The new Audi RS3 has hit the automotive scene with a bang. This super hatchback combines striking aesthetics with agility, never taking itself too seriously. In this comprehensive review, we’ll dive deep into the RS3’s features and capabilities. We’ll explore its powerful engine, exceptional brakes, exterior design, and interior comfort.
This formidable machine goes head-to-head with rivals like the BMW M2, Mercedes-AMG A45 S, and even the Volkswagen Golf R. With a starting price of just over $90,000, the RS3 has a lot to offer. Buckle up as we take a deep dive into this captivating vehicle.
Audi RS3 Exterior Elegance
The RS3 is a sight to behold with its captivating exterior. You have the freedom to choose from eight stunning colors, all at no additional cost. Unfortunately, due to chip shortages, some optional features might be missing, so it’s crucial to ensure you’re getting what you desire. At the front, the large black grille, blacked-out Audi logo, and the RS3 badge make a bold statement. Though there should be a camera at the front, it’s absent due to the mentioned shortages.
The RS3’s thirst for cooling is evident, especially with the Dynamic Plus package, which pushes its top speed to an impressive 290 kilometers per hour, up from 250 km/h without the package. The RS3’s front boasts imposing inlets for cooling, enhancing its aggressive appearance. The Matrix LED headlights, typically equipped (not during chip shortages), and the 8-bit graphic display on unlocking the car add to its cool factor.
As we move to the sides, you’ll find 19-inch alloy wheels with a sleek black finish, while the carbon ceramic brakes, equipped with the Dynamic Plus package, make an imposing visual statement. Even without the carbon ceramics, the 375-millimeter steel rotors still look impressive. Carbon fiber elements, an optional package, adorn the upper sections, complemented by yellow-colored indicators. The widened track of the third-generation RS3 is evident at the front, with wider front tires compared to the rear, creating a staggered setup (265mm vs. 245mm). This setup enhances the RS3’s aggressive stance. The sides feature privacy glass, adding a touch of sophistication.
Moving to the rear, you’ll find more carbon fiber elements, a shark fin aerial, and prominent RS3 badging. The dual exhaust pipes, which are actually quad exhaust pipes when you take a closer look, complete the RS3’s sporty rear. Full LED taillights finish off the design, making the RS3 truly captivating on the road. People have learned to respect the RS3’s presence, knowing it’s not a vehicle to be trifled with.
Step Inside: RS3’s Interior
Entering the RS3, you’re greeted by a proximity-sensing key. The cabin, though generally impressive, might leave a bit to be desired for a car in this price range. Some areas feature piano black surfaces and slightly scratchy materials in places, which can be a tad disappointing. However, the cabin boasts ample padding on the center console and doors, providing comfort for your elbows.
The seating in the Audi RS3 is a highlight. Electrically adjustable seats offer numerous customization options, ensuring a comfortable driving position. The RS-branded seats feature striking ribbing in the center, and RS branding up top, and offer excellent support while being comfortable for long drives. The steering wheel is both tilt and reach adjustable, though manual in operation. All essential controls are easily accessible while driving.
Infotainment and Technology:
The Audi RS3 boasts a 10.1-inch infotainment display at the center of the cabin. While it functions well, it might lag slightly behind its competitors in terms of screen size and innovation. However, it does offer haptic feedback and responsiveness. It features AM, FM, and DAB digital radio, paired with a 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen branded sound system. The sound quality, while good, could have been more impressive in this segment. Smartphone integration is seamless with Apple CarPlay (wireless) and Android Auto, both providing full-screen integration.
Safety is a priority in the Audi RS3, with features like AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection. However, chip shortages may affect certain safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and lane centering. The RS3 should ideally come with a rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors, but these too might be impacted by chip shortages. Despite these challenges, the RS3 offers a decent reverse camera with good image quality and helpful guidelines.
Audi RS3 Practicality
Connectivity is well-covered with two USB-C ports, a wireless charging pad, and a 12-volt outlet. The adjustable cup holders can accommodate various sizes of cups and bottles, although the design might require some care to avoid spills. The RS3’s trunk space is somewhat limited, offering under 300 liters of cargo capacity. Folding down the rear seats expands this to a little over 1100 liters, which, while better, may not be considered remarkable.
On the Road: Power and Performance
The heart of this beast is a two-and-a-half-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces nearly 300 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque. This power is delivered through a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. The RS3’s acceleration is nothing short of exhilarating, with a claimed 0-100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds, although we managed an even quicker 3.7 seconds in our test. The RS3’s acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h is blistering, taking just 2.4 seconds. The engine’s intoxicating sound and relentless power delivery make for an unforgettable driving experience.
The Audi RS3 handles like a dream, with its all-wheel-drive system providing exceptional traction. It’s equipped with a twin-clutch twister-style rear differential that allows for precise torque vectoring and a rear-wheel-drive feel when needed. In the RS Individual mode, it’s even possible to induce controlled oversteer, making it a true enthusiast’s car. The RS3’s stopping power is equally impressive, especially with the optional carbon ceramic brakes, providing substantial and fade-resistant braking performance.
What’s the Price of the 2023 Audi RS3?
The base price for the Audi RS3 Sedan begins at $58,900, exclusive of tax, registration, and an additional destination fee of $1,095.
Verdict: Unleash the RS3
In conclusion, the Audi RS3 is a car that delivers pure driving joy. Its power, precision, and performance make it a compelling choice in the hot hatch segment. While it may not be the quietest on the highway and has minor cabin material quirks, the RS3 more than compensates with its exhilarating acceleration, impeccable handling, and distinctive design. It’s a car that puts a smile on your face every time you hit the throttle. Whether you choose the RS3 over its competitors or not, one thing is certain: it’s a machine that leaves a lasting impression.