Rival to the Mercedes-AMG A45 gets an extra 33bhp over its predecessor and a revised gearbox
31 July 2017

The updated Audi RS3, the mega-hatch with a once-unfathomable 394bhp, is now on sale, priced from £44,300.

First revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, its all-wheel-drive rival is the £41,875 Mercedes-AMGA45 4Matic, while the BMW M140i, which costs from £33,150, is a slightly less potent, rear-wheel-drive alternative.

Following the step taken by the new RS3 Saloon, the new RS3 hatchback has a heavily re-engineered variant of Audi’s turbocharged five-cylinder direct-injection petrol engine, which is claimed to create even sharper acceleration without any detriment to fuel consumption.

Billed as the world’s most powerful series-production five-cylinder engine, the transversely mounted 2.5-litre unit features a series of new developments, including a lighter but stiffer aluminium crankcase (in place of its predecessor’s steel crankcase), a new dual-injection process, Audi’s patented valve lift system and a new freer-flowing exhaust, among other changes.

Power has increased by 33bhp over the previous RS3's engine, while torque is extended by 11lb ft to 354lb ft between 1700 and 5850rpm. This provides Audi's revised hyper-hatch with 59bhp more but 15lb ft less than the turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line-cylinder M140i and 18bhp and 4lb ft more than the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder A45 4Matic.

The increased reserves are channelled through a revised version of Audi’s seven-speed double clutch S-tronic gearbox with new software mapping and an electrohydraulically actuated multi-plate-clutch quattro four-wheel drive system, providing the upgraded RS3 with a claimed 0-62mph time that is 0.2sec less than its predecessor at 4.1sec. As before, top speed is limited to 155mph, though it can be increased to 174mph at the request of the customer.

By comparison, the M140i xDrive and A45 4Matic run 0-62mph in a respective 4.6sec and 4.2sec, while both posses the same nominal limited 155mph top speed.

At 34.0mpg, the new Audi's claimed combined cycle fuel consumption remains the same as before, endowing it with average CO2 emissions of 189g/km.

The reworked RS3 hatchback receives a 20mm wider front track and sits 25mm lower than the standard A3 hatchback. It also receives standard 310mm diameter steel brake discs front and rear, those at the front allied to eight piston calipers. Though as before, customers can specify optional carbon-ceramic front discs. The standard wheel and tyre package, meanwhile, combines 19in cast alloys with 235/35 tyres all-round.

The dynamic properties of RS3 can be altered via a standard Audi Drive Select system, which allows the driver to choose between three different modes: Comfort, Auto and Dynamic. It varies the properties of the steering, gearbox, throttle mapping and exhaust flaps. A firmer RS Sport suspension, featuring adaptive damper control, is available as an option.

The new RS3 is visually distinguished from its predecessor by a redesigned front bumper. In incorporates a reworked six-corner grille featuring a restyled high gloss black honeycomb insert, a larger frame in brushed aluminium look – the lower second of which carries the large lettering of 'quattro', and a larger RS3 badge. There are also larger air ducts and a more prominent splitter element.

Further changes have been made to the headlights, which are altered in shape in line with the rest of the facelifted A3 line-up. They come with LED projectors as standard, with Audi’s matrix LED units offered as an option.

At the rear, the RS3 receives a reworked spoiler atop it tailgate at the rear together with altered tail lamp lenses and a restyled bumper featuring a new diffuser insert and large oval tailpipes.

In line with the rest of the facelifted A3 hatchback line-up, the interior of the 2017 RS3 can be enhanced with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display. It replaces the standard analogue instruments, featuring a model specific RS setting with a central tachometer along with torque, g-force and tyre pressure gauges. When the gearbox is switched to manual mode, the high-resolution display also prompts the driver to upshift with colour indicators.  

Read more: 

History of the Audi RS - picture special

Audi RS model range to double by 2018

Our Verdict

Audi RS3 Sportback

All-paw mega-hatch gets even more power — and a higher price

Join the debate

Comments
25

10 February 2017
All very well and good releasing this, but are they actually going to be able to supply them any time soon? You can't get a TT-RS for love nor money, they're all pre specced and at dealers. All due to engine supply problems.

10 February 2017
i really love this car, one day... one day.
Red Devil

10 February 2017
Those Rotor Alloys... YAWN! They must be a decade old now. Surely they could have updated them?!!!

10 February 2017
Blimey if that's the criticism the RS4 groupies will be most happy. I think there'll be options, but either way I don't think I've ever seen that particular exact wheel before, certainly not decades ago

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 February 2017
1 out, I meant RS3

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 February 2017
Who is really going to explore 400BHP and 0-62 in 4.1 seconds on normal roads. More importantly how many drivers will really have the skill to stay in control of a car with this much power close to the limit. I can understand this race to produce increasingly powerful hatches, as a way for manufacturers to claim the title of most powerful hatch but isn't it getting daft now ? No doubt Audi will keep owners safe by furnishing this with an avalanche of under-steer the moment you try to push it. But does the real world really need a hatch with this much power. I guess the answer is yes, even if it makes little sense..

10 February 2017
xansamaff wrote:

Who is really going to explore 400BHP and 0-62 in 4.1 seconds on normal roads. More importantly how many drivers will really have the skill to stay in control of a car with this much power close to the limit. I can understand this race to produce increasingly powerful hatches, as a way for manufacturers to claim the title of most powerful hatch but isn't it getting daft now ? No doubt Audi will keep owners safe by furnishing this with an avalanche of under-steer the moment you try to push it. But does the real world really need a hatch with this much power. I guess the answer is yes, even if it makes little sense..

For the same reason 2 people (wealthy of course) live in a 6 bedroom mansion, because they can. Simple

Red Devil

10 February 2017
Only six bedrooms? Slumming it.
poon

11 February 2017
... what is it like to drive?

I'm still waiting for a spiritual replacement for the B7 RS4.

Chris

31 July 2017
xansamaff wrote:

Who is really going to explore 400BHP and 0-62 in 4.1 seconds on normal roads. More importantly how many drivers will really have the skill to stay in control of a car with this much power close to the limit. I can understand this race to produce increasingly powerful hatches, as a way for manufacturers to claim the title of most powerful hatch but isn't it getting daft now ? No doubt Audi will keep owners safe by furnishing this with an avalanche of under-steer the moment you try to push it. But does the real world really need a hatch with this much power. I guess the answer is yes, even if it makes little sense..

few if any at all will explore this car's limits and then only in straight line. I had TTRS with 420hp and 600nm, it's useful for very quick overtaking and German autobahn blasts.

No manual - no fun

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