2023 Audi RS3

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2023 Audi RS3 Review: Five Cylinders Of Fury

by Michael Butler

The 2023 Audi RS3 is based on the same platform as the humble Volkswagen Golf, but it has an AWD system, 86 more horsepower than a Honda Civic Type-R, and an interior that's more luxury sedan than boy racer. So what exactly is the Audi RS3? It is, without a doubt, a labor of love for Audi, and with a price tag closing in on $60,000, those buying this car won't be doing it because it makes fiscal sense. Audi re-engineered the RS3 for 2022 after a hiatus and has thankfully kept the characterful five-cylinder engine. This 2.5-liter power plant produces a monumental 401 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which tuners are likely to push as high as they can. In this new generation RS3, an RS Torque Splitter with electronically-controlled multi-plate clutches makes laying down the power even more predictable, and sharper looks let you know that this is one car you don't want to mess with. Competitors like the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 offer a similar concept, but in practice, the RS3 is simply more visceral. Audi keeps on cranking the volume up on the RS3, and we're here for it.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 9 /10
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2023 Audi RS3 Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 RS3?

The 2023 Audi RS3 carries over from the previous model year when the automaker re-introduced the compact sport sedan to the US market. Audi's legendary five-cylinder turbocharged engine powers this four-door sedan and makes seven more horsepower and 15 lb-ft more torque than the previous generation. The exterior looks more aggressive, too, thanks to small touches such as functional vents in the flared fenders and a wider front track. Power is sent to all four wheels via a new RS torque-splitting system, and two additional driving modes, namely RS Performance and RS Torque Rear modes, are added. All of these improvements result in a 0-60 mph sprint time of only 3.6 seconds.

Pros and Cons

  • Impressively quick
  • Great-sounding five-cylinder engine
  • Still a great daily driver
  • Stylish cabin
  • Handles like a charm
  • Cheap-feeling interior materials
  • It can get expensive
  • Some tire noise

What's the Price of the 2023 Audi RS3?

The Audi RS3 Sedan's asking price starts at $58,900, which excludes tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,095. This price isn't far off the cost of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45, which is a bit cheaper. Of course, Audi offers a wide range of options that can easily push the RS3's price into the $70k range, at which point you could be looking at a well-sorted Chevrolet Corvette or something similarly sporty.

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2023 Audi RS3 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5T quattro
2.5L Turbo Inline-5 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Audi RS3 Trims and Specs

2023 Audi RS3 Handling and Driving Impressions

The Audi RS3's handling has traditionally focused on its ability to be driven fast without much effort, but we wouldn't exactly call it a scalpel. The RS3 has always been more of a point-and-shoot kind of car and has struggled with AWD understeer at the limit. This is also a luxury sedan that is able to coddle its passengers and is not a dedicated hardcore track monster. With that in mind, we're happy to say that the 2023 Audi RS3 Sedan is sharper and more capable than ever. The new chassis setup, including Audi's adaptive dynamic chassis control system and RS torque-splitting system, gives this street weapon multiple personalities. It can waft around with impressive comfort in town and makes for a great daily driver, but switch that RS torque splitter into drift mode, and you can go sideways at the drop of a hat. The steering is typically light but sharper and easier to pinpoint than ever before, and grip from those wider tires is amazing, making this a corner-exit king. Naturally, the car will end up understeering when not in drift mode, but it's controllable, and the improved brakes make sticky situations disappear at the touch of a pedal.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Audi RS3 A Good car?

The 2023 Audi RS3 is even wilder than its crazy predecessors, and there are a ton of things to like about this German road rocket. For the new generation, Audi has done more than simply update an old model; it has thoroughly re-engineered the RS3 for thrills, but that is still enjoyable to pilot on a daily basis and throw around your local track. The exterior styling is more aggressive, the front track wider, and the wheels grippier. The brakes are also sharper, and the engine feels noticeably more responsive and eager closer to the top end. Inside, Audi has once again proven its ability to put a classy and contemporary interior together. All the tech is present, as is all the luxury. This compact pocket rocket might have a stiff asking price, but little comes close to offering the same type of performance in its class. Competitors such as the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 aren't quite as quick, and the BMW M3 sedan rests a notch above this car in terms of price, size, and performance. Audi has hit it out of the park with this, the entry point to its sports car lineup.

What 2023 Audi RS3 Model Should I Buy?

There's only one model to choose from, so head to the options list if you want a more focused experience. If we were buying, we'd get one in Kemora Gray metallic and add the Black Optic Plus Package and sport exhaust system. Inside, we'd add the RS Technology Package. The total price for this well-rounded sports car comes to $65,090, including destination fees.

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