German hot hatch gets more power under its hood

Remember when MTM released a multi-stage tuning kit for the Audi RS3 back in November 2015? Well, the German tuner’s back at it again with a new and improved program that adds more power to the hot hatch’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine.

As if its past works on the RS3 weren’t impressive enough, this new kit promises more power and performance for the model. Kind of appropriate that we get this program not only in time for the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, but also in a climate where the high-performance hatchback segment has become as competitive as ever.

Having said that, this kit isn’t entirely new. Some of its elements were brought over from the previous program. The only difference is that this version is bigger, better, and as fans of the RS3 will surely love, more powerful than anything MTM has built for the hot hatch model.

The only downside to the kit is that it costs a lot of money. Some might be able to afford it, but with a price tag that breaks six figures, others might just opt for something in that price range. Either way, MTM isn’t sweating about this perceived complication. In it’s own mind, it has a new program for the RS3 that’s going to turn the pocket rocket into a bonafide sports car with the numbers to match its new status.

Does MTM’s new kit for the RS3 enough to persuade customers to give it a serious look? Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long for an answer to that question. The Audi RS3 by MTM will make its debut in Geneva before the German tuner opens up shop to take orders and/or inquiries about it.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Audi RS3 R by MTM
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • 0-60 time:
    3.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph
  • Price:
    103000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2016 Audi RS3 R by MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 667510

This new program carries a lot of similarities between MTM’s past tuning kit for the RS3. That much is evident in the exterior where the carbon aero kit is also present. It’s not saying much considering that the extent of the upgrades only include a carbon front spoiler wing, carbon mirror caps, and a carbon diffuser, all of which have been installed to help improve the hot hatch’s handling characteristics.

The one notable change here is the car’s overall look. It’s uncertain if MTM is offering those racing stripes and side graphics as extra options, but customers likely won’t mind having the opportunity to choose to get them or not. Last but not least are the wheels. MTM’s got an entire catalog of rims to choose wrong, but for this program, it’s offering a set of 19-inch Nardo Edition wheels paired with Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubbers. No word yet on whether the Bimoto tires that were available in the last program would be so again here.


2016 Audi RS3 R by MTM High Resolution Interior
- image 667507

Somewhat surprisingly, this program does have a little more interior upgrades than the previous one. The orange honeycomb stitchings on the RS6-style sports seats and door panels provide a much-needed infusion of color in the otherwise monotonous cabin. LED car door logos are also present. There should also a boatman and a carpet with MTM’s logo embroidered on it. Finally, some refinements to the dashboard, center console, and armrest are to be expected. The photos don’t show what’s in store for these components, but I’ll take MTM’s word that it’s got some upgrades already lined up.


Here’s where it gets very interesting. The previous MTM program featured three distinct engine upgrades with different increases in power. The most powerful of those modifications was the MTM-motronic upgrade, which increased the power from the RS3’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine from 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque all the way up to 435 ponies and 447 pound-feet of twist. Impressive, right?

The extra power helps the RS3 cover that distance in just 3.6 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the past program

With this new program, MTM took what it did from the last kit and performed some extra tuning work to bring the engine’s power numbers up to 502 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. With this upgrade in place, the hot hatch also improved its performance times, most notable of which is its 0-to-62 mph time. The extra power helps the RS3 cover that distance in just 3.6 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the past program. Its 0-to-124 mph time also improved to 13.1 seconds. Top speed remains at 186 mph, but I hardly think that should be an issue for people who avail this kit. For a hot hatch, 186 mph is serious business.


Customers who want to purchase an MTM-tuned Audi RS3 will have to pay around $103,200 for the opportunity. That presumably comes with the full boat of goodies that the tuner has available for the hot hatch and the cost of the actual RS3. The kit itself is likely to cost more than the previous program from November 2015. That one had a cost of about €17,200, which converts to roughly around $18,300.


Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG by Brabus

2014 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG by Brabus Exterior
- image 547275

So, you want a heavily tuned hot hatchback? If the MTM-tuned Audi RS3 isn’t to your liking, you can opt for something wit a more German flavor, specifically the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Back in 2014, noted Mercedes tuner Brabus presented a program for the A45 AMG that came with the usual batch of aerodynamic enhancements and an equally impressive engine modification.

The latter featured a PowerXtra electronic kit that Brabus itself created. With the tuning module in place, the German tuner was able to coax 400 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque out of the hot hatch. The number isn’t as impressive as MTM’s kit for the RS3, but at the time of its launch, it was still pretty fast for a hatchback. How fast, you ask? It had a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, although top speed remained at 155 mph.

Read our full review here.

Ford Focus RS

2016 Ford Focus RS High Resolution Exterior
- image 620092

This is a little bit of a cheat considering that there are hardly any tuners out there that have already built programs for the new Ford Focus RS. I just want to include the Focus RS for all the reasons already mentioned. It’s poised to become one of Ford’s most popular models, thanks to its combination of aggressive looks, impressive power, and technology-packed features list.

Out of all the things that make the Focus RS one of the most impressive hot hatches in recent years, the tuned 2.3-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is arguably the most important. Not only does it provide 345 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque, it does so nearly effortlessly. Add that to all of its new technological features and you have a hot hatch that’s sure to be a tuning favorite.

Read our full review here.


2016 Audi RS3 R by MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 667512

Tuning firms have become vital in the industry, and you can make a case that the hot hatch segment has been the recipient of some of the best programs from the aftermarket scene. MTM’s new kit for the Audi RS3 is a good example of that. I mean, where else can you find a hatchback that has in excess of 500 horsepower at its disposal? The power that comes out of these cars are becoming bigger and bigger so it’s important for a tuner to really differentiate itself by building a program that’s already approaching supercar levels. I’m not too crazy about the price that MTM is supposedly charging for building and developing the whole thing. But if money is no object, this kit can help the RS3 do some serious damage in any hot hatch race it finds itself in.

  • Leave it
    • Any other color options available?
    • Price could scare most people off
    • Other tuning options available
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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