We aren’t surprised that the RS3 Sportback made the list, as it’s a superb all-around performance car, one that offers what’s is probably the best performance car deal in Audi’s stable. The RS3 Sportback offers rapid acceleration, to the tune of 4.3 seconds from 0-60 mph, a superb cabin and excellent practicality, thanks to its hatchback body style.
The RS3’s 2.5 liter turbocharged I5 engine is an absolute gem, one that’s smooth, incredibly torquey, has a wonderfully linear powerband and makes one helluva noise. It’s one of the all-time greats and certainly one of Audi’s best ever. That engine mated to Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox makes the RS3 an absolute weapon on both the road and track. But a lot of performance cars can boast such claims. Where the RS3 impresses over them is the fact that its unflappable Quattro all-wheel drive system allows it to be a weapon off the road too. Show the RS3 Sportback some dirt or gravel roads and it will recall its rally heritage, as the original Quattro’s DNA pumps through the RS3’s veins, and become a hardcore rally racer. The BMW M2 may be the more pure sports car, but it can’t do that.
When you want to turn off the aggression, set everything to its softest settings and enjoy the first-class cabin, with its superb build quality, quilted leather seats and wonderful materials. The RS3 Sportback has easily the nicest cabin of any hatchback on the road and that can help its passengers decompress after a long day of performance driving.
The Audi RS3 isn’t without its faults, though. The ride is really, very stiff, although it gets better with the optional adaptive dampers, but that sort of comes with the territory. It also tends to understeer a bit at the limit, but that’s the trade-off you make for having incredible all-wheel drive grip the rest of the time. The RS3 is also not cheap, being the most expensive car in its class. However, it’s all worth it for its blend of high performance, a world-class engine and unflappable Quattro all-wheel drive grip. The Audi RS3 Sportback is one of the world’s best performance cars and Auto Express tends to agree with us.