When world-beating car meets class-conquering engine, the formidable result is the all new 367PS Audi RS 3 Sportback. The DNA for the world’s most powerful series production premium compact hatchback comes courtesy of the A3 hatchback – the 2014 World Car of the Year – and the latest evolution of the evocative 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI – the International Engine of the Year in the 2.0 to 2.5-litre category. Enhanced by latest generation quattro all-wheel-drive, these genes create a car with truly exceptional dynamic capabilities, but one which can also deftly handle everything that daily life throws at it.
Helped by advances in construction processes and material use made as part of the Audi ultra efficiency programme, the successor to the original RS 3 Sportback weighs in 55kg lighter, tipping the scales at 1,520kg (without driver), despite additional equipment and safety features. Against the clock its resulting power-to-weight ratio of 241PS per ton helps it to clear the 62mph marker from rest in just 4.3 seconds, and to continue to an electronically governed 155mph top speed which, for drivers with regular Autobahn access, can be increased on request to 174mph.
Among the technologies that differentiate the new Audi RS 3 Sportback from its competitors are the optional carbon fibre-ceramic brake discs on the front axle. They also measure 370 millimetres and are gripped by anthracite grey calipers.
Standard equipment will of course be in keeping with this model’s ranking in the A3 line-up, as will the list of attractive options. For the first time in a compact class Audi this will include newly developed RS bucket seats with integrated side airbags and a carbon seat shell which are seven kilograms lighter than the standard sports seat. It will also offer an RS 3 interior design package with red accents on the seats, knee pads, air vents,floor mats and seat belts.
The infotainment and driver assistance systems familiar from the wider A3 range will naturally also be available, including MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and Audi connect bringing internet-based services to the car.
The new RS 3 Sportback takes the total number of RS models offered by quattro GmbH, the high-performance subsidiary responsible for developing and building the most extreme models in the Audi portfolio, to seven. The newcomer joins the RS Q3, RS 4 Avant, RS 5 Coupé and Cabriolet, RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback.