each side. Around back, the RS3 is equipped with a pair of new taillights and a beefy bumper. The apron incorporates a four-blade diffuser, huge oval exhaust tips and silver accents. When viewed from the side, the RS3 reveals its widened front fenders and muscly character lines.

Eight exterior paints are available for the RS3, as well as new wheel designs. The color palette features Nargo Gray and Catalunya Red Metallic as new shades, with the latter exclusive to the RS3 Sportback.

Side-by-side comparison

2015 Audi RS3 Exterior
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TopSpeed Rendering

2015 Audi RS3 Exclusive Renderings
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2015 Audi RS3 Interior
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The driver information system now includes a lap timer as well.

Much like any other RS-badged Audi model, the RS3’s interior blends sportiness, luxury and state-of-the-art convenience features. Black is the dominant color inside the cabin, with light gray adorning the seats, the door panels and some of the center console. The seats come wrapped in Nappa leather with Dark Rock Gray contrast stitching, while the flat-bottom steering wheel is swathed in leather and Alcantara. The latter is also used for the door-trim inserts. The sporty visuals are further enhanced by stainless-steel pedals and footrest and the RS instrument cluster with black faces, red needles and white scales. The driver information system now includes a lap timer as well.

Other standard features includes RS bucket seats, MMI infotainment, and Parking System Plus. The options list is packed with goodies such as S sport seats with diamond pattern, carbon shell and integrated side airbags,and an interior design package with red accents on the knee pads, the air vents, the floor mats and the seat belts.


2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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Top speed sits at a very German 155 mph in standard guise, but Audi says it can be increased to 174 mph "upon request."

Power comes from the same 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine, but a host of upgraded internals enable it to deliver 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque from 1,625 rpm. That’s 27 ponies and 11 pound-feet more that the previous model, just enough to make the new RS3 0.3 seconds quicker than its predecessor from 0 to 62 mph at 4.3 seconds. Top speed sits at 155 mph in standard guise, but Audi says it can be increased to 174 mph "upon request."

Mated to a seven-speed S tronic transmission that shifts faster than its predecessor and the quattro all-wheel-drive system, the five-pot is expected to return 29 mpg combined. The previous RS3 was rated at 26 mpg combined.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.5 TFSI five cylinder, turbocharged engine
Output 367 HP
Torque 343 LB-FT @ 1,625-5,550 RPM
0 - 100kmh (62 mph) 4.3 seconds
Top Speed 280 km/h (174.0 mph)
Transmission seven-speed S tronic

Suspension and Brakes

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The chassis received a host of upgrades to cope with the RS3’s higher output and improved handling in tight corners. The pivot bearings of the front axle, the progressive steering, and the the sport suspension were designed specifically for this model. The optional magnetic ride adaptive damper control system was also tuned for optimum performance in the RS3. Stopping power is provided by carbon-ceramic brake discs. The units are standard for the rear axle and can be fitted to the front axle upon request.


2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing information for the U.S. market is not yet available, but we expect the 2015 RS3 to cost in excess of $55,000. The Sportback is set to make its global debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March, with European deliveries to commence next summer. No word on U.S. availability as of December 2014.


Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG

2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
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Given its output and wagon-like body, the RS3 Sportback is rather unique, with no actual competitors in the United States. What’s more hot hatches such as the Ford Focus ST and the Volkswagen Golf GTI are rather slow with less than 300 ponies at their disposal. On the other hand, there’s the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, which is a tad shorter but powerful enough to give the RS3 a run for its money.

The German hatch is not just appealing as far as design goes, it also employs an incredible turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-banger that cranks out no less than 360 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. 60 mph comes in 4.6 seconds thanks to AMG’s seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, while top speed sits at 155 mph.

Unfortunately, this hatch is not yet available in the United States. In Britain, it retails from £38,200, which converts to around $60,000 as of 12/12/2014.

Ford Focus RS

2016 Ford Focus RS Exterior Spyshots
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A new Focus RS has yet to be unveiled, but Ford’s all-new hatch will make its debut in 2015. Rumored to hit showrooms with a more powerful version of the Mustang’s 2.3-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder that will crank out around 330 horsepower, the new Focus RS could also receive all-wheel drive for the very time. Of course, we don’t expect it to outgun the RS3 Sportback in a straight line, but the RS should be more capable at the track. The best part is the RS will finally cross the pond to the United States, and it could go on sale for the 2016 model year.

Based on the current-generation Focus, the upcoming RS will boast an aerodynamic body kit and a host of race-bred chassis upgrades in addition to the EcoBoost powerplant.


