362bhp Audi RS3 Sportback races in
174mph RS3 mega hatch storms into Geneva Motor Show, set to go on sale in the UK in March
Full pricing of the second-generation Audi RS3 has been released, ahead of the car's UK order books opening in March, and now the car has been shown in all its mega-hatch glory at the Geneva Motor Show. The four-wheel-drive, five-door super hatch will cost £39,950, and deliveries are confirmed to commence in summer 2015.
The price is slightly more than the car it's being positioned against, the Mercedes A45 AMG. But it will be a whole lot more expensive than the recently unveiled (albeit less powerful) four-wheel-drive Ford Focus RS, which we estimate will come in at just under £30,000.
The new RS3 is carrying over the previous car’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine – albeit with a 26bhp boost, taking total power to 362bhp. That’ll make it capable of 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 155mph or 174mph if you tick the box marked 'derestriction' in the options list, which you should purely for pub bragging rights.
As before, the new RS3 will come fitted as standard with quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed S tronic gearbox, which Audi says will shift even quicker than before. Despite the performance, it is EU6 emissions complaint, and will manage 34.8mpg and emit 189g/km of CO2.
Sitting 25mm lower than the standard A3 Sportback on which it is based, the RS3 has been designed for maximum driver enjoyment. It’s 55kg lighter than before, and the quattro set-up features a clever torque vectoring system, giving the RS3 extra grip for faster cornering in slippery conditions.
The RS3 also gets specific sports suspension and can be ordered with Audi’s magnetic ride suspension for greater comfort or sporting ability. Customers can also choose carbon-ceramic brakes for ultimate stopping power, but these are likely to cost several thousand pounds when the car goes on sale.
In terms of styling, like many RS models before it, the RS3 looks quite subtle at first glance. It’s lower and wider than the standard A3, with a set of aggressive bumpers and 19-inch alloy wheels. However, to the untrained eye, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was nothing more than a basic 1.6 TDI.
Down the side there’s some sleek side skirts and at the back you’ll find a pair of oval exhausts and a sharp rear diffuser. As always, you can opt to delete the RS3 badging for that true stealth look.
Inside are numerous RS-specific details, including badging on the steering wheel, gearlever and door sills. All cars come with leather sports seats as standard, while those looking for the ultimate RS treatment can specify a pair of lightweight carbon shell bucket seats.
The car is available in Nardo Grey or Catalunya Red – both finishes exclusive to the RS3 – with a choice of two interior colour schemes. Customers can choose between black or silver trims, detailed with contrasting stitching in grey or red. An optional RS3 design package adds red highlights around the interior.
As you’d expect, a car like this will be neither cheap to buy, nor cheap to run. The near-£40,000 price tag puts it almost £2,000 ahead of the A45 AMG. That car is slightly slower from 0-62mph (taking 4.6 seconds) and has 'only' 355bhp, but still offers four-wheel drive for maximum wet weather grip.