Audi RS 3 Sportback Review

Audi RS 3 Sportback
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Audi S3 Review

Audi RS 3 Sportback Review | Part TwoAudi RS 3 Sportback Road Test

Visually the RS 3 is not substantially different from an A3, with the addition of a few subtle enhancements to the design that identify it to those with a discerning eye.

Audi announced in late 2010 its intention to introduce an RS 3 as a sports performance model based on the third generation A3 hatchback, and it was launched on the UK market as a relatively exclusive, low volume model in June 2011. Only 500 examples of the car are being produced in right-hand-drive for UK customers. Made in Gyor, Hungary, the RS 3 Sportback is the most powerful Audi of its size, with a turbocharged 2.5 litre, five-cylinder TFSI engine (the same engine as in an Audi TT RS), a seven-speed S-tronic automatic gearbox with steering column paddles, and quattro four-wheel-drive.

Visually the RS 3 is not substantially different from an A3, with the addition of a few subtle enhancements to the design that identify it to those with a discerning eye. The car has been given new front wings made of lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced polymer, which save 1.8 kg compared with standard steel wings on an A3. The front bumper is deeper with twin air intakes. Larger, 19-inch alloys are fitted, the better to fill the wheel arches for a beefier stance. There are discreet sill extensions, a rear roof spoiler and a black front diffuser.

There is only one body style, the Sportback. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no manual version on offer, in contrast with what you might normally expect in a high performance model. Audi's rationale is that there would be insufficient demand for one because most customers will prefer the S-tronic transmission. The price is £39,930.

Performance

Very few cars, and even fewer compact models, are as rapid as this one is. The acceleration is electrifying, as the very quick 0-62 acceleration time of 4.6 seconds confirms. The RS 3's five-cylinder engine, boosted by a turbocharger that generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure, delivers 335 bhp at between 5,400 and 6,500 revs. Peak torque of 332 lb ft comes in at 1,600 rpm and is sustained right through to 5,300 rpm, an unusually long torque curve that bears witness to the car's sustained exuberance.

The quoted top speed is a maximum of 155 mph, electrically governed to that level. The engine is equipped with an on-demand oil pump and a regenerative braking system to recapture energy that would otherwise be lost when the car decelerates. Considering the exceptionally high level of performance, the combined cycle average fuel economy figure of 31.0 mpg is really not too bad. The CO2 figure of 212 g/km, though, incurs a group K rating for VED, costing £260 for the first year's tax disc, and £580 subsequently. Benefit-In-Kind company car taxation is at a rate of 32 per cent.

The seven-speed double clutch auto gearbox does suit the car very well. There are Drive and Sport settings to vary the gearbox's shift pattern and throttle response, the former for normal driving and the latter for faster, more urgent responses. It lets you choose when to shift ratios, making selections via the well-positioned steering column paddles. Or you can leave the box in Drive to let it take control and choose the change points for you, which is does very efficiently and virtually seamlessly.

It would be hard to imagine a more responsive behaviour from a 2.5 litre petrol engine than this one achieves. It takes off with such verve and enthusiasm that an appreciative grin becomes the inevitable default setting for the driver.

Audi RS 3 Sportback Review | Part TwoAudi RS 3 Sportback Road Test
Audi S3 Road Test Data
Model ReviewedAudi RS 3
  
Body TypeSportback
ColourMisano Red, Pearl Effect
  
Performance (manufacturers data) 
  
0 - 62 mph4.6 Seconds
Top Speed 155 mph (limited)
  
Transmission7 Speed twin-clutch S tronic
  
Fuel TypePetrol
  
CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures) g/km
  
Economy (NEDC Figures) 
  
Urban21.6 mpg
Extra Urban41.5 mpg
Combined31.0 mpg
  
Insurance Group30
Euro NCAP Rating4 Star
Warranty3 Years / 60,000 Miles
Price (when tested on the 15/08/11)£39,930

The information contained within this Audi S3 review may have changed since publication on the 15 August 2011. The actual model road tested may feature options and functionality specific to that model, which may not be available as on option or be fitted to other models in the range. Options may not be available on UK specification cars. You may wish to check with your local Audi dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce this car review in full or part, in any format without our written permission. carpages.co.uk © 2017