New preview of 400bhp-plus Audi RS 3 hot hatchback ahead of its expected debut this summer
This is our first look at the next-generation Audi RS 3, which has been teased in both five-door hatchback and saloon form ahead of a full reveal later in the year.
Audi’s new Mercedes-AMG A 45 S challenger will be unveiled this summer, powered by the same turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine as the Audi RS Q3 and TT RS, as hinted by the ‘1-2-4-5-3’ graphic on the side of Audi’s lightly disguised cars, which represents the engine’s firing order.
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The five-pot engine produces 395bhp and 480Nm of torque, and while that’s a little less than the 415bhp and 500Nm of torque you get from the A 45 S, it should still be enough for a 0-62mph time of around four seconds. For comparison, the TT RS can dispatch the same sprint in 3.7 seconds.
Power will be sent through a dual-clutch automatic transmission to a quattro all-wheel-drive system. Like the outgoing model, the new RS 3’s chassis and drivetrain will be supported by an arsenal of performance technology, such as adjustable suspension dampers, a torque vectoring system and an adaptive electronic power steering set-up.
The new Audi RS 3 will be based on the latest version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, albeit with a few upgrades. Previously spied test cars featured upgrades such as lowered suspension and drilled brake discs with larger calipers, all of which should find their way onto the production model.
New 2021 Audi RS 3: design and interior
The cars in Audi’s official images wear some intricate camouflage which masks most of the car’s styling features, but we’ve already seen less well disguised test cars undergoing development.
What’s clear is that, like all RS Audis, the new RS 3 will feature a purposeful bodykit which sets it apart from its lesser-powered A3 siblings, both in five-door Sportback and saloon form.
At the front, Audi has fitted a bolder bumper with broader intakes which, along with a pair of extra vents on the trailing edge of the front wheel arches, should help to expel hot air from the engine bay.
The car’s side skirts are also deeper than the regular A3’s, while at the rear of the hatch there’s a larger wing, a new diffuser and a set of oversized oval exhaust tips, which are a trademark of Audi’s RS models. The saloon also features a lip spoiler at the trailing edge of the bootlid, while the track width and wheel arches of both cars have been widened.
The makeover will continue inside, with a pair of heavily bolstered sports seats, a sports steering wheel, aluminium pedals and a range of RS-specific displays for the car’s 10.1-inch infotainment system and Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel.
Last year, in an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Audi Sport’s Sales and Marketing chief, Rolf Michl, called the new Audi RS 3 “one of the success stories of the brand”. He attributed the car’s popularity to its five-cylinder powertrain, hinting that Audi would not look to downsize with this Mk3 model.
Michl said: “I think [the RS 3] is one of the most emotional Audi Sport cars and is a major part of the brand’s DNA, even going back to the original quattro. You can be sure that for every future RS model we will always take forward the good aspects and characteristics.”
With the first customer deliveries scheduled to arrive early next year, prices will start from around £50,000.
Are you looking forward to seeing the new Audi RS 3? Let us know in the comments section below…
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