A sleek speed bubble pushing 100 horses per corner

Audi launched production of the A3 compact three-door hatchback in 1996 with the introduction of the original Typ 8L A3 for the European market. Using the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon, the first A3 offered an inline four-cylinder engine in both gas and diesel trim. In 1999, Audi introduced the sportier S3 model, which was equipped with a range-topping 222-horsepower turbo four-cylinder. In 2003, the second-gen A3 was released, followed by the second-gen S3 in 2006. Finally, in 2011, the RS 3 Sportback was revealed, rocking a five-cylinder 2.5-liter engine and 335 horsepower. The latest-gen RS 3 arrived in 2015 following the third-gen A3’s release in 2012, and now, Audi is introducing a face-lifted model for the hot-to-trot RS hatchback. The latest RS 3 Sportback arrives on the heels of the RS 3 Sedan, which was revealed just last year at the Paris Motor Show. Now, the hatch heads to Geneva for its official public debut, packing even more power under the hood, updated styling, the latest infotainment gear, lots of luxury, and a decent amount of practicality in the rear.

With the new RS 3 Sportback now in the open, Audi’s sport compact offerings are looking solid, with a full complement of four-doors, coupes, drop-tops, and hatchbacks. However, what really makes the new RS 3 Sportback stand out from the crowd is its powerplant. Making the go in this thing is the most powerful production five-cylinder engine in the world. Granted, high-performance five-cylinders aren’t exactly common, but still, it’s a pretty impressive title all the same.

While stateside customers will be able to enjoy the lovely RS 3 Sedan by this summer, the RS 3 Sportback model is unfortunately not slated for U.S. consumption. And that’s a shame, but it doesn’t mean we can’t ogle it from afar. Read on for all the specifics.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi RS 3 Sportback.

Exterior

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re wondering what exactly Audi is on about with regards to the whole “sportback” body style, it boils down to this – what you get is basically a five-door with an aggressive attitude and compact exterior dimensions. Think of it as a hatchback, but only sexier, like a speedy little teardrop-shaped mover of people and things. The wheel arches are flared, and the cuts are sharp, but the proportions and bodylines are smoothed out and rounded. It’s very much in line with the rest of the RS aesthetic, and a welcome sight to be sure.

Audi gave the RS 3 Sportback a new look for the 2017 model year, and truth be told, it’s a facelift that actually looks, well, like a facelift should, with a few obvious differences placed here and there. Check it out side-by-side with the outgoing model:

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Audi RS3 High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Audi RS3
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2017 Audi RS 3 Sportback pictured on the left, 2016 Audi RS 3 Sportback pictured on the right.

Audi gave the RS 3 Sportback a new look for the 2017 model year, and truth be told, it’s a facelift that actually looks, well, like a facelift should.

To begin, Audi decided to tweak the bumper and lower air dam a bit to give it a few new interesting angles. The silver bumper “blade” now rises towards the center, creating a sharper look compared to the old RS 3 Sportback. There’s also two new little divots added on either side of the grille.

Speaking of the grille, the RS 3 Sportback once again gets the brand’s typical Singleframe unit with a glossy black honeycomb insert. The inserts in the lower side intakes use the same design and look. The grille is still surrounded by silver, but the requisite “quattro” badging is now placed lower and on the surround, rather than on the grille itself. An “RS 3” badge is placed adjacent to the Four Rings in the nose.

Further up, the headlights were redesigned to get a more pointed check mark-shaped housing, as compared to the more rounded design of the outgoing model. The new headlights are equipped with LED lighting elements and C-shaped daytime running lights as standard, while high-tech matrix LEDs are offered on the options list.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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The new headlights are equipped with LED lighting elements and C-shaped daytime running lights as standard.

When viewed from the side, we see the new RS 3 Sportback has more or less the same profile as the outgoing model. The front wheel arches are nicely flared, offering a good deal of visual muscle compared to the narrower A3, while the side skirts start to rise towards the rear wheels, giving the car what appears to be a raked stance.

