Return of the RS 3 models

A high-performance heavyweight makes a welcome return.

They’re back – the giant-killing Audi RS 3 Sedan and Sportback as well as special ‘Carbon editions’ of both models to mark the occasion.

5 June, 2020


These compact models feature Audi’s legendary 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine and it’d be fair to say that they both punch well above their weight in the high-performance ranks

Even amongst the strong RS community in Australia, the RS 3 models – Sedan and Sportback – enjoy something of a cult following. These compact models feature Audi’s legendary 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine and it’d be fair to say that they both punch well above their weight in the high-performance ranks. Absent from Australia for the past 18 months because of delays caused by the implementation of new WLTP homologation rules in Europe, their presence has been keenly felt by performance aficionados. But at last the wait is over and the RS 3 Sedan and RS 3 Sportback are back Down Under.

“The Audi RS 3 is a contemporary performance car icon and we’re delighted to have it back in our line-up,” says Paul Sansom, Managing Director of Audi Australia.

“The RS 3 has proven its immense popularity consistently throughout this generation, and we’re aware that many enthusiasts have been keenly awaiting its return. We look forward to meeting demand for this special vehicle, once again.”

Although occupying the ‘compact luxury’ segment, the RS 3 Sedan and Sportback (pictured) are big hitters, the superb 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine (as used in the Audi TT RS) developing 294kW and 480Nm with a distinctive engine note that has thrilled motorsport fans since the first iterations of the engine powered Audi rally cars of the 1980s.

That same distinctive howl (thanks to the unique firing sequence of the five cylinders) now thrills modern day enthusiasts, as the RS 3 hurtles from standstill to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.

This mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission with power down to the road through quattro permanent all-wheel drive. This is fully integrated into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, with torque delivery distributed quickly and precisely via an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch. As befits the RS 3’s high-performance character, the drive is rear biased, but the system ensures power to the wheels with the most grip for a surefooted feel regardless of the conditions. 

This ride and feel is further enhanced by the RS sport suspension and Audi magnetic ride, which in dynamic mode, resists braking and cornering forces on the car’s attitude and making the handling response razor sharp.

Then there are the black eight-piston brake calipers inside 19-inch alloy wheels, with 370mm ventilated rotors up front and 310mm discs on the rear. The combination makes for an exhilarating performance car and it is no wonder the RS 3 models are often spied at track days around the country.

The RS 3 hurtles from standstill to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds

In true RS fashion, both are styled to be eye-catching without screaming ‘look at me’

Which model appeals to you is purely a matter of personal taste, both the five-door Sportback and the Sedan offering their own social appeal and distinctive RS styling. Significantly more aggressive in their styling than the A3 models on which they’re based, they boast the black honeycomb grille and quattro logo up front along with LED headlights and massive air intakes that form a part of the styling as well as serving a very practical purpose.

In true RS fashion, both are styled to be eye-catching without screaming ‘look at me’ and inside too, the theme is slick, luxurious and state-of-the-art.

RS sport front seats in fine Nappa leather upholstery hold you snuggly in place, while the Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3-inch digital display and specific RS functions, places all vital information (including tyre pressures) right in front of the driver. 

Touchscreen technology is also employed in the form of the MMI Navigation plus with seven-inch MMI Touch and the 705W Bang & Olufsen sound system with14 speakers and subwoofer is standard equipment.

Add to that DAB+ digital radio, Audi phone box light with wireless charging and Audi parking system plus with rear view camera and the RS 3 models tick all the boxes for modern convenience and appointment.

And that of course extends to a raft of safety and driver assistance systems that includes the likes of adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist and Stop&Go, rear cross traffic assist, side assist and active lane assist to name just a few.

The RS 3 Sportback and RS 3 Sedan do indeed pack a big punch right across the board and priced at $83,800* and $86,500* respectively, their appeal comes as little surprise. But to mark the return of these performance icons, a special Carbon edition will be offered, featuring a host of exclusive design elements. With RS 3 Sportback Carbon edition priced at $87,200*, and the RS 3 Sedan Carbon edition at $89,900*, enthusiasts will be able to spot them by their carbon fibre mirror housings, panoramic glass sunroof, and a gloss black styling package with the Audi rings and logos in gloss black. Gloss anthracite black wheels (19-inch) are another point of difference along with privacy glass and inlays in carbon twill to give these special editions their own distinctive style.

Regardless of the colour or styling package, or indeed whether a Sedan or Sportback, even those not versed in the performance arts will be able to tell these RS models by that distinctive sound. A welcome return to roads and tracks Down Under.

 (*Manufacturer List Pricing [MLP] – excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)

To mark the return of these performance icons, special Carbon editions will be offered, featuring a host of exclusive design elements