Hot 335bhp RS3 is tipped to go on sale in 2012 - see the best spy pictures yet

These are the best spy pictures yet of new the Audi RS3, the firm’s twin-turbo 335bhp mega-hatch that’s tipped to reach showrooms by 2012.

The Audi A3 will be replaced late next year and the RS3 will become the flagship of the range when it launches a year later.

See the new Audi RS3 spy pics

The test mule has been spied before but it has always sported bodywork from the S3. The mule spied here at the Nurburgring is the first time the RS3 mule has been captured with Audi’s RS front bumper. It features larger wheels with lower profile tyres than the S3 and should also benefit from wider tracks and flared arches. The pictures also reveal a retractable rear spoiler, although its mechanism seems far from conventional.

Audi had been tipped to launch an RS3 as a run-out model for the current range at the Frankfurt motor show last year, but it never materlised and Audi will instead wait until the next generation model arrives for an RS model.

Power will come from the twin-turbo 2.5-litre five-pot engine from the TT-RS, producing 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque. The hatch will be all-wheel drive and should be capable of 0-62mph in 4.5sec and a top speed in excess of 160mph.

A new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a torque-vectoring differential are also expected to feature.

The new RS3 will be one of several new variants of the next-generation A3 as Audi aims to broaden the appeal of its premium hatchback, a model that has proven vital to the company’s fortunes since its introduction back in 1996.

The RS3 will rival mega-hatches including the Ford Focus RS500 and the forthcoming BMW 1-series M coupe.

See all the latest Audi A3 reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Audi A3
As it stands, the A3 accounts for every fifth Audi registered worldwide

The Audi A3 is now in its third-generation and the premium hatchback ups the ante on quality once more

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Comments
20

23 June 2010

Sweet. Wonder where it'll come in price-wise - I'm guessing more than the Focus RS, less than the Scooby Cosworth. If they get the steering feel right it should be spectacular.

23 June 2010

"If they get the steering feel right"

If they can't get the R8 steering right, then how?

23 June 2010

I'm puzzled as to why they need a test mule when it's merely a rebodied TT-RS?

23 June 2010

[quote simonali]I'm puzzled as to why they need a test mule when it's merely a rebodied TT-RS?
[/quote]

Well, if it is based on the next A3, it will be a generation ahead of the TTRS. The TT is based on the current A3/Golf platform. The next A3 will presumably be built on the same platform as the Golf 7.

23 June 2010

Since when is the TT RS twin turbo?


23 June 2010

"Audi had been tipped to launch an RS3 as a run-out model for the current range"

It still is. There is no way Audi would already be testing an RS model before they have even launched the base car. RS models are currently launched about halfway through a model cycle or towards the end of its life. BMW are also testing a run out model for the 1-series with about 340bhp. Thats the car Audi will be targeting.

23 June 2010

Most of the other sources (mags, forums etc) seem to think it will be out near the end of this year for £38,000 as a run-out of the current model. Having said that, I saw much speculation that it would be at last years Frankfurt show.

23 June 2010

Looks like an S line.

23 June 2010

[quote Jon Hardcastle]Jon Hardcastle wrote the following post at Jun 23, 2010 1:35 PM:

Looks like an S line.

[/quote]

Thanks Jon, that's exactly what i thought. £38k on an Audi A3? geeeez. where's a used M3? i've had the Audi 3 2.0T S Line. never once thought it lacked power. and even that with a few extras like heated leather seats and metalic paint cost almost £24k. damn i even had tp pay extra for the arm rest.

23 June 2010

The front bumper is quite clearly a finished design current-generation RS front bumper (see TT RS and RS 5), and the flared guards look quite finished, rather than tacked on as you would expect for a 2012 model running a current body. So it looks like they may still roll out a limited run RS 3 for a last hurrah of the current car. Unless they planned to but axed it and are now testing the next-gen A3

An RS 3 has been on the cards ever since Audi developed a brand new 5-cylinder engine for the TT RS. If it fits in a TT, it will fit in an A3, and helps amortise the development costs.

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