Dealers are now taking orders for the new Audi RS 3, a model which claims the title of the first 400hp car in its class.
The new RS 3 is available in both Sportback five-door hatch form and for the first time as a saloon. It will cost from £44,300 for the hatch and £45,250 for the saloon, with first cars expected on UK roads in September.
Propelling the two models is a new five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine, the most potent ever offered in a series production Audi and with its aluminium construction 26kg lighter than its predecessor. Torque figure is 480Nm, on offer from 1700 to 5850rpm which translates to a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds and an electronically-limited maximum speed of 155mph – this can be extended to 174mph.
The engine is matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, while also standard is the Audi drive select system with its Comfort, Dynamic, Auto and Individual modes. This can be used to adjust the shift points of the transmission, and the proportion of torque directed rearwards, as well as the progressive steering, engine management and adjustable exhaust flaps.
Other changes compared to a standard Audi A3 include a front track extended by 20mm with mildly flared wheel arches, and a 14mm extension at the rear. The car sits on 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with ‘rotor’ or ‘blade’ designs specific to the Sportback and Saloon.
Visually the RS 3 gains a bespoke single frame grille with matt aluminium surround, deep side skirts and a rear roof-edge spoiler with high gloss black inserts on the Sportback, or an integrated bootlid lip version in body colour in the Saloon. Interior highlights include heated, RS-embossed and contrast-stitched front sport seats finished in black Fine Nappa leather and a leather and Alcantara flat-bottomed RS sport steering wheel. Stainless steel pedals, titanium grey ‘optic 3D design’ inlays and extensive use of aluminium trim elements also feature.