Audi’s manic hot hatch, the RS3 Sportback, just got a whole lot more mental, with more power, more torque and a lighter, sleeker body.
Due to be launched at next month’s Geneva motor show, Audi is claiming the refreshed RS3 Sportback 0-100km/h sprint time of just 4.2 seconds. That’s remarkable performance from its 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, now boasting 294kW (that’s 400hp in the old language) and 480Nm of torque.
Much of the performance gains come thanks to a lighter – by 26kgs – engine, courtesy in large part, of an aluminium crankcase. Top speed is a limited 250km/h, although Audi has indicated it can, and will, increase v-max to 280km/h on request.
All that power is transmitted to the RS3’s quattro all-wheel drive system via Audi’s proprietary seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission. An electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes torque to where it is needed most. The harder the driving, the more torque is sent to the rear wheels.
Thanks to its dynamic sports tune, the RS3 sits 25mm lower with a 20mm wider track on the road over its A3 donor car. Its flared guards are filled by 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/35 tyres. Stopping power is provided by 310mm disks which can be optioned to carbon-fibre ceramics at front.
Exterior styling has been given the RS treatment, with a black honeycomb grille flanked by large air inlets. LED headlights come as standard with matrix LED available as an option. A roof-edge spoiler at the rear adds a visual cue to the RS3’s sporting credentials while the RS signature oval-shaped tailpipes nestle nicely just above the diffuser insert. RS3 emblems adorn both the grille and the tailgate.
The sporting theme continues inside with black dials and accented by red needles, although Audi’s standout Virtual Cockpit remains an option. Black Nappa leather sport seats are standard and come with the standard smile-inducing embroidered RS emblems. A flat-bottom sports steering wheel is also standard while a rotary dial/push-button controller in the centre stack pilots Audi’s infotainment system.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as does satellite navigation and a Wi-Fi hot spot for internet connectivity. A 705w Bang & Olufsen sound system will keep the music pumping out loud.
Active safety features include traffic jam assist, which keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can briefly take over the steering, as required. New active safety features for the RS3 include AEB and rear cross-traffic alert.
The RS3 Sportback will launch in Europe in August this year. Australian customers won’t have to wait too long to get their hands on the RS3 Sportback either with an Audi Australia representatives confirming to CarAdvice it will hit local dealers in the third-quarter of 2017. However, no local pricing details have been released.
In Europe, the RS3 Sportback will be priced from 54,600 euros (around A$76,000).