Audi RS 3 (2017-2021) review - MPG, CO2 and running costs
Reasonable fuel economy is achievable, if you have willpower and a light right foot...
While other performance cars are ‘downsizing’ engine capacity and numbers of cylinders, Audi has stuck with the characterful 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine. This has inevitable consequences for the RS 3's fuel economy and efficiency.
For the performance on offer, however, the RS 3 returns competitive figures, with claimed economy and emissions of 29.7mpg and 215g/km on the WLTP test cycle – and those numbers are identical, whether you go for the hatch or the saloon. By comparison, the 296bhp four-wheel drive VW Golf R with a DSG gearbox returns 32.8mpg and 197g/km - though it can’t compete with the Audi for outright speed. On paper, the BMW M2 Competition is almost an identical match for the Audi in terms of both emissions and fuel consumption.
Of course, the figures recorded on an official test cycle and the realities of everyday driving are two very different things. In the worst-case scenario, taking your car to a track day would likely see a return of less than 10mpg, whereas if you take things very easily and you might see this figure creeps into the low 30s. Expect something in-between and you won’t be disappointed – and remember that’s still pretty good for a car with the RS 3’s sizzling performance.
The RS 3 Sportback is not cheap to insure, but that’s only to be expected. The Audi gets a group 46 rating, while the Mercedes-AMG A 45 sits in group 40. The BMW M240i is group 41, with the M2 occupies group 47. A Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser is fitted to the RS 3 as standard, but many of the exterior panels are unique, pushing up the price.
In addition to relatively good fuel economy, the RS 3 has the strongest residual value compared to all its main competitors, retaining 54 per cent of its value after three years, compared to 47 per cent for the Mercedes-AMG A 45.
Beware the expensive options list though. Audi reckons the average buyer adds 20 per cent to the already hefty list price of the RS 3 by adding extra kit, but spending more up front exposes you to a much bigger hit at resale time.
The Sport Edition trim holds its value better than the regular RS 3, which means that, despite costing £4,000 more to buy outright, the difference between the two translates to around £50 per month on a PCP finance deal.
In this review
- 1Audi RS 3 reviewThe Audi RS 3 is a storming pocket rocket that gives the BMW M2 and Mercedes-AMG A 45 a run for their money
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe RS3 has dazzling A-to-B pace, thanks to its prodigious power and traction
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running Costs - currently readingReasonable fuel economy is achievable, if you have willpower and a light right foot...
- 4Interior, design and technologySubtly pumped-up looks and plenty of attractive options are part of the RS3's allure
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Audi RS3's mix of potent performance and family-friendly practicality is hard to beat
- 6Reliability and SafetyAudi gets great reliability and build quality scores in our Driver Power survey, plus it looks good in crash tests