2016 Audi RS3 Sportback is a Frenetic Forbidden Five-Door
One of the hottest of hot hatchbacks in recent years was the Audi RS3, a fire-breathing five-door stuffed with turbocharged inline-five and all-wheel-drive goodness. It never came here to the U.S. (though its drivetrain did underneath the TT RS), but customers in Europe and elsewhere got to experience what is, by most accounts, an incredible car that combines face-ripping speed and a Sport Quattro Group B rally car soundtrack with a comfy and commodious cabin. Now history is set to repeat itself with the confirmation of the second-generation Audi RS3 Sportback.
As before, the mad scientists at quattro GmbH have selected their 2.5L turbocharged inline-five to power this compact badass. However, being mindful of the 355 horsepower 2.0L turbo four that Mercedes-AMG has been dropping into its versions of the A-, CLA- and GLA-classes, Audi’s in-house tuner raised the five’s output from 335 to 362 horsepower, while torque jumps from 332 to 343 lb.-ft. Power delivery duties are once again handled by a sport-tuned S-tronic 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro AWD with torque vectoring that can send anywhere from 50% to 100% of power to the rear wheels automatically. And of course, the suspension and brakes have been heavily revised to deal with all that newfound muscle.
Performance of the new RS3 Sportback is about as scintillating as you’d expect: Audi says 0-62 mph runs will take just 4.3 seconds en route to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph (or 174 mph if you check a box on the option sheet). Unfortunately, also as you would expect, the new RS3 won’t be showing up in American Audi showrooms anytime soon, if ever. Maybe if we all ask really, really nicely, they’ll send a sedan version (similar to the A3 clubsport quattro concept) our way. It’s worth a shot…