Fast Audis rarely get as quick as one with an RS badge. So it’s no surprise the new all-wheel drive Audi RS 3 Sportback is an even faster flagship version of the A3 hatchback and one that will be available to order from March 2015.
The 2015 Audi RS3 is blessed with the most powerful production five-cylinder engine in Audi RS history. A 2.5-litre TFSI outputs 362bhp (367PS) and 342lb/ft (465Nm) of torque, which is enough to help propel the car from 0 to 62mph in 4.3 seconds ─ 0.3 seconds faster than the previous model.
Not only is there plenty of power on tap, the RS 3 Sportback has full torque from 1,625rpm and somehow 55kg has been saved compared with its predecessor. That means a kerb weight of 1,520kg without the driver and a power to weight ratio of 237bhp per ton. Top speed is 155mph unless you request an increase to 174mph.
Somehow Audi has managed to eke out 34.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 189g/km, making the five-door RS 3 Sportback fairly inexpensive to run – if you can avoid spirited driving. This is in part thanks to the reworked seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission that is able to change through the gears faster.
Besides sitting 25mm lower than the standard A3 Sportback, Audi has given the RS 3 Sportback 370mm ventilated discs at the front and 310mm at the back, both of which are coupled with eight-piston calipers. Optional carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs on the front are available for increased braking power.
Various tweaks indicate the RS pedigree, including high gloss black honeycomb grille, larger air intake, large side intakes, oval tailpipes, remodelled rear bumper, two new paintjobs (Nardo grey and Catalunya red) and some RS badge action.
A choice of 19-inch matt titanium or high-gloss black alloy wheels can be specified if the standard 19-inch five-arm design isn’t to your tastes.
Inside the RS 3 Sportback are newly developed RS bucket seats with integrated side airbags. The seats use a carbon seat shell, making them 7kg lighter than the standard sport seats.
The use of red on the seats, knee pads, floor vents, floor mats and seat belts, meanwhile, add a touch of colour if you spec the RS 3 interior design package.