2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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It took Audi two years to build a new RS3 Sportback and we can finally see why. With 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque on tap, the RS3 wipes out just about any hot hatch you can buy for the 2015 model year, while also offering added luxury that easily trumps any offerings from Ford or Volkswagen. It’s not cheap by any means, but we still want it in U.S. showrooms A.S.A.P.!

  • Leave it
    • * Expensive
    • * U.S. availability unknown
    • * Plenty of affordable hot hatches to choose from

Press Release

Hot, throaty sound, exhilaratingly free-revving and brawny power – the five cylinder engines from Audi are legendary. 270 kW (367 hp) output and 465 Nm (343.0 lb ft) of torque – Audi presents the new RS 3 Sportback*, the most powerful compact car in the premium segment. With its powerful five cylinder, turbocharged engine, the five door model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.3 seconds, and its top speed can be increased to 280 km/h (174.0 mph) upon request.

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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“There is a long tradition of five-cylinder engines at Audi,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “In the 80s, they turned Audi into a sporty brand, both in motor sports and in production. The new Audi RS 3 Sportback features the latest generation of our 2.5 liter, five‑cylinder engine – the most powerful production engine in the modular transverse matrix.”

The multiple award-winning 2.5 TFSI produces 270 kW (367 hp) and 465 Nm (343.0 lb‑ft) of torque in the new RS 3 Sportback. The turbocharged engine accelerates the compact five‑door from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds, and top speed can be increased to 280 km/h (174.0 mph) upon request. In the NEDC, it consumes just 8.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (29.0 US mpg), with CO2 emissions of 189 grams per kilometer (304.2 g/mi).

A seven-speed S tronic, which shifts even faster than in the previous model, directs the power of the 2.5 TFSI to the quattro permanent all‑wheel drive system. The quattro system features torque vectoring based on intelligent software and is designed through‑and‑through for maximum driving enjoyment. The new Audi RS 3 Sportback steers directly into corners. On low-friction road surfaces, drivers can even perform controlled drifts, if desired.

The chassis of the five‑door model also sets standards. Compared with the Audi A3 Sportback*, the body is 25 millimeters (1.0 in) lower. The pivot bearings of the front axle, the progressive steering, the RS‑specific sport suspension and optional Audi magnetic ride adaptive damper control are designed specifically for the RS. Audi mounts carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs behind the 19‑inch wheels on the front axle upon request – a first in the premium compact segment.

The Audi RS 3 Sportback complete package is rounded out with sharp interior and exterior details and a generous list of equipment. The new top model of the A3 family* is rolling into dealerships in summer 2015.

Power in compact form –
the new Audi RS 3 Sportback
Audi presents the most powerful car in the premium compact segment: The new RS 3 Sportback produces 270 kW (367 hp) and delivers 465 Nm (343.0 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft. The 2.5 TFSI accelerates the five‑door model from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.3 seconds and goes on to reach an optional top speed of 280 km/h (174.0 mph).

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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The 2.5 TFSI in the new Audi RS 3 Sportback guarantees to thrill with immense pulling power, eager revving and its own unique acoustic experience. The throaty roar and snarl backed by the rhythm of the 1 - 2 - 4 - 5 - 3 five-cylinder ignition sequence is the classic Audi soundtrack. Two flaps in the exhaust pipes downstream of the muffler control the exhaust flow to provide for an even more intensive sound experience that varies with engine load and speed. The driver can control these flaps via the Audi drive select system. The RS exhaust system is designed for high flow. For the first time in this segment, Audi offers a sport exhaust system as an option.

Powerful five-cylinder engines have a long tradition at Audi. During the 1980s, they powered the Audi rally cars, touring cars and production models to the front of the pack. The first RS model, the RS 2 from 1994, also had such an engine. The five‑cylinder made its comeback in 2009 in the Audi TT RS; it made its way into the RS 3 Sportback in 2011 and two years later into the RS Q3*. The 2.5 liter engine has been voted “International Engine of the Year” in its class five years in a row since 2010.

The five-cylinder unit produces 270 kW (367 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc: a remarkable specific output of 108.9 kW (148.0 hp) per liter. Driveability is impressive. The peak torque of 465 Nm (343.0 lb-ft) is already available at 1,625 rpm and remains constant through 5,550 rpm. The sprint from 60 to 100 km/h (37.3 to 62.1 mph) in fourth gear takes just 4.1 seconds; it takes just 5.8 seconds to go from 80 to 120 km/h (49.7 to 74.6 mph) in fifth gear.

The 2.5 TFSI catapults the new Audi RS 3 Sportback to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) from a standing start in 4.3 seconds – the best in its class. Acceleration is electronically capped at 250 km/h (155.3 mph). Top speed can be optionally raised to 280 km/h (174.0 mph), which is also unique in the compact sports car segment. In the NEDC, the entry-level RS model consumes just 8.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (29.0 mph), ten percent less than its predecessor. This corresponds to 189 grams CO2 per kilometer (304.2 g/mi). A recuperation system, a demand-controlled oil pump and a newly developed start-stop system that turns off the engine shortly before the car comes to a stop contribute to this. The emissions rating is Euro 6.

