2018 Audi RS3 Sedan

2018 audi rs3 sedan – DOC682267

The Audi A3 Sedan was launched in 2013, just one year after the German brand introduced the third-generation A3. Offered for the first time alongside the hatchback and convertible models, the four-door shares almost everything with its siblings. It is identical styling-wise except for the deck lid, while the interior is basically the same save for a few changes in the rear compartment. Built on the same MQB platform shared with the Volkswagen Golf, the A3 Sedan also borrows its engine lineup form the A3 Sportback, including the 1.2- to 2.0-liter gasoline units and both the 1.6- and 2.0-liter diesels. Much like any other Audi model, the A3 also spawned S- and RS-badged performance models.

In 2017, the A3 family will grow to include yet another member. Having already launched the S3 Sedan, Audi is now preparing its most powerful compact sedan yet, the RS3.

Caught testing under heavy camouflage in the past, the RS3 just hit the Nurburgring track with very little wrap on its body. Our trusty paparazzi were there to snap a few shots and report that the high-performance four-door is nearly ready for production. Apparently, Audi is now testing the car’s skills at the race track and fine-tuning the drivetrain and chassis, which means that the RS3 could hit dealerships as soon as next year.

The sedan is reportedly set to cross the pond to the U.S. in August 2017 for the 2018 model year. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about Audi’s upcoming rival for the Mercedes-AMG CLA45.

Updated 07/12/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming RS3 sedan out for a testing session at the famous Nurburgring race track.

Spy Shots

July 12, 2016 – Audi RS3 sedan caught testing at Nurburgring

Audi RS3 Sedan

Audi RS3 Sedan

Audi RS3 Sedan

Exterior

Although its front and rear fascias and side skirts are still obscured by swirly black-and-white camo, the RS3’s design isn’t exactly a mystery. Having already seen the S3 Sedan and knowing what kind of body kit usually comes with an “RS” badge, we basically know what to expect from this new four-door.

The grille, although identical to the S3 in shape and size, will get the RS-spec honeycomb mesh instead of the more mundane horizontal slats

Up front, the RS3 will get the same headlamps and grille shape as the S3. These elements have the sportier, more angular design first seen on the new A4 sedan. The grille, although identical to the S3 in shape and size, will get the RS-spec honeycomb mesh instead of the more mundane horizontal slats. The same goes for the bumper intakes, which are also larger for improved cooling. The small vent below the grille is also wider, while the splitter is a tad bigger.

Moving onto the sides, we can see larger side skirts and beefier wheel arches, two features that come with any RS-badged Audi. The rear is also heavily based on the S3 and appears to have the same taillights, trunk lid, and bumper. However, the spoiler seems to be bigger, while the quad-exhaust layout of the S3 has been replaced by a couple of large, outlets. The diffuser is likely different as well, but the camouflage is too thick to tell.

Interior

Inside the RS3, you will find pretty much the same design layout as in the S3, but with the extra goodies that come with the “RS” badge. For instance, the front seats will feature heavier bolstering, while the steering wheel will have a sportier design. Diamond-quilted leather upholstery, brushed metal trim, heated steering wheel, and the driver seat with massage function should be standard.

The RS3 will also benefit from Audi’s latest virtual cockpit, which includes a 12.3-inch TFT screen instead of the mechanical gauge cluster. When using in the standard setting, it displays the usual speedo/tach combo, while the infotainment mode allows the screen to display navigation, phone, and audio system information.

The large instrument cluster is complemented by a seven-inch screen on top of the center stack. This one comes with a redesigned menu and a rotary control on the central console. Standard equipment should also include an LTE connection for Wi-Fi hotspot, Google Street View, traffic info, parking info, news, and weather.

Drivetrain

Audi RS3 Sedan

The RS3 Sedan will get its juice from a version of the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that Audi developed for the TT-RS. The turbocharged mill cranks out 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet in the coupe and it’s expected to produce about the same in the sedan. For reference, the S3 sedan comes with 310 horses and 295 pound-feet on tap from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit.

Look for the RS3 to hit 60 mph from a standing start in around four seconds on its way to a top speed limited at 155 mph

All that oomph will reach all four corners through a seven-speed, dual-clutch, automatic and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system, both offered as standard equipment. Performance-wise, look for the RS3 to hit 60 mph from a standing start in around four seconds on its way to a top speed limited at 155 mph. Optionally, the RS3 will top out at 174 mph.

A stiffer and lower suspension tuning with adaptive magnetic components will keep the sedan on its best behavior. An updated Electronic Stabilization Control system is also on the table.

Safety

In the safety department, the new RS3 will get a slew of new driver assistance features, including active lane assist, pre-sense front warning, pedestrian monitor, and rear-cross traffic warning. Traffic jam assist with the adaptive cruise control, Stop&Go, and emergency braking will also be offered as options.

Prices

Pricing for the RS3 Sedan is difficult to estimate at this point because Audi has yet to unveil how much the S3 will cost. On the other hand, the refreshed S3 Sedan is likely to cost about the same as the outgoing model, which comes in at $42,500. With RS models usually commanding a premium of at least 30 percent over the S versions, it’s safe to assume that the RS3 sedan will fetch at least $53,000 before options.

Competitors

Mercedes-AMG CLA45

Mercedes-AMG CLA45

Currently the only performance car in this small niche, the AMG CLA45 is finally getting the competitor it’s been waiting for since 2013. Styling-wise, the CLA 45 has the advantage of receiving AMG-inspired styling, highlighted by an AMG “twin blade” radiator grille and cross strut in the AMG front apron. AMG also added larger side skirts and a menacing rear diffuser, giving the CLA 45 AMG a real identity that the RS3 Sedan should be very wary of. The AMG CLA45 lugs around an AMG-built, 2.0-liter turbo engine that produces 375 horsepower. This peppy four-pot combines with an AMG 4Matic all-wheel-drive system to help the CLA45 hit 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds to go with a top speed of 155 mph. Pricing for the CLA45 starts from $49,500, which makes it significantly more affordable than the Audi.

BMW M2

BMW M2

Until BMW launches a sedan based on the 1 Series and adds an M performance model to the lineup, the two-door M2 remains the company’s only competitor for the Audi RS3. Although it lacks a proper four-door layout and it’s probably a bit cramped in the rear compartment, the M2 has everything it needs to give the RS3 a run for its money. It looks downright aggressive, it has a well-equipped cabin with BMW ’s latest technology, and a beefed-up, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine good for 365 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of twist. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes 4.2 seconds with the dual-clutch automatic and 4.4 seconds with the manual. Granted, it’s not as quick as the RS3, but at least you can have it with a stick and a clutch pedal. Pricing starts from $51,700, a bit less than what I expect the RS3 to cost.

Conclusion

Audi RS3 Sedan

Arguably one of the most anticipated RS products of the decade, the RS3 Sedan is finally making its way into Audi’s lineup. And, needless to say, the A3 family desperately needs a high-performance sedan to compete against the bonkers Mercedes -AMG CLA45. Even though we still don’t know how much power will come from the retuned 2.5-liter five-pot, the RS3 Sedan will definitely be an awesome compact with great potential on the race track. Maybe the beefed-up four-door will also bring a new record to the Nurburgring, which would be a great start against the popular AMG CLA45.

LOVE IT

  • Aggressive body kit
  • Well-equipped cabin and plenty of tech
  • Nearly 400 horsepower

LEAVE IT

  • Tough competition from Mercedes-Benz
  • Likely more expensive than competitors
  • Most details still under wraps