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.
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.
Gallery: 2018 Audi RS3 Sedan
AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE US, THE 2018 RS 3 SEDAN MAKES ITS NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT IN NEW YORK
- The RS 3 features an all-new generation of the Audi five-cylinder engine that produces 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque
- With a seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch transmission and a reinforced quattro® system, the RS 3 achieves a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds
- Specifically developed for the US market, the RS 3 offers a strong entry point into the RS lineup
NEW YORK, NY, April 6, 2017 – Available for the first time in the U.S., the 2018 Audi RS 3 will make its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show.
As the first compact Audi sedan to wear the RS badge, the RS 3 delivers unrivaled performance in its segment, coupled with a high level of everyday functionality. Specifically developed for the US market, the RS 3 is equipped with the storied Audi five-cylinder engine which produces its unique sound and features RS-specific interior and exterior design details, offering customers an attractive entry point into the Audi Sport lineup.
Powertrain and Performance
The RS 3 features the all-new 2.5L TFSI® engine paired with a seven-speed S tronic® dual clutch transmission. Producing 400 hp, the five-cylinder engine has a total displacement of 2.5 liters which equates to 160 hp per liter. The maximum torque of 354 lb-ft is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. As a result, the RS 3 can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top track speed of 155 mph, or increased to 174 mph with the optional Dynamic plus package.
The standard seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission focuses on high levels of performance and acceleration. With the dual-clutch, the RS 3 also now offers a launch control program that allows faster acceleration through precise engine speed and an automated clutch release.
In addition to its power output, Audi’s five-cylinder engine is known for its firing order and sound. The 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence produces a special rhythm and a distinct engine note that can be controlled by opening the flaps of the standard RS exhaust system. Additionally, a new dual-injection fuel system combines the benefits of indirect and direct injection and uses an intelligent engine management control unit to help optimize fuel injection and distribution based on engine load.
Chassis and Suspension
The RS 3 is standard equipped with quattro® all-wheel drive with an electrohydraulic multi-plate clutch, positioned at the end of the prop shaft for ideal axle load distribution. This quattro system has no pre-set torque distribution but has specific RS programming that sends as much power to the rear as possible for increased driving dynamics.
The quattro all-wheel drive is also fully integrated within the Audi drive select system offering four distinct drive modes: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each mode allows the driver to change gear shift points, steering, throttle response, and damper control (when equipped with Audi magnetic ride). Handling is also improved by RS-specific programming for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) unit with wheel-selective torque control and an available sport mode. The standard progressive steering, tuned for the RS, provides sporty handling and precise road feedback while driving.
Two brake systems are available on the new Audi RS 3, both offering outstanding stopping performance. Standard on the RS 3 are ventilated front and rear disc brakes with eight-piston monobloc brake calipers painted black with the RS logo. Also available are front carbon ceramic discs, (as part of the Dynamic plus package) which save more than 8 pounds compared to the traditional cast-iron rotors and offer increased resistance to brake fade. The calipers on the carbon ceramic discs are finished in an Anthracite Gray with the RS logo.
Exterior and Interior Design
The RS 3 has more aggressive and sport focused design elements than its A3 family counterparts. From the front, the RS 3 wears the signature Audi Singleframe® grille with three-dimensional honeycomb design and quattro® script. An aluminum-matte front blade extends across the width of the vehicle and connects to the large front air intakes, and wider front wheel arches provide design cues to the vehicle’s quattro® DNA. At the rear, sportier design elements include a body-colored rear spoiler lip, twin oval “RS” exhaust pipes and a rear diffuser in aluminum-matte finish with vertical struts.
The interior design includes greater attention to detail with driver-oriented, easy-to-operate controls and functions. Intended to support the driver from track to street, the S sport seats feature sharply contoured side bolsters while the standard acoustic windshield helps to reduce interior cabin noise.
Additional design highlights include:
- 19-inch five-arm design silver wheels with summer performance tires, or available titanium matte or gloss black finish wheels with a staggered fitment
- Standard full LED headlights with daytime running lights and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals
- Matte Alu-optic exterior styling package including matte Alu-optic exterior mirror housings, front blade, rear diffusor and Singleframe® grille surround
- Standard three-spoke, multifunction, flat-bottom sport steering wheel with shift paddles and RS badging
- Standard Aluminum race inlays or available carbon fiber decorative inlays
- Illuminated door inlays with RS 3 emblem
- Standard RS-embossed S sport front seats in fine Nappa leather with contrast diamond stitching and four-way power lumbar adjustment
Infotainment and Driver Assistance
The all-new RS 3, while offering outstanding performance, also integrates benchmark technologies from the A3 model line including the available Audi virtual cockpit, MMI® touch® with handwriting-recognition technology and standard Audi smartphone interface, which provides Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto integration for compatible mobile devices.
Additional infotainment features include:
- Available Audi virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch display that delivers vibrant color at 60 frames per second with NVIDIA® quad core processing power. Specific to the RS 3 is a screen that displays information on tire pressure (when equipped with the Dynamic plus package), horsepower/torque and a G-meter. When in manual shift mode and when approaching the engine redline, the tachometer acts as a shift light and changes colors, prompting the driver to upshift via the steering wheel paddle or gear selector lever.
- Optional MMI® navigation plus with MMI touch features a completely redesigned menu structure and an MMI search, which operates similar to an Internet search engine making text input simpler and quicker.
- Standard Audi smartphone interface for compatible devices provides Apple CarPlay™ and Google™ Android Auto integration via USB connection, making smartphone interactions easier and more seamless for the driver.
- Available Bang & Olufsen® Sound System featuring 14 speakers capable of producing 705 watts of pure, crisp sound.
- Available Audi connect® features (supported by 4G LTE where available) include online traffic info, weather updates, fuel prices, Apple Siri® Eyes Free integration for compatible devices, internet radio streaming as well as picture navigation, read-aloud personalized news headlines and Twitter® alerts, among other features.
- In the case of an impending collision, standard Audi pre sense® basic can prepare the vehicle for impact. This process includes beginning to close the side windows and panoramic sunroof, and pretensioning the front safety belts.
- Standard Audi side assist (for model year 2018) provides blind spot monitoring via LED indicators on the exterior mirror housings at speeds above 9 mph (available on 2017 models as part of the Technology package).
A limited number of 2017 RS 3 models will be produced. These will be the first vehicles arriving in the US and will be preconfigured with carbon fiber inlays, Audi virtual cockpit with MMI® Navigation plus, Bang & Olufsen Sound System, 19-inch, five-arm-blade design wheels with titanium finish, red brake calipers and the RS sport exhaust system with black tips.
The all-new 2018 RS 3 joins the Audi Sport model line launching this summer.
Model year 2017 and 2018 RS 3 model line starting manufacturer suggested retail prices:
2017 RS 3
2018 RS 3
*Prices above exclude destination charge ($950 for MY17 and $975 for MY18), taxes, title, options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.