Enhancing this is a lower character line with an upturned cut towards the rear fenders, as well as a window line that narrows as it approaches the hatch. The windows are framed in silver, while up top are complementary silver roof rails. In the corners, you’ll find five-spoke silver wheels that measure in at 19 inches in diameter and utilize a cast-alloy construction.

In back, you’ll find a prominent duckbill spoiler attached to the top of the hatch, which is divided into three distinct arts thanks to a thinner middle section. The taillights wrap from the fenders into the hatch, while below is a diffuser insert with a silver outline. In the lower corners are twin oval tailpipes adorned in polished metal. An additional “RS 3” badge is placed in the lower left on the trunk.

The Competition

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW M140i
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Mercedes-AMG A 45 pictured on the left, BMW M140i pictured on the right.

The most obvious competitor in this space has to be the A 45 hot hatch from Mercedes-AMG. Merc and Audi are embroiled in a heated battle when it comes luxury performance hatch supremacy, and it starts with the way both combatants look.

From the off, it’s clear the Mercedes is the one to get if you wanna be noticed. The front end gets canards in the bumper corners, plus lots of bisecting lines for the intake inserts. The central intake uses a chromed-out bisecting line, while plus-sized multi-spoke wheels reside in the corners. Out back, there’s a substantial “please-pull-me-over” spoiler attached to the roof lid, plus quad squared-off exhaust pipes set in a large diffuser. LEDs are used for the headlights.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior
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2017 BMW M140i
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If I had to choose between these three on looks alone, I’d go for the Audi. It combines refinement and boisterous attitude in just the right ratios.

The next rival we’ve got lined up comes from the final piece of the Teutonic Three, BMW, in the form of the M140i. Like the Merc and the Audi, the Bimmer also gets a compact five-door hatchback body style (a three-door is also offered), although the look is significantly more understated. Up front is the usual kidney grille outlined in silver, while the profile appears more upright and straight. In back is a large diffuser, in the corners are 18-inch double-spoke M wheels, while options include LED headlights.

If I had to choose between these three on looks alone, I’d go for the Audi. It combines refinement and boisterous attitude in just the right ratios, finding a nice middle ground between the ho-hum BMW and look-at-me Mercedes.

Exterior Dimensions

Mercedes-AMG A 45 BMW M140i Audi RS3 Sportback
Wheelbase (Inches) 106.25 105.90 103.6
Length (Inches) 171.92 170.23 171
Height (Inches) 55.78 55.55 55.6
Width (Inches) 70.07 69.48 70.9

Interior

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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Step inside the RS 3 Sportback, and you’ll find a lovely combination of luxury and sporting intent. The look and layout is classic Audi refinement, with a simplified control scheme and streamlined lines throughout. It’s all very organized in appearance, with a calm, collected attitude that won’t surprise.

The center stack is minimalistic, with two large air vents dividing the HVAC controls and top-mounted infotainment screen, while below are twin cup holders just ahead of the shifter. A small cargo net is placed in the passenger foot well, while soft-touch surfaces are used just about everywhere.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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A driver’s information screen offers vital info like a boost gauge, oil temperature, and lap timer. If desired, you can get yours with Audi’s digital virtual cockpit set-up.

Standard appointment includes gorgeous Nappa leather upholstery covering well-bolstered seats, but if desired, you can opt into even sportier seating plus integrated head rests. Either way, you’ll find the ubiquitous RS logo stitched into the seat backs.

The steering wheel is clad in leather and uses a flat-bottom, three-spoke design with a number of buttons placed at thumb’s length to control various infotainment parameters. Behind the wheel is circular instrumentation and gauges, decked-out with black backings, red needles, and white numbering. There’s also a driver’s information screen that offers vital info like a boost gauge, oil temperature, and lap timer. If desired, you can get yours with Audi’s digital virtual cockpit set-up, which basically replaces the analog gauges with a reprogrammable display.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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The RS 3 Sportback uses a rotary control apparatus with a push-button controller as the main hub for user inputs. There’s also a touchpad as an available option.

