There’s a growing trend among European automakers to not bring their best hatchbacks and wagons to the North American market. Audi being chief among them, as it hasn’t brought any of its good RS Avant models to the ‘States, nor have we ever gotten the RS3 Sportback. Instead, we get sedan or coupe variants of these cars because ‘Mericans like them better than their long-roof counterparts.
The latest car in this trend is the upcoming Audi RS3 Sedan. While Europe gets the fantastic RS3 Sportback, a practical hatchback that also has a bonkers 367 hp 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the US market will only be getting a sedan. While the sedan might look a bit better, it won’t be as practical or as usable everyday. Plus, there’s just something really cool about an all-wheel drive hot hatch that a sedan can’t match.
However, there is a silver lining for us North American Audi enthusiasts. The Audi RS3 sedan will be getting the new 2.5 liter turbocharged five-banger under the hood, that develops around 400 hp, from the new Audi TT RS. This is a new, aluminum block engine that isn’t featured in the Euro RS3 hatchback, which uses an older, heavier iron block.
We do still have to wait quite a while for our RS3 sedan, as it will likely go on sale toward the end of 2017 and be sold as a 2018 model. However, Audi is working hard on our special little RS3 and we’ve seen some spy shots of it testing at the Nurburgring. We don’t own the spy photos ourselves, but you can see them here.
The 2018 Audi RS3 sedan will be faster than the hatchback variant the European market gets, thanks to its added power. Though, it will probably be much of the same, mechanically, otherwise. But expect it to get from 0-60 mph in around 4 seconds flat, maybe even quicker. The current RS3 Sportback does the sprint in 4.3 seconds with 367 hp. So the sedan’s 400 hp and added torque should get it there faster. This puts it right in contention with the BMW M2 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45.
From the spy photos, it seems to have much larger front air intakes than the standard Audi S3 sedan and a small decklid spoiler. However, in typical Audi RS fashion, it’s quite an understated design and isn’t as aggressive or as flashy as its rivals from Munich or Stuttgart. Two massive exhaust pipes flank the rear end and through the camouflage we can see the facelifted A3/S3’s taillights. Oddly enough, this test car seems to be wearing two different wheels, front to back, which seems odd but it is just a test car.
We’re waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Audi’s RS3 sedan in the ‘States. It should be the car to finally put Audi into contention in the small sports car world here in the US. Cars like the BMW M2, AMG CLA45, Ford Focus RS and even VW Golf R are dominating the segment here and the Audi RS3 could be the 400 hp all-wheel drive punch that puts them all out of contention.