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2018 Audi RS3

$54,900
Price (MSRP)
Audi RS3
Previously denied to US new car buyers, the Audi RS3 is now available in North America exclusively as a sedan. A mighty 400-horsepower is produced by the 2.5-liter five-cylinder gasoline engine, with that impressive grunt being transmitted to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rivals do offer that bit more outright dynamic engagement, but the Audi RS3 is still entertaining to drive, with the engine in particular defining the car’s character. Plus, being based on the standard Audi A3, the Audi RS3 has plenty of attributes that make it a great car to use on a day-to-day basis.

Is the 2018 Audi RS3 a good car?

  • Exterior Design 10 /10
  • Performance 10 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.6
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2018 Audi RS3 Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.5T
2.5-liter Turbo Inline-5 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$54,900

See all Trims and Specs

2018 Audi RS 3 Review

by James Allen

Many a potent compact performance car is on the market now, and the Audi RS3 is by some margin the most powerful of them all. It's not just in engine outputs, however, where the Audi RS3 impresses: entertaining handling traits, benign user-friendly manners and the build quality and practicality attributes of the standard Audi A3 sedan all make this range-topping performance variant a rather well-rounded car. Only the limited trunk space and ever-so-slight dynamic deficiency to some rivals dampen an otherwise impressive vehicle.

2018 Audi RS3 Rear View
2018 Audi RS3 Front View
2018 Audi RS3 Side View

Interior

As beautifully trimmed as you'd expect from a $54,000+ Audi. Trunk space is meagre by class standards

The standard Audi A3 sedan already has one of the most pleasant interiors in this class, and the Audi RS3's is even more so. Complementing the high-grade plastics and leathers are trim pieces shod in appropriately sporty materials such as Alcantara, and the sports seats offer loads of support. Interior space in the passenger cabin satisfies too, with lots of head and leg room in the front and back seats – though it's worth mentioning shoulder room in the rear row is a bit limited. Likewise, trunk space is rather meagre by segment standards at just 10 cubic feet, but the trunk opening is at least broad and low enough to make loading more cumbersome items in fairly straightforward by sedan standards.

2018 Audi RS3 Rear Passenger Seats
2018 Audi RS3 Front Seats
2018 Audi RS3 Dashboard

Driving

Some key rivals are more engaging to drive. That slightly softer edge does aid day-to-day usability, though.

If you crave the utmost dynamism from your compact performance sedan, the Audi RS3 may end up disappointing. Though considerably more engaging to drive quickly than its predecessor, the Audi still lacks the precision of more driver-focused competitors. Still, the Audi RS3 is an enjoyable car to control, as a result of its excellent all-weather traction levels, strong brakes and direct input responses. Ride quality's also pretty good for a performance car, though the firm setup can result in some jittering and fidgeting over rougher roads. Visibility is satisfactory, as are low speed manoeuvrability – though it's the impressive noise insulation levels that make the Audi RS3 a relaxing vehicle to spend time in on longer journeys.

2018 Audi RS3 Front View Driving

Performance

Powerful, flexible and a great exhaust note. A truly stellar and special engine

Being a five-cylinder engine already makes it stand out from the crowd, but the Audi RS3's 2.5-liter gasoline motor has more going for it than that. With outputs of 400-horsepower, it's by some margin the most powerful engine in this segment, and the equally impressive torque figures mean there's plenty of pulling force across a majority of the rev range. On top of being a smooth-revving engine as well, the 2.5-liter also produces a unique, bassy warble from the exhaust that adds to the car's character. All that power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that changes gears smoothly and succinctly – regardless of whether you leave it in automatic or change gears manually using the paddles on the steering wheel. Fuel economy is understandably low at 19mpg city/28mpg highway, though the figures are reasonably considering the potency of the engine.

2018 Audi RS3 Front View Driving

Equipment and Safety

Only the one trim level, so optional extra preference will dictate your Audi RS3's spec

Audi only offers one spec level for the Audi RS3, so buyers who don't want to fork out anything else over the base MSRP will be satisfied with the standard kit list. Adaptive suspension, all-round parking sensors, heated leather front seats and dual-zone climate control come with every Audi RS3.

2018 Audi RS3 Headlamp Detail
2018 Audi RS3 Exhaust
2018 Audi RS3 Wheel
2018 Audi RS3 Fog Light

The only option we reckon is worth selecting is the $3,200 Technology Pack, which adds a Bang and Olufsen stereo, upgraded navigation capabilities and a super-swish digital binnacle display to the spec list. Buyers who are track day enthusiasts will also like the fixed sports suspension and front carbon ceramic disc brakes on the $4,800 Dynamic plus Package. No crash test details on the Audi RS3 are available, though the strong performance of the Audi A3 sedan should ensure this performance range-topper will offer as much protection.

2018 Audi RS3 Gauge Cluster
2018 Audi RS3 Shifter
2018 Audi RS3 2.5L I5 Engine

Verdict

Though some competitors are that bit more engaging to drive, the Audi RS3 is still terrific fun to steer. Factor in the stellar engine and impressive user-friendliness, and the Audi RS3 sedan becomes a rather encouraging ownership prospect.

2018 Audi RS3 Front View

Audi RS3 Popular Comparisons