Activate certain RS-specific features, and you’ll find the tach moved front and center in the display screen, plus readouts for entertaining bits of info like torque output and g-forces. Put the automatic transmission into manual mode, and the screen changes the background color once again to relay shift points at max rpm to the driver, indicating an upshift using the wheel-mounted paddles or shift knob in the central tunnel.

Speaking of the central tunnel, the RS 3 Sportback uses a rotary control apparatus with a push-button controller as the main hub for user inputs. There’s also a touchpad as an available option, which is also mounted in the central tunnel to offer features like scroll, zoom, and text input. Free text search and auto completion while inputting letters is part of this, and there’s voice control as well.

And of course, there’s a nice suite of safety and convenience features equipped as well.

Additional features include the Audi phone box, which mates wireless charging and boosted cell service, as well as a Bang & Olufsen sound system pumping out 705 watts of power.

Audi Connect infotainment handles the rest of the infotainment duties, and uses an LTE web connection for extra services and features. That means navigation using Google Earth and Google Street View, plus up-to-date listings for fuel prices, weather forecasts, travel info, and traffic info. The MMI connect app is used to transfer your phone’s calendar to the MMI system, your intended destination to the nav system, or to stream music. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer additional app support, whether its making phone calls or accessing entertainment. Finally, the onboard Wi-Fi is extended to the devices of other passengers as well.

And of course, there’s a nice suite of safety and convenience features equipped, with driver’s aides like traffic jam assist plus steering assist, which will work at speeds up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph). Emergency braking, and cross traffic assist in the rear round it out.

The Competition

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Interior
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2017 BMW M140i
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Mercedes-AMG A 45 pictured on the left, BMW M140i pictured on the right.

Much like its exterior design, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 offers a technical, boy-racer-esque design for the interior as well. The control scheme isn’t necessarily more complicated than that of the Audi, but thanks to copious use of composite-look trim, red contrast stitching and trim accents, and silver surrounds, the Mercedes looks a whole lot more “technical.” Standout features include Comand Online, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Traffic Sign Assist, and Attention Assist.

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Interior
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2017 BMW M140i
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Mercedes-AMG A 45 pictured on the left, BMW M140i pictured on the right.

To my eye, the best interior of the three is the Mercedes. Sure it’s a little over the top (okay, maybe a lot over the top), but I like that in a cabin space. It gives the car a very special feeling when you sit down at the wheel.

By contrast, the BMW M140i is a little more downplayed in the looks department, but the layout seems a kinda heavy on the hard buttons, especially on the center stack. Like the other two options, the Bimmer uses an infotainment screen mounted high on the dash. However, the trim and materials are still top notch, and standout features include a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, dual-zone climate control, and a variety of M-badged bits and pieces.

To my eye, the best interior of the three is the Mercedes. Sure it’s a little over the top (okay, maybe a lot over the top), but I like that in a cabin space. It gives the car a very special feeling when you sit down at the wheel, and although the Audi and Bimmer are both nice, I can’t help but want the extraverted Mercedes and all its faux carbon.

Drivetrain

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Let’s get right down to it. Mounted in the nose of the Audi is, as previously stated, the most powerful production five-cylinder engine in the world. Newly developed for the 2017 RS 3, the updated 2.5 TFSI lump replaces the old 2.5-liter for the illustrious title of most powerful. The old engine produced 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, which is a sizable amount. The new engine, however, pumps out a cool 400 horses, 33 more than the outgoing engine. Torque is also increased, with 11 extra pound-feet for 354 pound-feet total. All that twist is made at an astonishingly low 1,700 rpm, and stays twisting until 5,850 rpm, making for an impressive torque curve that should give the RS 3 Sportback some very nice shove almost anywhere on the tach.

