Finally, finally Audi brings the RS3 to the North American market. Sort of. Instead of the fantastically cool and practical Sportback body style, we get the Audi RS3 Sedan. Though, we shouldn’t complain as it gets still gets the same brilliant engine, transmission and all-wheel drive system as the European Sportback model. In fact, it also comes with some stuff as standard that are options in across the pond. Autoblog was recently able to give it a drive and see how it is.
Under the hood of the Audi RS3 Sedan is an all-new, entirely aluminum 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that makes 400 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. When paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, sending power to all four wheels, the Audi RS3 Sedan is capable of 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (though, Audi representatives imply that it will be quicker than that in any conditions that aren’t wet). That’s quick for such a small sedan and will flat-out embarrass some more expensive sports cars.
But its performance isn’t the best part of the powertrain, the best part is the noise. For those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to hear Audi’s 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, we’ll provide a sample for you below. Listen and enjoy. That sound alone is enough to sell the car. Forget the performance, forget the handling, forget the looks. Just start it up, listen to the grumble and drive away. It’s all that matters. Everything else is gravy.
However, when it comes to the way it handles, the Audi RS3 Sedan won’t disappoint. Okay, so it won’t thrill you sideways like a BMW M2 or Porsche 718 Cayman S, but it’s a great handling car. Its steering is sharp, if numb, and very accurate. The chassis is extremely capable and as dynamic as a front-heavy all-wheel drive car is going to get. It will even allow some oversteer with the traction control off, as Quattro will send more power to the rear.
But the RS3 is just noise, anger and speed. It’s also pretty comfortable, too. One of those features that comes as-standard in North America is the variable magnetic damper setup. With those magnetic dampers, the Audi RS3 Sedan actually rides quite well in comfort mode. While it isn’t an Audi A8, in terms of ride quality, it’s great for a performance sedan. But if firms up in Dynamic mode, making its every bit as exciting to drive as you’d hope an RS car would be. Combine that great ride with a fantastic interior and you’ve got a car that you can spend a ton of time in, comfortably.
Of course, there are some faults. When pushed, it will understeer a bit, as Audi cannot tech its way out of the fact that it’s a front-heavy all-wheel drive car. Physics cannot be denied. Its steering is also a bit anodyne, making it a bit less lively to drive than its competitors. It’s also going to be expensive, at around $60,000. That’s a lot for such a small sport sedan but it does come with quite a lot. Also, it could look better. Not that it’s ugly, quite the contrary as it’s very handsome, it’s just that it could look more aggressive, being an Audi RS model.
Overall, though, it seems like Autoblog liked the new Audi RS3 Sedan. It’s a cool car with impressive performance, a great interior and one of the most charismatic engines on the market. While it costs a bit more than the BMW M2, it also brings all-weather capability and two more doors. For the money, it’s hard to beat the RS3 Sedan’s performance/dollar/practicality package.