The hyper hot-hatch market is currently one of the most competitive in the motor industry, with rival manufactures outdoing each other on the power stakes. The new Audi RS3 Sportback can proudly claim to be the most powerful 5 door hatchback on the market with 362 bhp, just usurping the Mercedes 355 bhp A45 AMG.

This new super-fast Audi RS3 Sportback is so rapid (0-62mph in 4.3 seconds) that it can lay claim to having faster acceleration than the mighty Audi R8 4.2-litre V8 supercar. Top speed is limited to the usual 155mph, but derestricted it can (on a suitable autobahn) tramp on to 174 mph.

Viewed in profile, the widened front wings, chiselled side sills, matt aluminium-look mirror housings and large roof spoiler set the RS3 apart from regular A3s, as does the rear remodelled bumper with honeycomb grille and two large oval tailpipes. Eight paint finishes are available, including the two new shades Nardo grey and Catalunya red, metallic.

On the road this new Audi RS3 showcases supercar levels of performance, pinning you back in your seat as this little hyper-hatch rockets forward, with the new seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission snapping through the ratios with rifle-like accuracy. Bury the throttle and at higher revs the 2.5-litre five-cylinder motor’s warble mutates into a howl almost like a much larger V10 engine... it’s a hugely addictive symphony and far more sonorous then the soundtrack of any of the 4-cylinder hyper-hatch rivals. Yet despite this car’s incredible turn of speed, efficiency also sees an improvement over its predecessor. According to the NEDC consumption test the new RS3 is capable of returning up to 34.8mpg  and emitting 189g/km of CO2 - meeting EU6 emissions compliancy -  although it’s still not as clean as the Mercedes A45 AMG, which emits 161g/km of CO2 and returns 40.9 mpg.

But perhaps just as unbelievable as the RS3’s sheer performance is its split personality: a supercar slayer one minute and a comfortable family hatchback the next. Select comfort mode and the exhaust quietens, the steering becomes lighter and the suspension (on cars equipped with optional adaptive dampers) becomes far more pliant and forgiving. This duality adds to the core appeal of the RS3, making it a complete all-round package, if not an absolutely perfect one. Diehard sports car purists will find complaint with the numbness of the electromechanical progressive steering and although the quattro system offers amazing levels of grip, the chassis doesn’t offer the playfulness found in some rear-drive rivals. However, in reality these minor gripes have little relevance in real on-road driving.

Much like the exterior, the interior of the RS3 is fairly understated for this type of car, unless you opt for the carbon shell RS bucket seats of course. Buyers wanting a more pronounced sporting theme can also choose the RS 3 interior design package, which adds red accents on the seats, knee pads, air vents, floor mats and seat belts. Stand-out features include the flat-bottomed RS multifunction steering wheel, Stainless steel pedals, Alcantara door inserts and inlays in either 3D design black or optional Aluminium Race or Carbon. On the dashboard look closely and you’ll spot black frames around the instruments, which include black-faced dials with red needles and white scales, plus a driver‘s information system enhanced by a boost pressure indicator, an oil temperature gauge and a lap timer.

The infotainment and driver assistance systems are the same as found in the rest of the A3 range and include MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and Audi connect bringing internet-based services to the car.

As the RS3 is based on the A3 Sportback, it’s also a practical hatchback. Boot space is 280 litres with the rear seats up and folded flat, there’s 1,120 litres on offer.


Supercar performance wrapped up in a comfortable and practical 5-door family hatchback package.

Tech spec:

Audi RS3 2.5 TFSI quattro Sportback
Price: £40,795
Engine: 2.5-litre 5cyl turbo
Max Power: 362bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque: 465Nm@ 1625 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed S Tronic, all-wheel drive
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)