Not only is the new 2.5-liter TFSI five-cylinder more powerful, it’s also lighter than before thanks to its aluminum crankcase. Further engine features include dual fuel injection for the intake manifold, plus an exhaust system with an integrated valvelift system for more power when you want it and more efficiency when you don’t.

The new engine pumps out a cool 400 horses, 33 more than the outgoing engine. Torque is also increased, with 11 extra pound-feet for 354 pound-feet total.

But more important than variable valve timing is the distinctive five-cylinder exhaust note you get when you really uncork this thing. Here’s a brief YouTube video to give you a flavor for it.


We think it sounds great, and definitely stands out compared to a tinny four-cylinder or flatter V-6. Audi says you get that cool noise thanks to cylinders that alternate their firing sequence between adjacent cylinders and spaced cylinders. If you really wanna stick your head in it, the RS 3 Sportback gets adjustable exhaust flaps that give you an earful when you want it.

So it makes a lot of power and it sounds really cool. How about that speed, then?

Don’t worry, because this thing lives up to all those associated RS performance cues. For example, the 0-to-62 mph sprint is completed in a blisteringly quick 4.1 seconds, matching the sedan iteration. The top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph, but if you ask nicely, Audi will raise the limiter to 174 mph. Not that you’ll ever use it if you’re not using the autobahn for your daily commute, but it’s nice to know you’ve got it.

If you really wanna stick your head in the sound, the RS 3 Sportback gets adjustable exhaust flaps that give you an earful when you want it.

As far as practicality is concerned, the five-cylinder will drink just 8.3 liters of fuel for every 100 km it crosses, which computes out to 28.3 mpg in the U.S. standard. Meanwhile, emissions are rated at 189 grams of CO2 per km, or about 302 grams per mile.

The drivetrain consists of a standard quattro AWD system (of course), which is fed by an S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This transmission allows drivers to shift manually, if so inclined, using either the steering wheel-mounted paddles or the central tunnel shift lever.

Splitting the torque output between the front and rear axle is an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch. Audi says the harder you drive the car, the greater the ratio of torque sent to the rear axle via something called quattro management, which comes as a standard feature.

The 0-to-62 mph sprint is completed in a blisteringly quick 4.1 seconds, while the top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph. Ask nicely, and Audi will raise the limiter to 174 mph.

Finally, there are multiple drive modes selectable via the Audi drive select system. Drivers can select either “comfort,” “auto,” or “dynamic” for the drive modes, which will affect the steering, gearbox, engine response, and exhaust flaps. Also, if you get the optional RS sport suspension package, the adaptive dampers will change as well.

Engine 2.5-liter five-cylinder
Horsepower 400 HP
Torque 354 LB-FT @ 1,700-5,850 RPM
0 to 62 mph (100km/h) 4.1 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph (174 mph with dynamic package)
Weight 3,459 Lbs

The Competition

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Drivetrain
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2017 BMW M140i
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Mercedes-AMG A 45 pictured on the left, BMW M140i pictured on the right.

While the Mercedes-AMG A 45 might be down by a cylinder and have lower displacement, coming equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, it’s still monumentally powerful. Output is rated at 381 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque between 2,250 and 5,000 rpm, all of which is sent to the ground through an AMG seven-speed dual-clutch sport transmission and standard AWD system. Properly motivated, this Mercedes is capable of hitting 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, while top speed is rated at 250 km/hour (155 mph).

While each of these cars is quick, I have to go with the Audi when it comes to the powerplant. I can’t get the sound of the five-cylinder TFSI out of my head.

Meanwhile, the BMW M140i is outfitted with an aluminum 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, which is turbocharged to 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Transmission options include either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. You can get it with RWD as standard, or add AWD as an available option, but the quickest combo is the auto box and AWD, which together manage a 4.4-second 0-to-62 mph time. Top speed is once again limited at 155 mph.

