In-depth reviews

Audi RS 3 (2017-2021) review - Reliability and safety

Audi gets great reliability and build quality scores in our Driver Power survey, plus it looks good in crash tests

Audi is famed for the quality of its components, and the RS 3 should be no different. We used the launch control several times back-to-back in our test, and the gearbox felt like it was happy to do it all day. 

Because the RS 3 is based on the VW Group’s modular MQB platform (which saves 55kg compared to its predecessor), it uses a large number of common components already proven throughout the VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT ranges.

But that hasn’t prevented the A3 turning in a below-average performance in our 2019 Driver Power satisfaction survey, with the third-generation model (on which the RS 3 is based) coming in 69th overall out of 75 new cars. Audi fared slightly better in the manufacturer poll, taking 16th place out of 30 brands, but in the latest 2020 ratings fell back to 21st position.

If you plan to use your RS 3 on track (which we wouldn’t particularly recommend, but might prove hard to resist), or to frequently drive it hard, then it might be worth ordering the optional carbon-ceramic brakes for their longer lifespan and fade-free stopping power. However, it's likely the front tyres will be torn to shreds long before the standard cast iron discs start to wilt.

The Audi A3 three-door hatchback which is identical to the Sportback in most meaningful ways, scored a full five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash tests, including an excellent 95 per cent for adult occupant safety and 87 per cent for child safety.

There's a whole raft of safety systems available to help prevent accidents, including a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control and a 'pre-sense' program that tightens up the seat belts and closes the windows if the car enters a skid. The downside is that some of the more advanced tech is on the options list.

Warranty

The RS 3 comes with Audi’s regular three-year/60,000 mile warranty, but you can extend it to four years/75,000 miles or five years/90,000 miles for £245 or £545. The Mercedes-AMG A45 has a three-year warranty, but with the significant added reassurance of unlimited mileage. 

Servicing

Audi’s flexible service regime for high-mileage drivers could mean you only need an oil change every two years or 19,000 miles. An oil condition sensor on the car determines the service interval for you.

If you do less than 10,000 miles a year Audi recommends an annual oil change with a full inspection service at two years/19,000 miles. 

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    RS 3 TFSI 400 Quattro 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £44,290

Most Economical

  • Name
    RS 3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £49,840

Fastest

  • Name
    RS 3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £49,840

Most Popular

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
News

New Toyota RAV4 Adventure heads up 2022 model refresh

The rugged Toyota RAV4 Adventure targets lifestyle buyers with a tough-looking new front bumper and interior tweaks
14 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021