zEDrSjNo 2022 Audi RS 3 sedan 7
2022 Audi RS 3 sedan 7

Audi RS 3: That’s German for quick

2022 Audi RS 3 sedan 9

What is it?

Upmarket German marque Audi offers a wide range of vehicles in various classes.

There’s sedans, hatchbacks, coupes and station wagons. The hatches are called Sportback in Audi speak.

They come in standard (A) and high-performance (S and RS) variants. Our road test vehicle was the powerful Audi RS 3 sedan.

It is aimed at people that want the advantage of a quiet interior, but with plenty of get-up-and-go which we’ll get to in a minute.

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What’s it cost?

RS 3 sedan is priced from $93,900 plus on-road costs, or about $105K by the time it’s on the road.

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 lights.

We love the ‘see-through’ wheels and the deep swage that covers the doors, though it doesn’t extend into the wheel arches.

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 and this extra width obviously adds to road holding.

The overall design however reveals this is a ‘sporty’ model that is based on a standard sedan.

RS 3 has not been rated by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, but 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.

It has head-up display as standard and 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.

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 might meet a situation that it doesn’t recognise so there’s still a chance of a crash, perhaps causing serious injury – or worse.

Interestingly, the RS 3 has ’emergency assist’ which slows it down and pulls over if the driver becomes unresponsive – perhaps during a heart attack or something similar.

You get plenty of standard features to go with the sporty look, including two-zone climate air and Nappa leather upholstery with RS embossing and honeycomb pattern stitching.

A 15-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system delivers 680 watts of music power, with excellent sound output that we loved listening to.

There’s a 10.1-inch display screen, with navigation, DAB+ digital radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as wireless phone charging.

As is often the way however the radio loses 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.

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What’s it go like?

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 offset by anodised highlights.

We loved the look and would be happy to own the RS 3, if we had close to 100 grand to spare.

Styling is more aggressive and athletic than its predecessor, with a large diffuser stretching across the rear, accentuating the width — with telltale RS oval tailpipes protruding on each side.

This is offset by the slimline rear deck spoiler across the boot lid, which can be opened with a simple gesture of the foot for maximum convenience.

The large front seats steal into the space behind them, so if you’re a taller driver you may have to come to an agreement with the person behind.

Bear in mind it’s not ideal if the driver doesn’t have correct space to manoeuvre the car properly.

Both driver and front passenger seats are power operated with four-way electric lumbar support including memory and massage function for
driver seat.

The pedals are stainless steel and the driver receives Audi’s excellent 12.3-inch virtual cockpit plus display, which is larger than the 10.25-inch standard unit in lower cost models.

It also has the RS ‘runway’ tachometer and speedo display that we love.

Power in the hot Audi RS 3 is provided by a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol five-cylinder engine.

It makes 294kW of power from 5600 to 7000 rpm, with torque 500Nm from 2250 to 5600 rpm which is up 20Nm on the older car.

With a 55-litre tank, it takes premium unleaded and uses a claimed 8.2L/100km, with CO2 emissions of 188 g/km.

It has automatic engine stop-start with variable all-wheel-drive system that defaults to a front bias.

Shifting gears is a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic with steering-mounted paddle shifters.

The clutch-based RS torque splitter distributes drive force between the front axle and the individual rear wheels for unrivalled control and handling.

Unladen weight is 1650kg and Audi tells us RS 3 takes just 3.8 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h when you dial up Launch Control.

That’s quick.

RS 3 has a top speed of 250km/h which can optionally be increased to 290km/h, not that you need it on Australian roads.

The car moves off effortlessly from rest thanks to the dual-clutch auto which always seemed to be in the right gear at the right time.

You can fiddle around and try to beat it, but after the first few kilometres we gave up and let it do its own thing.

The five-cylinder engine sounds different as the odd number of cylinders give it a distinctive note.

We rather like it — not sure why — perhaps because it’s different?

I like to sit high in the driver’s seat and could do so still with 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 on its firmest settings.

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What we like?

  • Quick
  • Sporty
  • See-through wheels
  • 12.3-inch virtual cockpit
  • Bang & Olufsen premium audio

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What we don’t like?

  • Costs a bomb
  • DAB+ drop outs
  • Limited rear legroom
  • No safety rating

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The bottom line?

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 German machine.

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Audi RS 3 sedan, priced from $93,900
  • Looks - 7/10
  • Performance - 9/10
  • Safety - 8/10
  • Thirst - 8/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
  • Tech - 9/10
  • Value - 7/10

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