Just 49 centimeters (19.3 in) long, the five-cylinder is very short. It weighs approximately 180 kilograms (396.8 lb). Its crankcase is made of vermicular graphite cast iron, an extremely strong, yet lightweight material. Perfectly placed reinforcements enhance the block’s loadability. A small team of specially trained experts build the 2.5 TFSI by hand at the Audi engine plant in Győr, Hungary.

The turbocharger, which develops up to 1.3 bar of charge pressure, has a theoretical throughput of 1,100 kilograms (2,425.1 lb) of air per hour. The intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air. The interplay of turbocharging and direct injection enables a high 10.0:1 compression ratio and correspondingly good efficiency. Flaps in the intake manifold cause the inflowing air to rotate. The camshafts, each of which can be adjusted through 42 degrees of camshaft angle, further optimize the mixture.

Seven-speed S tronic
The standard seven-speed S tronic transfers the power of the 2.5 TFSI via three shafts – one drive shaft and two output shafts. Like all dual-clutch transmissions, it comprises two partial gearboxes. The direct shifting process takes place lightning-fast and with no perceptible interruption of power by simultaneously opening and closing both clutches. New detailed solutions for filling the clutches with oil and the interplay with the engine make gear changes faster than ever. With the Audi drive select system in dynamic mode, each shift is accompanied by double-clutching.

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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The driver of the new Audi RS 3 Sportback can choose between two automatic modes for the seven-speed S tronic or shift manually using the shift paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever. The launch control system provides for optimal traction and minimal tire slip when sprinting from a standing start. The lower gears are sportily short; seventh gear is tall to reduce fuel consumption. A plug-connected angle drive connects the ultra-compact gearbox with the prop shaft – a design that displays intelligent lightweight construction down to the last detail.

quattro permanent all-wheel drive
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system transfers the power of the 2.5 TFSI to the road with supreme ease. Its central component is the electronically controlled, hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch. The newly developed part is mounted at the rear axle for reasons of axle load distribution. The multi-plate clutch uses software custom tailored for the Audi RS 3 Sportback. It distributes the available torque as needed to the front and rear axles in the blink of an eye. Depending on the driving style and coefficient of friction, between 50 and 100 percent of the available torque can be sent to the rear axle.

The electric pump, which develops the necessary oil pressure of max. 38 bar, is highly efficient. It is activated immediately the instant road grip drops or the driver adopts a sportier style. The weight of the clutch was reduced by 1.4 kilograms (3.1 lb) versus the previous version by eliminating the pressure accumulator. Another example of targeted lightweight construction.

Control of the multi-plate clutch is integrated into the Audi drive select system. With its very sport configuration, it uses all handling-relevant information, such as the steering angle. In dynamic mode and when the ESC Electronic Stabilization Control system is set to sport mode, power is transferred sooner and in greater amounts to the rear axle for even better handling, giving the new Audi RS 3 Sportback very agile and direct turn-in. This enables the driver to even perform controlled drifts on low-friction road surfaces. The front axle pulls the car back onto a straight line when exiting a bend.

Torque vectoring makes the handling of the Audi RS 3 Sportback even more perfect. During fast cornering, it slightly brakes the interior wheels, which are under a reduced load. This enables both wheels on the axle to transfer more power to the road. Thanks to the difference in propulsive forces, the car turns slightly into the corner and supports the driver’s sporty driving style.

The chassis complements the dynamics of the drivetrain perfectly. Precisely guided by its sensitive steering, the new Audi RS 3 Sportback takes all types of corners quickly and stably. Its handling limits are very high and effortlessly manageable.

The McPherson front suspension has been widened to a track of 1,559 millimeters (5.1 ft) and includes specially developed, high-strength aluminum pivot bearings. The standard progressive steering varies its ratio between 15.3:1 and 10.9:1 as a function of steering input. Its efficient, electromechanical servo boost works with an RS-typical characteristic.

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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The rear axle, which as a track width of 1,514 millimeters (5.0 ft), is a four-link construction with rods of high-strength steel that handle the longitudinal and lateral forces separately. As with the front axle, these forces are directed to a subframe. The taut RS sport suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (1.0 in) compared with the A3 Sportback. The Audi magnetic ride adaptive damper system is available as an option. Its management is integrated into the standard Audi drive select dynamic handling system, which includes the modes comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.

