It's priced higher than competition from BMW and Mercedes, but it's also more powerful.

We’ve known for a while that Audi was bringing the RS3 to the United States. While the Sportback remains forbidden fruit to North America, the RS3 Sedan will officially debut next week at the New York International Auto Show in all its turbocharged, five-cylinder glory. A limited number of 2017 models will be produced at a base price of $54,500, but figure on scoring a 2018 model when they hit showrooms later this year with a base price slightly higher at $54,900.

That is a bit more than you’ll pay for a BMW M2 or Mercedes-AMG C43, but you also get more horsepower – specifically 400 ponies and 354 pound-feet of torque from the 2.5-liter I5. Peak twist is available from 1,700 through 5,900 revs, giving the RS3 plenty of low and mid-range meat for its Quattro all-wheel drive system to handle. Drivers can choose between comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual driving modes; each mode gives the driver control over a variety of performance aspects including steering and throttle response, damper control (when equipped with the optional magnetic ride), and shift points for the seven-speed dual clutch automatic.

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan
2018 Audi RS3 Sedan
2018 Audi RS3 Sedan
2018 Audi RS3 Sedan

Audi also says the all-wheel drive system has no preset torque distribution for front and rear axles, but specific programming sends as much power rearward as possible “for increased driving dynamics.” The Motor1 U.K. team had a chance to sample the RS3 last month and found that, with stability control turned off the RS3 would “shimmy and wiggle its tail like a rear-drive sports car.” If that is Audi’s definition of increased driving dynamics, we like it. Audi also says the RS3 will get to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds. We like that, too.

Exterior treatments are kept relatively in check, holding with Audi’s generally conservative approach to even its most muscular of performance machines. Inside you find delicious-looking sport seats along with plenty of red RS stitching, aluminum, and leather. Driver and passenger have a full complement of modern tech at their disposal, including an available virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch display that can show everything from tire pressures to horsepower measurements and a G-meter. Features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are standard.

it's been a long time coming, but now that the RS3 is officially stateside, we can’t wait to have a go behind the wheel. With the Audi-BMW-Mercedes battle finally joined in the compact European sedan segment, we’ll be sure to tell you all about our RS3 adventure as soon as it happens.

Source: Audi

 

 

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