It'll do straight lines just as well as it does going sideways.
If you're an Audi fanboy, you're waiting with bated breath for the new RS3 to be launched. We don't blame you - there are loads of things to get excited about, from jazzy green paint to a new design that borrows front fascia and fender styling elements from the spectacular e-tron GT. This we saw clearly for the first time in leaked press photos that we posted yesterday. But nobody really loves the RS3 for the way it looks alone. Arguably its greatest selling point is the sound that its 2.5-liter turbo five-pot makes, and while we'd be happy to accept a slow car that sounds good, the RS3 never is. In fact, the US-spec RS3 will be very quick thanks to output rated at 401 horsepower.
In the old model, you got 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, so the bump may be smaller than previously expected, but at least it's within touching distance of what the RS3's chief European rival, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, can muster. That car makes a whopping 415 hp, but we know that the Volkswagen Group's all-wheel-drive systems are phenomenal, so the RS3 may still prove to be quicker than Merc's spiciest hatchback. Like the Merc, Audi has confirmed that the latest RS3 will sport a drift mode, something that has been all the rage ever since the now-dead Ford Focus RS made going sideways in a hatchback more accessible.
While this may be the last RS3 to feature an electricity-free drivetrain, good news has just dropped. Audi is committed to electrification and has said that it would not develop new gasoline or diesel engines, but we've just learned that the phasing out of these internal combustion engines will take longer than we expected. In fact, Audi will continue to offer internal combustion in some form until 2033, although all new vehicles from 2026 will have hybrid assistance. So while this may be the last unassisted gasoline-powered RS3, that iconic five-pot may hang around a little longer. In the meantime, that 401-hp figure is certain to put a smile on the face of anyone who experiences it.