The dynamic, new top model of the A3 series rolls on 19-inch, cast aluminum wheels in five-arm rotor design with size 235/35 tires. Audi offers machine-polished 19-inch wheels in matt titanium look or high-gloss anthracite black. The top tire option includes size 255/30 tires up front and 235/35 at the rear.

The internally ventilated brake discs measure 370 millimeters (14.6 in) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.2 in) at the rear. The front friction rings feature a weight-saving wave design and are perforated for maximum heat dissipation. Pins connect them to aluminum brake caps, and they are gripped by eight-piston fixed calipers painted black (red optional) with RS logos.

One of the technologies that differentiate the new Audi RS 3 Sportback from its competitors are the optional carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs on the front axle. They also measure 370 millimeters (14.6 in) and are gripped by anthracite gray calipers. The Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) offers a sport mode and can also be entirely deactivated with an extended push of a button.

Body and exterior design
The power-to-weight ratio plays a very key role in a sporty car. With the new Audi RS 3 Sportback, each hp has to move just 4.14 kilograms (9.1 lb). The practical five-door compact has a curb weight (without driver) of just 1,520 kilograms (3,351.0 lb), 55 kilograms (121.3 lb) less than its predecessor.

The basis for this top value is the Volkswagen Group’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) with its strict lightweight construction concept. The occupant cell contains many components of ultra-high-strength, hot-shaped steel, and the engine hood is made of aluminum. The orientation of the engine in combination with the multi-plate clutch and the battery, which are located in front of and behind the rear axle, respectively, contributes to a favorable axle load distribution.

The new top model in the A3 series reveals its potential at first glance. The Singleframe grille features a high-gloss black, honeycomb-look grille and a frame in matt aluminum look. The charge air flows in through the air inlet below the license plate frame. The large air inlets framed by bold contours provide air to the engine’s supplemental radiator and the transmission oil cooler. The blade integrated into the front apron extends upward into the air inlets to form a vertical dividing bar.

Viewed in profile, the widened front fenders, chiseled side sills, matt aluminum-look mirror housings and the large roof spoiler of the Audi RS 3 Sportback immediately catch the eye. A pronounced bumper, high-gloss black diffuser insert with honeycomb grille and four bars plus two large, oval tailpipes make for a bold rear. RS 3 badges adorn the Singleframe grille and the rear hatch.

2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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Dedicated individualists can order additional features, including a carbon engine cover. The matt aluminum and gloss black styling packages are also particularly attractive. Besides exterior details with distinctive surface, they also include a quattro logo in titanium gray in the air inlet. The eight paint finishes include two new shades: Nardo gray and Catalunya red, metallic. The latter color is exclusive to the Audi RS 3 Sportback.

Interior and Equipment
The interior of the new Audi RS 3 Sportback is in sporty black and accentuated with RS badges. The sport seats are covered in Fine Nappa leather with contrasting stitching in rock gray. Wrapped in leather and Alcantara, the RS multifunction sport steering wheel is flattened at the bottom, and the selector lever also features a particularly sporty design. The driver information system includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil temperature gauge and a lap timer.

Fine details round out the atmosphere of dynamics and extraordinary craftsmanship. The pedals and footrest are made of stainless steel; the door trim inserts are Alcantara. As is typical for RS models, the door openers are slender double bars and the inlays are in 3D-design “Black” (optionally available in Aluminum Race or carbon). The dials in the RS instrument cluster are black, the needles red and the scales white. High-quality applications in gloss anthracite black frame the instruments.

Standard equipment in the new Audi RS 3 Sportback also includes the parking system plus and the MMI radio. Options include S sport seats with diamond pattern, embossed logos and optional light-colored upholstery, and for the first time in the compact segment the newly developed RS bucket seats with integrated side airbags and a carbon seat shell, which are seven kilograms (15.4 lb) lighter than the basic sport seat. Another attractive option is the RS 3 interior design package with red accents on the knee pad, the air vents, the floor mats and the seat belts. This color also shimmers through the perforations of the S sport seats.

The infotainment and driver assistance systems from the A3 series, including MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, are available without restriction in the new top model. The comfort and convenience package includes features such as power-adjustable and heated front seats, four-way lumbar supports, automatically dimming exterior mirrors and a light and rain sensor.

Deliveries of the powerful five-door model are scheduled to begin in summer 2015. The previous model was already a strong seller; Audi expects the new RS 3 Sportback to also be a great success. With this model, quattro GmbH, the high-performance subsidiary that develops and builds the sporty spearheads in the AUDI AG product portfolio, now has seven RS models on the market – The RS 3 Sportback, the RS Q3 and the RS 4 Avant* plus the RS 5 Coupé*, the RS 5 Cabriolet*, the RS 6 Avant* and the RS 7 Sportback*.

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