Us ‘Mericans have been waiting a long time for the Audi RS3. The first-generation car, the Sportback-only one, never made it ‘Stateside, which was a real shame. When the second-gen car first came out, it was Euro-only as well. But then Audi did something gracious and it offered the RS3 here in America. Admittedly, we had to get the Sedan especially made to have the RS3, rather than the perfectly brilliant Sportback that already existed because Americans unreasonably hate hatchbacks. But we’re not complaining. Too much. Now that it’s here, though, was it worth the wait? Automobile Magazine seems to think so.
After spending a week with it, which is the typical press loaner length of time, Automobile came away rather impressed. Its little 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-five cylinder engine is a thing of joy, pumping out 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque and making the sexiest, growliest of noises. Thanks to that punchy motor, and its accompanied seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive, the Audi RS3 Sedan is capable of 0-60 mph in around 3.5 seconds. That makes it faster than the BMW M2 and much faster than the Mercedes-AMG A45. So it’s easily the quickest car in its class.
It also looks great, with its angry face, stubby proportions and wide stance. The fact that “Quattro” reads on its lower front lip is also fantastic, as it harkens back to the days of the original Audi Quattro Group B Rally monster. Inside, it’s great, too. The cabin is ripe with rich materials, superb build quality and class-leading technology. Every touch point feels of high quality and is well though out; the steering wheel feels great in hand, the shift lever has Alcantara on it and even the MMI controls are smartly laid out. The Virtual Cockpit is also by far the coolest and most intuitive digital gauge setup in the business. Everything just looks and feels expensive.
Then again, it is expensive. Automobile’s tester rang in at $66,775. That’s a lot of money for a car that’s the size of a Volkswagen Golf. However, Automobile seems to think that it’s worth the money, so long as you look at it the right way. If you look at it as a small, compact Audi sedan, then no it isn’t worth the money. But if you see it as a genuine performance machine, something that can keep up with some of the best sports cars on the road in a straight line, on a circuit, on the road or on the track, but also packs four doors and a usable trunk, the Audi RS3 Sedan starts to look like a bargain.