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New Audi RS 3 performance edition gets even more power

Limited to just 300 units, the Audi RS 3 performance edition is faster, more focused and louder

Audi’s RS 3 really only has one rival in the newly-coined hyper hatch genre - the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S. Just as Mercedes reveals the facelifted version of its car, Audi has unveiled an even quicker version of its RS 3 - aptly named the ‘performance edition’. 

Unfortunately, Audi has said the RS 3 performance edition won’t be coming to the UK due to “production constraints”. Only 300 units of the limited edition RS 3 will be available, so rarity is assured. 

Excitement is also assured. The standard RS 3 is one of our favourite hot hatches thanks to its characterful turbocharged, five-cylinder engine, clever four-wheel drive system and general sophisticated nature. 

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The RS 3 performance edition doesn’t tweak the formula too much. The 2.5-litre, five-pot still lurks beneath the bonnet, but power is amped up from 395bhp to 401bhp. Torque remains at 500Nm, but Audi says the way the performance edition delivers its power has been changed. 

While the 0-62mph stays the same at 3.8 seconds, the top speed rises to 184mph. The power delivery occurs slightly later in the rev range and the torque is set across a wider band thanks to a more pressurised turbocharger setting. As before, this power goes through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to all four wheels. 

The performance edition will also produce more noise. The standard exhaust system gets a modified silencer and the exhaust flap has been adapted to open further, which Audi says “makes the sound even more present”. 

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Alongside the powertrain tweaks, Audi has also looked at sharpening the chassis of the RS 3 performance edition. As standard it features the RS Sport Suspension with adaptive damping. There’s also an RS Torque Splitter, which is designed to increase stability in low traction environments by distributing power to the rear axle (up to 50 per cent). Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi slick tyres are also standard on the performance edition. 

Visual tweaks come in the form of exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, finished in dark grey matte paint. The six-piston ceramic brakes available on the standard RS 3 sit behind the front wheels. The Audi badge on the grille, RS logos dotted around the car and the exhaust tips are all painted black. The headlights on the normal RS 3 can display ‘RS 3’ or chequered flag - on the performance edition it shows ‘300’ in relation to the number built. The puddle lights have also changed to project ‘RS performance’. 

Optional on the regular RS 3 model, bucket seats are standard on the performance edition. There are also blue accents positioned around the interior with an extra ‘RS’ logo on the seats and floor mats.

Limited to just 300 units, Audi has priced the RS 3 performance edition at €75,000 for the hatchback ‘Sportback’ model and €77,000 saloon. Deliveries will begin from early 2023. 

Click here for our list of the best performance cars on sale right now...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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