Audi has always been one of the best makers of ultra-hot hatchbacks and the RS3 Sportback is no exception. The previous model outsold Audi’s expectations, selling 5,300 units, so naturally Audi’s developed a new version and it’s nothing short of excellent. The first-gen model never made its way over to North America, as Audi never expected it to sell all that well in Europe to begin with. However, after the incredible success of the first-gen, you’d assume it would make sense to send the rip-snorting hot hatch Stateside.
At the moment, the new RS3 Sportback is probably the best hot hatchback on the market. It has 367 hp, can nail 60mph in 4.3 seconds, has an optional top speed of 174 mph, seating for five, a large trunk and even has the ability to drift. So it’s incredibly frustrating that such a perfect car exists, yet us Yankees can’t have it. I can understand the lack of RS6 Avants and other hot wagons despite my disagreement with it, as Americans simply won’t buy wagons, but the lack or RS3 Sportback bewilders me. The Volkswagen GTI and Golf R actually sell quite well here in the ‘States, so surely the RS3 SB would. Plus, the car is being made in such low numbers anyway, it’s not like there would be a ton left on dealer lots.
The RS3 Sportback is also built on the same platform as those two cars, so it almost certainly meets all US safety regulations and what not, and that engine has been sold in the states before, in the form of the Audi TT RS. So the car is perfectly sellable in the North American market yet, so far, no plans to do so. It’s a shame really, because it’s quite possibly the best car Audi makes, aside from the most excellent R8.
Now, Audi will likely claim that selling the Sportback isn’t financially sound here in the US due to the lack of demand and what not. But BMW did something similar with the 1 Series M a couple of years back. BMW basically developed a car that only a handful of enthusiasts would actually want to pay for and sold it in limited numbers to the US. The low productions numbers insured that BMW would sell out of them, and quickly, while the allure of such a high-performance car would get other buyers into the showroom, who would then be forced to buy other BMWs, like the M3, due to lack of supply. Thus justifying the low sales figures of the 1 Series M. So the writing is on the wall for such a concept, Audi just needs to read it.
So the RS3 Sportback would be a success even if it’s because it helps sell other Audis, much like the R8 does
Will the RS3 Sportback sell well in the US even if it does come here? Probably not. But that isn’t the point. The RS3 Sportback would give enthusiasts something to desire, a lucky few will be able to actually own it and the allure of such a car would bring new customers into the Audi showrooms which gets them into other Audis. So the RS3 Sportback would be a success even if it’s because it helps sell other Audis, much like the R8 does. It would help Audis brand reputation and bring in a younger enthusiast audience. Also, the world is a better place when there are Sportbacks driving around.