Power and glory
Deliveries of the new RS3 start later this month. Jack Evans had a preview
The Audi RS3 is a key pillar in the hot hatch segment, having set the trend for some time now. It’s just been updated, bringing even more power – now close to 400bhp – as well as a quicker 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds. That puts it close to supercar territory. There are LED lights at the front and rear, with dynamic rear indicators that strobe when activated. The front grille is framed with an aluminiumlook surround, while dual exhausts give some indication of the performance. However, the relatively understated looks is one of its most appealing traits. The large, 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine – the only five-cylinder in the segment – has been revised, meaning faster acceleration and better economy. It is 26kg lighter but the power is still sent to all four wheels via the legendary Quattro system. It’s impressively quick, but that was to be expected considering its close to 400bhp power output. The ride, especially on standard steel springs, is very firm. It can make the RS3 feel unsettled, though interestingly the quicker you go the better it gets. It’s a very well-judged car. It’s also available as a saloon, which looks sleeker still – though without the practicality levels of the five-door hatch. The interior exhibits typical Audi build quality and fitand-finish. You now get the excellent virtual cockpit display. The five-door hatch benefits from 280 litres of seats-up boot space, which can be extended to 1,120 litres by lowering the rear seats. There’s a good degree of standard equipment on offer. You get LED headlights and rear lights, as well as the virtual cockpit display. Sports seats are included , too, along with RS’s bespoke braking system and a full satellite navigation system.