Small performance sedans have a new hero this week, with the launch of the 2017 Audi RS3 sedan in Australia. Featuring the same 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine as its RS3 hatchback sibling, the 2017 update features even more power – 294kW to be exact.
The 2017 Audi RS3 sedan is also the first time that the RS3 badge has been applied to the four-door variant of the A3 range, and allows Audi to sell the car in the United States and more markets where sedans traditionally sell stronger than their hatchback equivalents. It also gives Audi a direct competitor to the Mercedes-AMG CLA45, which sells strongly in Australia.
Already accounting for around a quarter of facelifted A3 sales in Australia, the RS3 now produces 294kW of power (up 24kW) and 480Nm of torque (up 15Nm). Like the TT RS, the 2017 Audi RS3 sedan features a newly developed version of Audi’s iconic turbocharged five-cylinder engine, with the RS3 hatchback earning it soon.
Featuring the same 2480cc capacity, the engine is now 26kg lighter thanks to an aluminium crankcase and a higher-pressure 19.6psi turbocharger accounting for the added power and torque levels.
Power is sent to all four wheels using a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive system, which is now more rear-biased than before to ‘ensure ideal cornering balance’. Audi claims a fast 0-100km/h time of just 4.1 seconds, just 0.1 seconds quicker than its main rival, the Mercedes-AMG CLA45.
Top speed is listed at an electronically limited 250km/h, though the limited can be removed, allowing a 280km/h top speed. Combined fuel consumption is rated at 8.4L/100km.
Red eight-piston brake calipers clamp 370mm ventilated rotors at the front of the new RS 3 Sedan, with 310mm discs at the rear, providing strong stopping performance inside 19-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in 235/35 tyres. If that stopping power is not enough, buyers can opt for optional $9,500 ceramic disk brakes that also add fatter front wheels and tyres.
Standard equipment for the 2017 Audi RS3 sedan includes LED headlights, Audi’s 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital driver’s display, 19-inch alloy wheels, MMI Navigation Plus with MMI Touch controller and a 10GB hard drive, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Audi Connect with a Wifi hotspot, RS sports suspension and an RS sports exhaust system, which helps amplify the ‘mini-Lamborghini’ engine sound.
Other equipment includes radar cruise control with stop and go functionality, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking, Audi drive select with four drive modes, a ten-speaker sound system, DAB+ digital radio, tyre pressure monitoring, an alarm and a rear view camera.
Boot space is 350 litres with the rear seats up, which is 75L less than the standard A3 sedan’s boot – the battery lives under the boot floor of the RS3 for more equal weight distribution.
Being an Audi, a number of options are available to buyers looking to personalise their RS3 sedans. Particularly popular will be the $5,900 RS performance package, which includes Audi’s magnetic ride control adaptive dampers, a 14-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system, carbon fibre interior inlays and 19-inch alloy wheels in an Audi Sport ‘rotor’ design.
Separate cost options include a panoramic glass sunroof, ceramic brakes, sports seats in Nappa leather with a massaging function, Matrix LED headlights, rear privacy glass, three separate design trim packages with various elements in different colours and a wide range of metallic paint choices.
The 2017 Audi RS3 sedan is in Audi dealerships now.
2017 Audi RS3 sedan pricing (plus on-road costs):
RS3 sedan – $84,900