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RS3 is the smallest model from the German automaker’s sport division. Based on the
sedan (and sharing more than a little with models like the
), the 400-horsepower RS3 is more than just a small car with a big heart. Audi Sport has worked its magic on the car’s suspension, interior and exterior. With its bright Catalunya Red Metallic paint and 19-inch wheels, it’s hard to mistake the RS3 for one of its more pedestrian siblings.
At the heart of every model is a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five. The same engine is found in only one other model — the
. Our tester has quite a few options, pushing its MSRP up to nearly $70,000. Options include $875 for the paint, $4,800 for the dynamic plus package (fixed suspension, 174 mph top speed, carbon-ceramic front brakes), $3,200 for the technology package (upgraded infotainment, Audi virtual cockpit) and $1,000 for the upgraded RS interior.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore:
The RS3 is a well-tailored car that offers something unique in the ubiquitous small sedan segment. Specifically, its five-cylinder engine. Gimme 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque all day. It’s quick from takeoffs, feeding plenty of low- and mid-range torque for acceleration, say (hypothetically) when stop lights are turning. Be careful when you do that. The RS3 is striking, especially in this shade of lock-me-in-jail red. The $9,300 Prestige pack adds glossy black window surrounds, full LED headlights and spoked, five-segment 20-inch wheels. I’m not sure it’s worth that much coin, but it does look good. The RS3 is a tasteful blend of looks and power. Mindful of that, it’s probably best to use the grabby brakes to time your deceleration appropriately.
— Greg Migliore (@GregMigliore) December 6, 2018
Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: The last time I drove one of these RS3’s
, I was on the fence whether I loved it or simply liked it. This time around, I’m definitely falling in love. The key is that five-cylinder engine. It’s a howling, rasping beast, and it’s amazing that anyone makes something like it nowadays. And I love how natural it sounds and feels. It’s not perfectly polished. There’s a bit of lag, and the exhaust doesn’t put out a perfect set of pops and bangs with every lift of the throttle. It sounds and feels different in every scenario.
Then there’s the size. This is an ideally sized vehicle for flinging around anywhere, anytime. It’s easy to thread through tight roads, and feels light enough to tackle corners with near reckless abandon. The all-wheel drive adds to this feeling, too.
In some cases, it’s maybe a little too easy to drive, but the benefit is that it doesn’t wear you out. The ride quality, while firm, isn’t punishing, and you could easily drive it on a daily basis.
As for the price, the MSRP of over $56,000 still feels a bit much, especially considering the somewhat cheap-feeling interior and small accommodations. But its competition is right in the same range, with the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 starting around $53,000 and the
at about $60,000. And of the three, I think I would go with the Audi. It’s a charming little thing.
Associate Editor Reese Counts:
Assistant Editor Zac Palmer:
The brakes on this thing are lethal. Ours had the Dynamic Plus package with carbon ceramics, and they bite higher up and harder than nearly any other car I’ve driven. It takes some getting used to, but once you’re accustomed to them, it’s hard to want anything else out of a
. It’s a huge confidence boost when you’re trying to brake deep into a corner — just try and keep your nose off the steering wheel, because that’s where you’ll be under heavy braking.
I’m a sucker for special engines, and this five-pot beauty is one I could live with for a long time. It revs smooth and fast, and makes power all the way to redline.
like these are surefire proof that boosted engines don’t have to lack character or drama. Listening to it rev out through the gears was a joy every time — there’s the slightest pause upon launch waiting for boost to build, but after that, the little sedan turns into a bullet train. Did I mention that I liked this engine?
You can be unassuming when you want, because it’s an Audi sedan. That being said, any enthusiast would pick you out from a mile away, and the exhaust can be properly obnoxious in dynamic mode. Nobody would be the wiser if you rolled up to your business meeting in the small, unassuming sedan, though. Being small is an important factor in making the RS3 as good as it is. There’s a twitchiness and alertness in the handling that larger performance cars just don’t possess.
My only small complaint is with the all-wheel drive system. It’s still front-drive biased, which you feel when you push it hard enough. Direct more power to the rear wheels, and I might start to count the days I need to eat ramen to afford one.
from Autoblog https://ift.tt/2BsBujH