The Audi RS3 is the top-of-the-line Audi A3 that comes with a glorious 2.5L 5-cylinder turbo engine. This engine is basically an Audi R8 V10 cut in half and that is why it sounds almost as glorious as the R8 does. The newest Audi RS3 is the most serious RS3 to date thanks to more than 400hp and lots of upgrades over the regular A3. So, is Audi RS3 a good car?
The Audi RS3 is actually a really good car because it combines the best of the Audi Sport division with the new A3 which makes for a really tempting package. The RS3 is the class leader of its segment when it comes to design, the engine, and the overall feel behind the wheel because the A45 AMG simply can’t touch it with its 2.0L 4-cylinder engine.
The RS3 is available in either hatchback or sedan form which is also something you can’t find with the Mercedes. The RS3 looks aggressive, but the proportions fit the smaller chassis really well. The interior is also packed with lots of high-quality materials which make the car seem as luxurious as some more expensive Audi models.
Reliability is decent, but there are some issues worth talking about. The values of these are strong on the 2nd hand market as well. Practicality is the same as the regular A3 which means that it can’t transport four adults comfortably but is good enough for occasional shorter trips.
Audi RS3 – The powertrain
The Audi RS3 powertrain comprises a glorious 2.5L 5-cylinder turbocharged engine that offers 400hp and 368lb-ft of torque. The engine is free-revving and it feels like a baby R8 engine. The RS3 does 0-60mph in about 3.5 seconds which puts it in a serious territory with cars that cost as much as five times more.
The engine is mated to a sophisticated and relatively seamless dual-clutch S-Tronic 7-speed transmission and Audi’s iconic Quattro AWD system. This enables the RS3 to put its power down no matter the weather outside. Efficiency is also decent because the RS3 is able to return up to 30MPG which is great for a 400hp AWD car.
All in all, the RS3 powertrain is undoubtedly the best one in its class because it is truly unique. No other car in this segment offers anything better than a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine and no engine sounds as good as the 5-cylinder in the RS3, not even many V6 engines do.
Audi RS3 – Design and chassis
The Audi RS3 looks aggressive from every angle thanks to loads of upgrades it gets from the factory such as a beefed-up body kit, low profile wheels, large brakes, and a pair of huge RS oval exhausts. The front grille is also upgraded to look sportier and so is the entire interior, especially the steering wheel and the sports seats.
The RS3 is a lot more focused than the regular A3, but it does not feel overly uncomfortable. The S3 might be a bit more ordinary and comfortable, but the RS3 is better in every other way. It experiences little body roll and the understeer usually associated with the RS3 can only be felt if you push it extremely hard.
Audi RS3 – Reliability and common issues
The RS3 is a decently reliable car, but it needs constant and thorough maintenance. These cars are made to withstand lots of abuse and need to be set up perfectly in order to last. The RS3 is more expensive to run when compared to both the S3 and especially the regular A3, but it is all worth it thanks to the engine.
The most common RS3 issues are associated with a hesitant engine, a potentially faulty fuel pump and fuel control module, issues with the electricals and MMI system, and the rear top mounts failing.
Audi RS3 – Value and practicality
The 2022 RS3 starts at around $60,000 which is a huge sum of money to pay for an Audi A3, but the RS3 shares little resemblance to the regular A3. It makes perfect sense to pay $60,000 for the RS3 if you are after a smaller performance car that also offers luxury and style. If these types of cars don’t interest you then you should skip the RS3 entirely.
Practicality-wise, the RS3 is no different from the regular A3 which means that it is tight in the back seats, but it offers a decently large trunk space. Visibility is also decent and the car is relatively easy to get in and out of.
Is the Audi RS3 a good family car?
If you have a younger family, the RS3 can serve you really well because it can be quiet and docile when you want it to be, but it can also be wild when you are all by yourself. The RS3 may not be able to comfortably transport four adults and that is why these are typically bought by younger people and those with younger families.
The RS3 comes with some useful family-friendly features such as lots of USB ports for all passengers, lots of cubby spaces, easy-to-reach IsoFix mounting points, child locks, and wide-opening doors. The trunk space is also large for the car’s size.
Do cars like the Audi RS3 make sense?
A regular Audi A3 sedan costs about $35,000 and the Audi S3 starts at around $45,000. You can fully equip the S3 Prestige for about $53,000 and it still leaves you $7,000. A fully loaded RS3 is likely going to cost upwards of $70,000 which is an insane number for what is essentially an Audi A3 sedan.
This begs the question if cars such as the RS3 even make any sense at all. However, once you try it out and you realize how special the car actually is, you are likely going to change your mind.
Can I get the Audi RS3 Sportback in the USA?
Audi is one of those brands that does not offer many models to the US market because they don’t see enough interest. One of those models is the Audi A3 Sportback (hatchback) which also means that the upcoming RS3 Sportback is not going to be available in the US, only the sedan model will.