New Audi RS3 saloon unveiled at Paris 2016

Audi RS3 Saloon – Paris front three quarter

Fans of small, fast saloon cars can rejoice, as Audi has revealed a new four-door Audi RS3 saloon at an event ahead of the Paris Motor Show.

The new car, which is a spiritual successor to models like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and Subaru Impreza (latterly the WRX STi), uses the same 394bhp five-cylinder engine as the recently launched Audi TT RS, so not only is it 33bhp more than the outgoing RS3 Sportback, it’ll outgun its closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, which has 355bhp. It means the RS3 saloon accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, while top speed is a limited 155mph, although this can be raised to 174mph on request.

The RS3’s four-door body is nearly identical to the Audi S3 saloon, aside from the addition of the RS3 Sportback’s front bumper, flared wheelarches and the large oval twin exhaust tailpipes and rear diffuser.

Audi RS3 saloon – front quarter

Inside, the RS3 saloon will boast leather trim, an Alcantara-rimmed steering wheel and a range of connectivity features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other kit available will include Audi’s digital Virtual Cockpit instrument display, while safety kit includes Traffic Jam Assist, which can take control of the steering in slow-moving heavy traffic at speeds of up to 40mph.

Audi RS3 saloon – front cornering

Under the skin, the Audi RS3 Sportback’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI turbocharged engine gets more power, but it’s mated to the same seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. Despite the small increase in weight, the RS3 Sportback’s blend of searing performance and family-friendly practicality should remain. 

The Audi RS3 saloon will go on sale in the UK soon, although prices and final specifications are yet to be confirmed. Given the £2,000 price premium that the S3 saloon commands over the Sportback, the RS4 is likely to cost in the region £43,000.