While each of these cars is quick, I have to go with the Audi when it comes to the powerplant. Yes it’s the most powerful, and although I can dig the shriek of a high-strung four-banger and the siren call of a thumping six-cylinder, I can’t get the sound of the five-cylinder TFSI out of my head.

Mercedes-AMG A 45 BMW M140i
Engine turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder
Horsepower 381 HP @ 6,000 RPM 335 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 350 LB-FT @ 2,250-5,000 RPM 369 LB-FT @ 1,520-4,500 RPM
Transmission AMG seven-speed dual-clutch sport 6-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 4.2 seconds 4.4 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph
Weight 3,428 Lbs 3,196 Lbs

Chassis And Handling

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While having the most-powerful production five-cylinder on the road is great and all, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t get that power down in a meaningful way. As such, the new RS 3 Sportback gets all the usual Audi upgrades to the handling. For example, the ride height was lowered by a full inch compared to the more pedestrian A3. It’s also wider, with an extra 0.8 inches added to the front axle. The wheels are 19 inches in diameter and come wrapped in 235/35R19 tires, while there’s a four-link suspension mounted in the rear.

Updates for the 2017 model year include a lighter engine, which uses more aluminum to shed 26 kg (57.3 pounds). That’s an ample amount mass, especially considering its location in the chassis.

Updates for the 2017 model year include a lighter engine, which uses more aluminum to shed 26 kg (57.3 pounds). That’s an ample amount mass, especially considering its location in the chassis.

Anyone serious about their car’s performance should look into the optional RS sport suspension system, which comes with adaptive dampers. Meanwhile, the steering offers progressive feedback, while the Electronic Stabilization Control and wheel-selective torque feature utilize a specially tuned sport mode made specifically for the RS.

Throwing the anchor are disc brakes measuring in at 310 mm (12.2 inches) at both ends. And if you think you’ll visit the road course on a somewhat frequent basis, Audi is also offering carbon ceramic discs for the front axle.

The Competition

2015 Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2017 BMW M140i
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Mercedes-AMG A 45 pictured on the left, BMW M140i pictured on the right.

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 is very much a nippy little apex-hunter in its own right. It too offers a slew of driving modes selectable from the cabin, including two levels of “Sport” to make it perform like a hot hatch should. To go full bore, opt into the AMG Dynamic Plus package, which includes upgrades like a new locking differential for the front axle to reduce understeer, plus AMG Ride Control suspension with automatic damping. The pack also throws in a “Race” mode with obvious applications.

However, out of the three, I’d wager the BMW M140i is the one to get for handling chops.

However, out of the three, I’d wager the BMW M140i is the one to get for handling chops. Standard spec includes BMW’s M performance suspension system, which lowers the body about 10 mm (0.39 inches) over the lightweight 18-inch M-branded wheels. The brakes are also M-branded, while the sporty steering gets a variable ratio. Match all that Ultimate Driving Machine goodness with a standard RWD demeanor, and you have yourself a nice little package.

Not that AWD is all that bad – in fact, on the street, it’s really what you want for an extra layer of safety and grip. But if it’s smiles you’re after, sending torque exclusively to the rear is what you want to do.

Prices

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The 2017 Audi RS 3 Sportback will debut in the metal at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show this coming March. Audi will open up the order books for European customers this April, and has announced an official market launch in August.

Pricing starts at 54,600 euros ($57,824 at current exchange rates, 02/15/2017) for the Sportback body style, which is a little less than the sedan model, which starts at 55,900 euros ($59,201 at current exchange rates, 02/15/2017).

The Competition

If you live in Europe, you can get the Mercedes-AMG A 45 for 49,683 euros ($52,595 at current exchange rates, 02/15/2017), while the BMW M140i starts at $64,900 in Australia, which converts to $49,974 at current exchange rates (02/15/2017).

