Audi is an upmarket German marque that offers a wide range of vehicles in various
classes – sedans, hatchbacks, coupes and station wagons (Sportback in Audi speak).
Audis come in standard (A) and high-performance (S and RS) variants.
Our road test vehicle over the last week has been an Audi RS 3 35TFSI sedan. It is aimed
at people that want the advantage of a quiet interior but with plenty of get-up-and-go –
more about the latter in the Driving section of this review.
A blacked-out front end runs all the way from the bonnet opening to the small front lower
lip. It spreads out from a fair way underneath the multi-faceted headlights and driving
We love the ‘see-through’ wheels. Also, the deep swage that covers the doors, though it
doesn’t extend into the wheel arches.
However, the overall body shows this is a ‘sporty’ model that is based on a standard
Compared to the standard Audi A3 the RS 3’s front track has been widened by 33mm, and
the rear 10mm. This gives it an even sportier look than the rest of the ‘3’ range. Obviously,
this extra width adds to its road holding, more about that in the Driving section of this
Looks great, with a nice sporty feel. We really like the hexagonal look of the trim material.
There’s a lot of black in there, but that’s set off with anodised highlights. We loved the look
and would be happy to own the RS 3 – if we had close to a hundred grand to spare…
The large front seats steal into space behind them. So, if you’re a tall driver (as I am) you
may have to come to an agreement with the person sitting behind them. It’s not ideal if the
driver doesn’t have correct space to manoeuvre the car properly. Obviously, anyone sitting
behind the front passenger can share the space with them until both are reasonably
The driver has Audi’s excellent 12.3-inch virtual cockpit plus display, which is larger than
the 10.25-inch standard unit in lower cost A3 models. It also has the RS ‘runway’
tachometer and speedo display – we love that.
The 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system has excellent sound output that
we loved listening to.
As is often the way the radio loses a signal when masked by tall trees, driving between in
embankments, as well as if you’re driving further into the country than DAB+ can reach.
Power in the hot Audi RS 3 is provided by a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol five-cylinder engine. It
makes 294 kW of power from 5600 to 7000 rpm. Torque is 500 Nm from 2250 to 5600rpm,
which is up 20 Nm on the older car.
Drive is by a variable all-wheel-drive system that defaults to a front bias. There’s an RS
Torque Rear (which could be called a drift mode) thanks to the new clutch-based rear
Shifting gears is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic with steering-mounted
Drive is sent to a variable all-wheel drive system that defaults to a front bias, though as
mentioned earlier there’s an RS Torque Rear (aka drift) mode thanks to the new clutch-
based rear torque splitter. Shifting gears is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic
with steering-mounted paddle shifters.
The Audi RS 3 has not been rated by ANCAP to Euro NCAP. However, the front-wheel-
drive A3 models has a five-star rating. Individual scores for that model include 89 per cent
for adult occupant protection, 81 percent for child occupant protection score, 68 percent
for vulnerable road user protection, and 73 per cent for safety assist.
Audi’s adaptive cruise assist system includes traffic jam assist, which will accelerate, brake
and keep the vehicle centred in its lane in low-speed situations like traffic jams. OK, so this
means that the driver doesn’t have to pay attention to what they are doing while travelling
at low speeds. Not an ideal situation as the RS 3 completer might meet a situation that it
doesn’t recognise so there’s still a chance of a crash. Perhaps causing serious injury – or
Interestingly the Audi RS 3 35TFSI has ’emergency assist’ which slows it down and pulls
over if the driver becomes unresponsive – perhaps during a heart attack or something
Audi tells us the RS 3 will take just 3.8 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h
when you dial up Launch Control. That’s quick.
It effortlessly moves off from rest as the seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. It
always seemed to have me in the right gear at the right time. Okay, so you can fiddle
around and try to beat it, but after the first few kilometres we gave up and let it do its own
The five-cylinder engine sounds different as the odd number of cylinders give it it a
distinctive note. We rather like it – not sure why, perhaps just because it’s different?
I like to sit high in the driver’s seat and could do so with still some distance between my
head and the ceiling,
The steering is quick, accurate and responsive, with only a tiny amount of play before it
started to react to my inputs. Feedback is pretty good and you always know what the front
wheels are doing by way of grip.
On tight, lumpy country roads the RS 3’s ride didn’t deteriorate even in its firmest settings.
Would I buy one? Only if I had plenty of money to spare because you can get cars that are
almost as good for a fair bit less – though they don’t have the prestige of an imported
AT A GLANCE
RS 3 2.5 TFSI S quattro Sportback five-door hatch: $91,400
RS 3 2.5 TFSI S quattro four-door sedan: $93,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Audi dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (RS 3 2.5 TFSI S quattro four-door sedan)
Capacity: 2.480 litres
Configuration: Five cylinders
Maximum Power: 294 kW @ 5600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 2250 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded patrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 188 g/km
DRIVELINE: Seven-speed automatic
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4524 mm
Wheelbase: 2629 mm
Width: 1851 mm
Height: 1412 mm
Turning Circle: 12.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1575 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres