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15 Nov 2017

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Can't afford one

The Audi RS3 has a new heart and comes in a new body, but the foremost formula remains, meaning it's crazy fast but easy to drive, making it the perfect everyday sports car.


When I last drove the outgoing Audi RS3 Sportback a year ago, I was sure that it was the best everyday sports car money could buy, which combines mind-blowing supercar-like performance in a strangely comfortable and practical package.

As such, it's quite hard to imagine how Audi Sport could top what it's already done, but the Neckarsulm-based private subsidiary of Audi have done so again for 2017.

This time around, the Audi RS3 lineup doesn't just have a lighter, more powerful engine, but is also sold for the first time in the form of a compact sedan.

For the first time, the updated Audi RS3 is available in the form of a compact sedan

New heart, same old golden soul

Powering the RS3 Sedan is Audi's new 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. We say new because the marque's multi award-smashing lump now features an aluminium crankcase and dual injection - the first change enabling a notable weight reduction of 26kg up front, increasing agility compared to the outgoing RS3 Sportback.

Power is also bumped up, which should come as no surprise. The RS3 now has 394 crazy German horses and 480 tarmac tearing torques to send you from dead stop to a hundred in just 4.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than before. But what's truly remarkable is how that ostensibly infinite amount of power is delivered hard and fast from just 1,700rpm, strongly through to over 5,800rpm.

There is never a moment the fun-sized 1,510kg sedan is out of breath or reluctant to hustle, and when you mash the gas pedal, the car emits a dramatic soundtrack that I've come to nickname as 'Baby Lambo', when set in Dynamic.

The multi award-winning turbocharged five-cylinder engine is a true gem, which outputs 394bhp and 480Nm of torque

The RS3's trump card, however, is how it's also a leisurely cruiser when you turn things down a couple of notches. Driven thus, it's almost as laid-back as an A3, even though the car's standard suspension is firmer.

But get back on the gas and the car turns once again into an angry varmint, reminding you that it's the first compact notchback from Audi bearing an RS badge, capable of shaming older supercars in a drag race.

Don't for a second, though, think of the RS3 Sedan as a muscle car that's only capable of slingshot, straight-line performance because if there's anything it does more outstandingly than launch control sprints, it's how it's also an eager and sharp corner-carver. Even on the tight twisty roads somewhere along Buona Vista, it's easy to chuck the RS3 Sedan around in absolute confidence.
Thanks to a lighter nose, dead-sharp steering, wide track and great power delivery, The RS3 Sedan is unbelievably easy to drive, balanced around corners and incredibly forgiving, even when you misjudge and overstep your boundaries. It charges like a highly trained special force mercenary in any direction you so wish - no drama, no sweat. Confidence is also backed by large RS brakes, which bite hard and are very nicely modulated.

Style and substance

While the RS3 Sedan can be almost as comfortable and docile as an A3, it's definitely no A3 on the inside. RS badges adorn bits of the cabin such as the gear knob while the car's sportier front seats hug you in place more comfortably. Fit and finish of the leather, Alcantara and carbon fibre inlays throughout are of sublime quality.

RS insignia adorns the car's well-equipped, minimalist and high-quality cabin

The car also has a custom Virtual Cockpit system, which displays information you'd want in an RS model such as a g-force meter, torque and power meters, and a lap timer. In terms of practicality, the RS3 Sedan has 350 litres of cargo capacity and is able to seat two large Asians fairly comfortably behind.

Audi Sport has got it in the bag

Whether you're just staring at its muscular surfaces, in the driver's seat, going on nearby grocery runs or pushing the car on razor's edge, the $306,300 (as of 14 November 2017) RS3 Sedan is seriously splendid in every sense.

The RS3 Sedan can be tweaked to be almost as gentle as an A3 or as aggressive and dynamic as wolverine

Its ability to double up as a high-performance sports car and everyday runabout at the switch of the driving modes, turning from something as contained as a regular hauler to a devilish tarmac destroyer makes it a highly accomplished performance sedan that one can certainly drive every day.

Once again, the guys from Audi Sport have got it in the bag.
Car Information
This model is no longer being sold by local distributors
Audi RS 3 Sedan 2.5 TFSI qu S tronic (A)
Rate it

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

5-cylinder Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2480cc

Horsepower

:

294kW (394 bhp) / 7000 rpm

Torque

:

480 Nm / 5850 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) S tronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.1sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12km/L

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audi  audi rs3  audi rs3 sedan  audi sport  tfsi  quattro  s-tronic  stronic