Other Options

Hyundai i30 N

2018 Hyundai i30 N Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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While not yet confirmed, we think it’s quite likely Hyundai is building a hotter variant of the i30 hatchback. Filed under the brand’s high-performance “N” division, this more exciting five-door will get all the usual trimmings, like a turbocharged four-cylinder making around 350 horsepower, a dual-clutch transmission, and AWD. The comfort and interior luxury won’t be on par with the German equivalents, but the price will be much more affordable to reflect that.

Read the full review here.

Ford Focus RS

2016 Ford Focus RS High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Ford Focus RS High Resolution Exterior
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Speaking of fast but affordable, the Focus RS is pretty much the standard when it comes to uber-hatch performance these days. Making the go is a turbo 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to propel this Blue Oval from a standstill to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds. Its advanced AWD grip and torque vectoring system help it handle, while a button labeled drift mode does the obvious. Inside is tons of cheap plastic, but that won’t really matter when you’re going full opposite lock while reenacting a Gymkhana video, will it?

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

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I really like Audi’s RS line, especially the wagons and hatchbacks. It’s a very nice balance between speed, comfort, and practicality, and the RS 3 Sportback does all that and a whole lot more. Audi frames it like this –

“The Audi RS 3 Sportback offers our customers an attractive introduction to the RS world,” says Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. “Since 2011 the sporty compact model has proved itself extremely successful on the market. And with the new five-cylinder engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback is at the head of its class and continuing that strong track record.”

Highlights include great styling, lots of cabin amenities, and a potent powerplant that makes quite the impression, whether you’re inside the car or outside it. However, that said, it is a little pricey. While there are lots of nice standard features thrown in for the money, there are other options on the table, especially if you’re willing to sacrifice a little extra gloss inside.

That said, if you’ve got the means, this thing is sure to please.

  • Leave it
    • Kinda expensive
    • Other options on the table
    • Mercedes is sure to fire back with something even more potent very soon

Press Release

The new Audi RS 3 Sportback* completes the Ingolstadt premium automaker’s sporty vanguard in the compact segment. Following the world premiere of the RS 3 Sedan* at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the RS 3 Sportback now stands poised to make its entry at the Geneva International Motor Show. With the most powerful production five-cylinder in the world, outstanding dynamism and an even sharper look, the car offers an emotional driving experience.

“The Audi RS 3 Sportback offers our customers an attractive introduction to the RS world,” said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. “Since 2011 the sporty compact model has proved itself extremely successful on the market. And with the new five-cylinder engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback is at the head of its class and continuing that strong track record.”

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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From 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds
Behind the impressive performance of the Audi RS 3 Sportback is the world’s most powerful production five-cylinder engine – the 2.5 TFSI. It delivers 294 kW (400 hp) of output – 33 hp more than the predecessor engine – and is 26 kilograms (57.3 lb) lighter thanks to its aluminum crankcase, among other features. Its maximum torque of 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft) is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. That’s how the RS 3 Sportback is able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.1 seconds. The effect of this extraordinary tractive power is intensified by the five-cylinder’s unmistakable sound, which comes from having the ignition alternate between directly adjacent cylinders and widely spaced ones. On request, Audi will increase the electronically limited top speed from 250 km/h (155.3 mph) to 280 km/h (174.0 mph).

For better mixture preparation, the new 2.5 TFSI engine employs dual injection into the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers. On the exhaust side, the Audi valvelift system controls the duration of valve opening depending on the throttle and engine speed – for moderate fuel consumption at low and partial load as well as more spontaneous throttle response and a high level of tractive power at full load. In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the RS 3 Sportback uses 8.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (28.3 US mpg), which equates to 189 grams of CO2 per kilometer (304.2 g/mi).

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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quattro drive with variable distribution of power
The S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive transfers the power of the five cylinders to the road. And the electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The sportier the driving, the faster and more often a large share of the torque reaches the rear axle. quattro management is integrated as a standard feature in the dynamic handling system Audi drive select, as are the steering,

S tronic, the engine management, the adjustable exhaust flaps, and the optional RS sport suspension with adaptive damper control. The driver can individually vary the operation of these components between three modes – comfort, auto and dynamic. Handling is perfected using the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) with wheel-selective torque control and the sport mode specially tuned for the RS.

