audi rs3 sedan shakes its 400 hp engine in paris – DOC690451
Introduced in 2011, the Audi RS3 became the company’s most affordable high-performance car. However, it was only made available in the five-door body styles, with the sedan, which was launched in 2013, still waiting for its RS badge. The wait ended at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, where Audi unveiled its smallest performance sedan to date. But despite being small, the RS3 Sedan has a five-cylinder heart that pumps out a massive 400 horsepower.
Developed to grab some market share from the Mercedes-AMG CLA45, the new RS3 Sedan was built on the same recipe that gave birth to the RS4. Audi slapped a menacing body kit onto the A3 Sedan, and replaced the mild and efficient four-pot engines with a beefed-up version of its already iconic 2.5-liter five-cylinder unit. The end result is remarkable, with the sedan having 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque at its disposal, 25 horses more than its AMG-badged competitor. It’s also quick too, needing only 4.1 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start. Its top speed is also impressive at 174 mph, but this is only available when the 155-mph limited is removed optionally.
Highlights continue beyond the engine, which is 57 pounds lighter than its predecessor, with an updated dual-clutch transmission and Quattro AWD system, wheel-selective torque control, progressive steering, and carbon-ceramic front brakes.
Styling-wise, the RS3 has a rather subdued appearance beyond the blacked-out chrome, the honeycomb grille mesh, and the larger intakes. Inside, there’s a seven-inch MMI screen, sporty instrument dials, a boost pressure indicator, and as expected on a performance-oriented car, a lap time. This setup can be replaced by a fully digital instrument cluster if you’re not planning to set any Nurburgring records.
Why it matters
Audi RS3 Sedan
Any new RS-badged Audi is a pretty big deal, but the RS3 Sedan is significantly more important than other recent high-performance vehicles wearing the four rings. The reason for that is simple. The RS3 Sedan enables Audi to enter the tiny niche that Mercedes-Benz created with the CLA and will make this segment a lot more interesting with two propositions up for grabs. On paper, the RS3 Sedan looks to be the more appealing choice thanks to its higher output, but it remains to be seen how many buyers will actually prefer Audi’s more mundane looks to the CLA’s not-so-conventional design.