Audi’s newest performance model has us drooling over its combination of practicality and power. Equipped with the most powerful five-cylinder engine the company has ever produced, the Audi RS3 Sportback looks to transcend hot hatch territory when it goes on sale in Europe in summer 2015.
Falling in line with Audi’s history of five-cylinder engines, the RS3’s powertrain is a 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder making 362 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque. That’s more power than any other Audi five-cylinder before it, and routes through a standard Quattro all-wheel drive system with torque vectoring. The transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and Audi says this combination results in a 0-62 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph.
The Audi RS3 Sportback doesn’t look wildly different than the standard A3, but does present a more aggressive face thanks to its lower front fascia with large air inlets and the Quattro badging typical of audi RS models. The car is also lowered one inch from stock, and features larger wheels, wider fenders, a rear spoiler, and a rear diffuser. The interior is trimmed in Nappa leather and Alcantara and features sport seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel.
To handle the extra power, Audi has made significant chassis modifications, such as a wider front track and stiffer front and rear suspension components. Certain performance goods are optional, like carbon ceramic brakes, adaptive dampers, and a more serious wheel and tire package.
Though the RS3 is an unlikely bet for the U.S. market, Audi has not ruled out the possibility, and does already sell the Audi S3 sedan on our shores. The Sportback bodystyle will also be on sale here in TDI and e-tron forms, so bringing over this high-po hatchback wouldn’t be a completely impossible proposition. Stay tuned for more news on the Audi RS3 Sportback in the future.