Following the unveiling of Audi’s RS3 sedan at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the Ingolstadt carmaker released its sportback version to be premiered at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, with the same 394-hp 2.5-liter TFSI engine, making it the most powerful compact hatchback to be put into production.
“The Audi RS 3 Sportback offers our customers an attractive introduction to the RS world. 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,” said Audi Sport Chief Executive Officer Stephan Winkelmann.
The engine is 33 hp more than the previous RS3, and has shaved 26 kilograms of weight, thanks to extensive use of aluminium in the engine parts. It will sprint from zero to 60 mph (96 kph) in 4.1 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155 mph (248 kph). Ticking the “Dynamic Package Plus” in the options list and it will remove the electronic speed limiter to reach 174 mph (278 kph), facing fierce competition with rivals from BMW, Ford and Mercedes-AMG.
All the grunt is sent to the four wheels via Audi’s signature quattro four-wheel drive system via a seven speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission. An electro-hydraulic multiplate clutch distributes torque variably, the sportier the drive, more power will be sent to the rear axle. The car has three driver modes to select: Comfort, Auto and Dynamic, which allows the driver to customize the steering, transmission, engine management, exhaust flaps, and RS Sport suspension with adaptive driver control fitted as an option.
The car sits lower by 25 mm than the standard A3 Sportback, fitted with 19-inch wheels with 310-mm steel brake disks. Carbon ceramic brakes at the front are also available as an option.
Front and rear splitters, and large air inlets give the RS3 Sportback a more aggressive look, with a redesigned bumper blade to make it look wider. Other exterior details that distinguish the RS3 are the roof edge spoiler, large twin oval tailpipes, the quattro logo below the Singleframe front grille and the RS3 badges at the front and back.
Nappa leather seats are fitted as standard, while RS Sport seats with head restraints are available as an option, with RS emblems stitched to both options. Another noteworthy feature is the optional Audi Virtual cockpit which replaces the standard instrument dial clusters, and features a special RS screen which shows the G-force, tyre pressure, and other racing gizmos. Audi connect system allows the infotainment system to connect to the internet for navigation purposes and stream music online, with a Wi-Fi hotspot built in that lets users connect their mobile devices to the internet while in the car.
Driver assistance systems are also standard, such as the traffic jam assist, which sets a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can take over the steering duty; emergency assist stops the car if needed, and cross-traffic assist rear looks out for crossing vehicles when pulling out of the parking space.
The car will be available in Europe by August 2017, and with a price tag of 54,600 euros, it is slightly cheaper than its sedan cousin.