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Audi RS3 Shows Its Fresh New Face

Spy Shots / Comments

The CLA 45 AMG should watch out.

Mercedes-AMG has laid down the gauntlet with its new CLA 45, a 382 horsepower hot sedan with stylish looks and an impressive interior. But while the AMG's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is potent, the company decided not to offer the 41- hp S version in the United States. This may not seem like a big deal - 382 hp is still plenty - but the decision may come back to bite Mercedes when Audi releases the new RS3.

We've spotted a test mule of the RS3 on the Nurburgring but it was wearing the body of the previous generation model. Now the RS3 has been spotted once again but this time sporting its production body wrapped in camouflage. It is worth noting this is the Sportback model, which won't be sold in the US, but for all intents and purposes, this is our best look yet and the new RS3.

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Audi has also been seen testing the new S3 sedan, which is set to do battle with the lesser CLA 35 and A35 models. So if you want a better idea of what the US-spec RS3 will look like in sedan guise, you can go check out our S3 spy shots. But back to the RS3. We said Mercedes might regret its decision not to bring the CLA 45 S to the US because this new RS3 should outperform the base CLA 45 with ease.

The RS3 is set to carry over the current car's 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, which already produces a healthy 400 hp. This new version is expected to receive a small power bump, likely in the five to 15 horsepower range.

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Audi rates the current RS3 at 4.1 seconds to 60 mph but in real-world testing, it has eclipsed that estimate with a 3.7-second run. AMG says the new CLA 45 should hit 60 mph in around four seconds, though we expect it to be a tad quicker in real-world testing as well.

Beating Mercedes will be no easy task but with a healthy power bump and the signature sound produced by that unique five-cylinder engine, we think the RS3 will give the CLA 45 a run for its money. Expect Audi to reveal the facelifted A3 in March 2020 with the S3 and RS3 models coming later in the year.

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