As much as it delights me to write that headline, don’t pop the champagne just yet, Audi is still holding out on us. The smallest of the RS family will arrive in the United States in 2018, but only as a cramped, all business sedan, not an airy, fun hatchback. Why? Because Americans don’t buy expensive 5 doors, Americans love sedans. I was kind of hoping we were past this kind of ignorance.
Here’s what we know about the RS3 sedan it so far, thanks to a “highly reliable source within the company” that spoke with Car and Driver. The power plant will be a 2.5-liter five cylinder, but it’ll be an all new unit, not the previous 2.5-liter scream machine found in the last generation RS3 and TT RS. It’ll produce close to 400 horsepower, probably more given how Audi likes to underrate their figures, and will debut at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show in the new TT RS.
The RS3 will not get a manual transmission, because those are old-school, and Audi is all about the new-school. Instead of a DIY gearbox, it’ll get a S-Tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and flappy paddles mounted on the steering column meant to make you feel like an F1 driver.
Of course you aren’t an F1 driver, you’re the co-founder of Silicon Valley startup who leased a loaded sport sedan instead of getting your fiancée a non-conflict diamond engagement ring. It’s ok though, she loves you anyway because your car can do 0-60 in just four seconds, and go 174 miles per hour with the governor turned off. She’s enamored with the conventional sedan look and nearly average trunk space. No way would she, or you for that matter, enjoy the utility of having a hatchback. A car that’s fast, quasi-luxurious, and functional—no way, get that out of here.
Seeing as even the freakin’ fun police over at Ford offer a 350-horsepower hatch back, with a drift mode, you’d think that maybe, just maybe, Audi would want to offer competition to a car that has half the refinement, and an equal amount of sticker shock as the RS3. If they’re still going by the antiquated logic that Americans don’t buy hatchbacks or wagons, then they’re every bit as daft as I think they are, and I’ll just keep banging my head against the wall, hoping there’s a change in the corporate mentality, unlikely as it may be.
However, our being denied the 5 door could be for another reason, something to do with numbers, margins, and demographics, something concrete that I couldn’t possibly understand with my tiny, non-business oriented brain. Maybe they’re saving the small 5-door RS slot for the RS Q3. It wouldn’t surprise me if they think it’ll sell better in America than a regular RS3, after-all, we do love hatchbacks with lift kits because the lift kit makes them tougher, and more baller, and whatnot.
So, Audi RS Q3, coming to America too, probably.