This Is The Audi RS3: Your 400-HP BMW M2 Beater Bows In Paris

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Might want to hold off on that M2 order a bit…

Audi may have recently killed off the prospect of a TT that made 420 horsepower with only 2.0-liters and four cylinders at its disposal, but its recent unveiling at the 2016 Paris Motor Show is no less impressive. That's because the newest hot Audi makes 400 ponies using 2.5-liters of engine real estate spread out between five pots borrowed from the TT RS. That unit is placed inside the Audi we've been waiting for all along, the new RS3 sedan.

Europe got a hatchback version of the car a few years ago and ever since, the US has been waiting for the super sedan that the automaker promised. Not only are we happy that the RS3 is finally coming to America, we welcome the power boost of 33 ponies over its predecessor with open arms. Its engine also bears the title of most powerful five-cylinder in the world, although the fact that the inline-five is a rare bird makes it an easy award to claim. What's more impressive is the fact that it makes 160 horsepower per liter, a number that only a handful of performance cars can surpass. The rush from 0-62 mph happens in just 4.1 seconds and acceleration only stops when it hits its 155 mph limiter.

Buyers who ask kindly can get Audi to take the limiter off for 174 mph top speed runs. Like its AMG and M branded rivals, this engine is turbocharged, but given its odd number of cylinders, the exhaust note should be unique. Power goes to all four wheels, but not before first passing through a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. Tire smoke addicts need not worry because when the system detects sportier driving, the AWD doles more torque to the rear wheels. Audi didn't directly say that it included a drift mode, but the ESC's "Sport" setting is supposedly great for performing controlled sides. The system also helps corner faster by braking the inside wheels in a bend, leaving more power in reserve for the external contact patches.

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Handling characteristics, engine response, steering, and even the exhaust flaps are all adjustable, but the true control freaks will appreciate the optional RS sport suspension that features adaptive dampers. Those who don't want to wait for the Tesla Model 3 to drop in order to have a small sedan with high horsepower and semi-autonomous features will appreciate the RS3. That's because it gains some self-driving capabilities that take over steering in traffic moving 40 mph and under. Lane change assist, lane keep assist, traffic sign detection, and collision avoidance all help the driver keep the car from ramming into things as well. You'll have to wait until next summer to buy the RS3, but rest assured that the wait will be worth it.

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