After years of being forbidden fruit, Audi’s RS3 has lastly made its option to the US. Nonetheless, quite than the recent little hatch that we have been lusting after from afar, our RS3 is a really angry-but-cute, high-powered sedan. Beggars cannot be choosers, I suppose.
Having lived with the 2018 RS3 sedan for some time now, I’ve began to care much less and fewer concerning the silhouette. The superb efficiency it provides is simply that good. Plus, the aggressive little subcompact is packing among the finest cabin tech within the enterprise.
Prime tier tech
Beneath the entire go-faster bits and styling upgrades, the RS3 is simply an A3 (duh), so it nonetheless provides the entire superior tech that we have come to like from Audi.
That features a model of the automaker’s Multi Media Interface (MMI Contact) with 4G LTE connectivity, Nvidia-powered graphics and Google Earth satellite tv for pc imagery. Within the RS3, you may discover the acquainted touch-sensitive, knob-based bodily controller on the middle console, controlling a seven-inch central display. I like that this motorized display will be hidden away when the automotive is parked or when driving calls for my full consideration.
MMI is certainly one of my favourite infotainment suites when utilized upmarket in bigger automobiles just like the Audi’s A5 and A7, so I really feel assured in calling it top-of-the-line on this a lot smaller, cheaper subcompact phase. Nonetheless, if you happen to’re not in love with it, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are customary — although interacting with these interfaces with no touchscreen takes a little bit of getting used to.
Onboard navigation with site visitors information — a part of a $three,200 Know-how bundle — options actually good voice management and 4G LTE-powered on-line point-of-interest search is sort of good. The Google Earth integration provides a pleasant bling issue, however I personally most popular the legibility and ease of the maps with the satellite tv for pc imagery overlay.
Obtainable driver support tech is acquainted to Audi’s lineup. Normal options embody Audi Pre-Sense ahead collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, a rear digicam and entrance and rear ultrasonic parking distance sensors.
My mannequin wasn’t outfitted with the elective $1,400 Driver Help Bundle that will convey adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go, lane preserving steering help and computerized excessive beams. I did not actually miss these options, however contemplating the RS3 will doubtless be a every day driver, it is a bundle value contemplating.
One of many highlights of Audi’s tech is the wonderful 12-inch Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster, which makes an look within the RS3’s bodily cockpit as a part of the aforementioned Know-how pack.
Digital Cockpit permits the driving force to show and have restricted management over a lot of the mostly accessed infotainment options inside the instrument cluster utilizing steering wheel controls. The show will be custom-made to show a visit laptop, a stay map, the present audio supply and extra.
The RS3 additionally options particular efficiency screens which are solely obtainable on RS fashions together with a lap timer, g-force meter, horsepower and torque readouts and extra. There’s additionally a particular “Sport” show mode that reconfigures the Digital Cockpit to point out solely efficiency info with a big central tachometer.
I notably like that within the RS3, Digital Cockpit signifies that I can retain entry the entire most typical infotainment options with out eradicating a hand from the wheel — heck, I may even drive with the primary MMI show hidden away.
Digital Cockpit good points just a few new efficiency monitoring tips when outfitted on RS fashions.
400-horsepower inline 5-cylinder engine
Okay, now for the enjoyable stuff. The RS3 is powered by Audi’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Audi’s five-banger has a fairly distinct sound that is enhanced by the RS’ sport exhaust, to not point out the critically wholesome grunt of 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.
Launching the RS3, I used to be stunned to note a little bit of turbo-lag off the road — odd given how nicely Audi’s four-cylinder engines have eradicated this delay. Nonetheless, the lag is gone after only a second, changed by a satisfying surge of energy and acceleration. I ought to notice that I solely seen the lag on launch; as soon as the turbo is spooled up, it stays alive as you up- and downshift.
Talking of shifts, I actually want the RS3 got here with a guide gearbox, although its seven-speed dual-clutch “S-tronic” computerized modifications gears faster than I may ever hope to. The transmission is mated to a “strengthened” model of Audi’s sport Quattro all-wheel-drive system for higher torque administration.
The RS3’s customary Quattro system incorporates a rear-biased torque break up, however very impartial dealing with.
After partaking launch management, the RS3 is sweet for a Zero-60 mile-per-hour dash in simply three.9 seconds and sounds wonderful doing so. With all 4 wheels clawing on the pavement, there’s nearly no tire squeal on launch, so you’ve got simply the burble of the exhaust and the g-forces to maintain you firm.
When you get going, the Quattro system defaults to a extra rear-biased torque break up program for extra dynamic energy supply when cornering. Torque vectoring on the rear axle varies energy supply laterally mid-turn to additional increase your nook exit velocity.
Adaptive suspension and dealing with
Holding the 19-inch wheels and tires gripping the tarmac is a regular magnetic experience suspension. This always adapts damping pressure whereas providing an excellent stability of experience consolation and responsiveness.
My instance is supplied with the $1,450 Dynamic bundle that provides distinctive wheels and staggered tires (wider on the rear than on the entrance), purple brake calipers and that Sport exhaust system that I can not cease citing. Even with the rear-biased Quattro energy supply, I used to be happy at how impartial the RS3 felt round a nook. There was an excellent sense of rotation and an excellent feeling of suggestions and management, however even when testing the grip of the seat bolsters with the nook velocity, the RS3 all the time felt sublimely secure, by no means squirrelly.
The RS3 felt extraordinarily impartial and planted within the corners. That is a simple automotive to drive quick.
Relative to its best rival, BMW’s M2, the Audi tends to really feel a bit extra relaxed and cozy. I would not thoughts driving this automotive to work day-after-day. Nonetheless, the experience is unquestionably firmer than its less-power S3 equal, or a Volkswagen Golf R.
I believe that is a pleasant center floor, particularly for a top-trim high-performance model of an entry-level luxurious automotive. Realistically, this shall be somebody’s solely automotive, so it is necessary that it is partaking, however not punishing every day over potholes, poorly maintained highways and the like. I believe Audi nails it right here.
If, nonetheless, you spend extra time on the observe than I do, then maybe the elective mounted sport suspension — a part of a $four,800 Dynamic Plus bundle that additionally provides ceramic brakes and an elevated 174 mph velocity limiter — is value contemplating.
How I would spec it
The 2018 Audi RS3 feels at house on the thrilling mountain roads close to Roadshow’s San Francisco HQ whereas remaining surprisingly snug whereas commuting. I would not thoughts daily-driving this unhealthy boy in any respect. Nonetheless, given the way in which it delivers energy and tackles corners, house owners who do not a minimum of often hit the race observe or autocross Audi’s little mighty mouse are most likely not profiting from this vital price ticket.
The 2018 Audi RS3 begins at $55,875 together with a $975 vacation spot cost. For reference, that is twice as a lot as the bottom A3 and $15okay greater than a Golf R or Civic Kind R. As examined — with premium paint, Know-how and Dynamic packages — my automotive’s worth stretches to $62,475. The one possibility lacking that I would contemplate is the $1,400 Driver Help bundle, which makes every day driving safer and extra handy.
As I discussed, the RS3 compares properly with BMW’s M2. The Audi is a little more conservative, however I believe additionally only a bit simpler to stay with as a every day driver. The BMW, which has a guide transmission and correct rear-wheel drive, might be the higher observe device. Lower than $500 separates the 2 when comparably outfitted. Personally and subjectively, I give the sting to the Audi based mostly on my driving type and habits, however you’ll be able to’t actually go fallacious both approach. Simply purchase each.