The final price for the new 2015 Audi RS3 Sportback quattro hasn't been nailed down yet, but the brand has stated the final figure will be around the $80,000 mark.
“Yes, that’s going to be about right,” said Audi Australia senior product and communications executive Shaun Cleary at the car's international launch in Rome. “We’re expecting the price to come in around $80,000.”
Initial indications earlier this year from the German marque suggested pricing would be "under $100,000", but the reality is the final price will be a fair way below that figure. The RS3 will therefore also come in under the RS Q3 (from $81,900), ensuring the RS3 is the most affordable way into an RS-badged Audi.
Such a figure would also put it close to the 245kW Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, its closest rival, which retails for $75,700 plus on-road costs.
The RS3 is powered by a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 270kW at 5550-6800rpm and 465Nm at 1625-5550rpm. Power is sent via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox to all four wheels with a modified electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch AWD system. The RS3 weighs 1520 kilograms and will race from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds.
The exact specification of Australian RS3 models hasn’t yet been finalised either, but Audi Australia has told us to expect everything that is standard on the S3 to be standard on the RS3, with a raft of extra equipment and options packages available as well.
One of those options packages includes something extremely rare for a road car - wider tyres and rims on the front than the rear. On track at the launch in Rome, we tested RS3s shod with Pirelli P Zero 255/30/R19 tyres up front and 235/35/R19 at the rear. The front rims measure 8.5 inches, while the rears measure 8.0 inches. The standard tyre is a 235/35/R19 front and rear.
Digging through the options packages for other Audi performance models might give a hint as to what RS3 buyers can expect. For instance, the ceramic brake package weighs in at $13,500 for the RS4 in Australia so it’s safe to assume the brake upgrade package would cost a similar amount for the RS3.
Other options will include fixed back race bucket seats to help turn the cockpit of the otherwise daily driver RS3 into a proper track weapon.
“Exactly which equipment will be optional will rely on the equipment that we can package into the car as standard,” Cleary said. “Options packages have been really successful for us so far though, so we’ll look to package options together once we finalise the standard equipment list."
Australian Audi buyers don't mind spending more to get more. Indeed, when it comes to A3 sedan sales, the current S3 flagship model makes up almost 40 per cent. Cleary said that this new RS3 Sportback hatch will likely follow that trend and be the most popular RS model in Australia.
“Given the success of the S3 locally, it would be safe to assume the RS3 will be well received as well,” he said.
“An RS3 sedan hasn’t been confirmed as yet, but there has been interest in that model externally,” Cleary said. “If such a car became available, Audi Australia would be very interested.”