This car is capable of keeping up with the BMW M3 and M4 in a 0 to 100 km/h sprint, and its five-cylinder engine makes more power than the inarguable might of the A45 AMG and it’s four-door sibling. Behold, the all-new 2015 Audi RS3 Sportback, the Ingolstadt-based carmaker’s answer to an all-encompassing, AMG beating hot hatch.
|Name||Audi RS3 Sportback
|Engine||2,480cc; inline 5-cylinder turbocharged|
|Max Power||367 hp|
|Max Torque||465 Nm from 1,625 – 5,500 rpm|
|0 – 100 km/h; Top Speed||4.3 seconds; 250 km/h (280 km/h upon request)|
|Drive Type||Quattro permanent all-wheel drive|
The five-door Sportback sits atop Volkswagen’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform that is made mostly out of ultra high-strength steel and is lightweight, allowing the car to weigh in at 1,520kg – about 55kg lesser than its predecessor. Its front and rear tracks have been widened, and the car is lowered by 25mm as a result of the RS Sports suspension.
Differentiating an RS3 from the regular A3 or S3 even, is fairly simple. The RS3 Sportback gets flared arches, fatter stance, reworked bumpers with larger air intakes, larger wheels and twin exhaust pipes are clear giveaways of the model’s highest performing variant.
Let’s start from the front. The ‘Singleframe’ grille on the RS3 is blacked out (chrome on the A3), encased in an aluminium frame. The larger air inlets of the bumper functions by feeding air into the radiator and transmission oil cooler. The headlights are, well, exactly the same as any of the A3 models. Its side mirrors are given a matte-aluminium finish, a typical trait shared among all high performing Audis.
Over the back, the hatch gets RS-specific bumpers with integrated diffusers finished in matte aluminium, complemented by large twin oval exhaust pipes and a roof spoiler. Additional features include a carbon-fibre engine cover, matte aluminium and gloss black styling packages. The RS3 Sportback sits on 19-inch cast aluminium wheels wrapped with 235/35R19 profile tyres. Front carbon-fibre ceramic brakes are optional, and a first in the segment.
The cabin of this beastly hatch has been given a proper touch of black with RS badges to remind you that it’s no ordinary A3. Seats are wrapped with Fine Nappa leather and stitched with contrasting rock gray threads. The layout here is similar to the A3, albeit with a flat bottomed steering wheel wrapped with leather and Alcantara. New in the instrument clusters are boost pressure indicator, oil temperature gauge and lap timer.
Another feature shared with the A3 is the head unit with MMI navigation plus with touch control via the knob below the gearknob. Other amenities include power-adjustable and heated front seats with four-way lumbar support, auto-dimming side mirrors and light and rain sensors.
If you fancy racier seats, there’s the optional S sport seats with diamond pattern or the RS bucket seats with integrated side airbags and carbon-fibre seat shell, weighing a good seven kilograms lesser than the standard sport seats.
We mentioned AMG-beating numbers, didn’t we? Under the hood beats the same 2.5-litre, inline-five cylinder turbocharged engine carried over from the outgoing model, but it’s been reworked to produce nearly 30 hp more. It now makes 367 horsepower and 465 Nm of torque that’s readily available from 1,625 rpm to 5,500 rpm. By comparison, the 2.0-litre mill by AMG makes 360 hp and 450 Nm of torque.
The century sprint is done in 4.3 seconds (0.3 seconds quicker than the previous model), before topping out at 250 km/h, although if nicely asked, Audi could raise the top speed to 280 km/h. That’s absurdly quick for a hot hatch. According to Audi, the exhaust sounds throatier and meatier thanks to the 1-2-4-5-3 firing sequence of the engine.
All that power is transferred to the brand’s quattro permanent all wheel drive system via a seven-speed S tronic dual clutch automatic gearbox. Launch control comes standard, here.
The RS3 Sportback comes with all six colours offered on its lesser siblings, with two additional new colours: Nardo Gray and Cataluya Red (featured in these pictures), the latter exclusive only to the RS3. Deliveries of the super hot hatch is scheduled to begin in summer next year – that’s sometime after June – and will sell alongside six of its RS stablemates: RS Q3, RS4 Avant, RS5 Coupe, RS5 Cabriolet, RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback.
It’s pricing, as per suggested by company officials, will be close to the 40,000 Euro (RM175k) mark. Keep in mind that, despite having the A45 AMG staring right in the barrel of the RS3 Sportback’s gun, Mercedes-AMG has already hinted at a facelifted version of the A45 AMG with better output figures towards the end of next year. What’s your mega hot hatch pick?