Wider track and sporty suspension setup
Together with progressive steering, the four-link rear axle, and the tight suspension setup lowered by 25 millimeters (1.0 in) relative to the A3, the RS 3 Sportback combines fascinating dynamism with superior stability. Compared to that production model, the track at the front axle of the RS 3 Sportback is wider by 20 millimeters (0.8 in) – and the wheel arches are accordingly flared wider. As standard, Audi includes 19-inch cast wheels and 235/35 tires, and brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimeters (12.2 in). Alternatively, customers will be able to choose carbon-fiber ceramic disks in front. At the rear axle, brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimeters (12.2 in) are used.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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Distinctive RS design
On the exterior, the RS 3 Sportback shows off its power in the form of a striking Singleframe with a gloss black honeycomb grille, large air inlets and angular sill trims. The redesigned blade in the bumper gives the front end an even wider look. At its ends it forms narrow, upright funnels. LED headlights with their distinctive lighting signature are standard, and Audi offers matrix LED headlights as an option. In the rear a stylish RS roof edge spoiler, a diffuser insert and the RS exhaust system’s large oval tailpipes are sure to turn heads everywhere. A quattro logo at the bottom of the Singleframe is a finishing touch to the dynamic appearance, as are the RS 3 emblem on the honeycomb grille and on the tailgate.

Lap timer, boost pressure indicator and special RS screen
The two circular instrument dials are black with red needles and white scales. The centrally positioned driver information system includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and a lap timer. The fully digital Audi virtual cockpit displays the infotainment system data and is available as an option. A special RS screen shifts the tachometer to the center, displaying on either side the readings for torque, g‑forces and tire pressure. When the transmission is operating in manual mode, a scale with a color background prompts the driver to use the steering wheel paddle or selector lever to upshift when approaching maximum rpm.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Interior
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Sporty interior and outstanding comfort
The RS 3 Sportback is equipped with sport seats in black fine Nappa leather as standard. RS sport seats with more contoured profiles and integrated head restraints for the driver and front passenger are available as options. RS emblems are emblazoned on the seatbacks of both seating variants. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flat-bottomed and features buttons for operating the infotainment system. The main control element is the rotary/push-button control on the console of the center tunnel. A touchpad can be integrated in its surface as an option, enabling the driver to scroll, zoom and enter text. Also included is a free text search feature that automatically completes the user’s input after just a few letters have been entered. The voice control can process user questions and commands formulated in everyday language.

Online with Audi connect
When it comes to infotainment, the RS 3 Sportback is extremely versatile. An LTE module brings the Audi connect services on board, including navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, as well as information on fuel prices, weather, travel and traffic. The Audi MMI connect app lets users transfer their smartphone calendars into the MMI system. Drivers can also send destinations from Google Maps and special destinations to the navigation system, and also stream music from the internet. Apple Car Play and Android Auto can be used to immediately bring selected apps to the onboard screen, for telephone, navigation and music needs. In addition, the navigation system includes a Wi-Fi hotspot that enables passengers to connect their mobile devices to the internet.

Other highlights include the Audi phone box, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 705 watts of power, and many driver assistance systems. In slow-moving traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), for example, the traffic jam assist keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can briefly take over the steering. Also new in the Audi RS 3 Sportback are the emergency assist, which automatically stops the car if required, and cross traffic assist rear. The latter system looks out for crossing vehicles when the driver is pulling out of a parking space.

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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Market launch and prices
Orders for the RS 3 Sportback and the RS 3 Sedan will be accepted in Europe from April 2017 under the “Audi Sport” label; the market launch will follow in August 2017. The base price for the Audi RS 3 Sportback is 54,600 euros, and the Audi RS 3 Sedan is listed at 55,900 euros.

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