2017 Audi RS3 sedan review

Our Audi RS3 Sedan isn’t nudging any more than 60km/h.

But as we round a bend a lady appears on the road’s side. She’s furious. And as we sail past we’re watched closely. Then, she erupts. “SLOW DOWN!” 

Now there’s a good chance another RS3 Sedan tracking through Huonville, Tasmania, might have given her a fright. But it’s equally likely our friend’s reaction was provoked by our car’s looks. As we were 10 under the limit.

2017 Audi RS3 Sedan profileAs Audi’s answer to Mercedes-AMG’s CLA45, this compact sedan wears RennSport genes on its bulging sleeves.

Its tracks have been pushed out front and rear, respectively measuring 16mm and 14mm wider than a regular A3 sedan’s.  

9 Rare Turbo AWDs

These fenders cloak newly designed 19-inch wheels, which cage monstrous eight-piston calipers up front and floating jobbies up back. 

LED headlights, too, furrow over a huge honeycomb grille unique to the RS. And the car rides 25mm lower to the ground. 

Then again, Audi’s new turbo 2.5-litre five-cylinder could be just as incriminating. Blaring through a sports exhaust system that’s standard on local cars, the engine’s soundtrack is a symphony of hisses and five-cylinder warble.

2017 Audi RS3 Sedan engine
With higher injection pressures and a bigger turbo on a new manifold, the engine muscles out 294kW and 480Nm.

That’s enough to fire the RS3 Sedan to 100km/h in a launch-control assisted 4.1 seconds, two tenths quicker than its hatch sibling.

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Contributing to the effort is Audi’s new aluminium five-banger, which weighs 26kg less than the hatch’s iron-block unit. 

From this the four-door bodyshell boasts a lighter kerb weight than the hatch, to the tune of 5kg, and feels keener to aim its nose at corners. Despite sharing the same wheelbase.

2017 Audi RS3 Sedan interior
But the sedan’s best dynamic weapons are optional. Bundled in Audi’s RS Performance Package are adaptive magnetic dampers and wider 255mm front tyres.

The trickier dampers do their bit during back road blasts as they settle rebound over large humps and don’t crash into potholes. With them, the chassis is both supple and scalpel sharp. However the RS3 still lacks some travel.  

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On the other hand, the broader front tyres claw into the road better than the stock 235mm-wide items and help the front pull you out of corners when feeding in power. 

Speaking of, it seems Audi’s smoothed out throttle mapping in Dynamic mode on this drivetrain, which it shares with the Audi TT RS, making it easier to smoothly access the RS3 Sedan’s fat torque band. Lasting from 1700rpm to 5850rpm, it throws you at corners alarmingly fast.

2017 Audi RS3 Sedan rear driving
The 'new, lighter' seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is seamless and will downshift during coasting without fuss, but can still be caught snoozing during low speed traffic.

Inside, the RS3 Sedan introduces virtual cockpit and Apple CarPlay into the A3-based interior. And there isn’t much to look for on the options list in terms of equipment. A lot of car has been squeezed into the base $84,900 price.

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Sure, you’ll need to tick the $5900 Performance Package, lifting its total closer to the $92K Mercedes-AMG CLA45, for a real chance at ruling the super-compact segment. You'll score a fancier 705 watt sound system and carbon inlays too. 

But the Audi RS3 Sedan, on sale now, is a pick for more than just its blistering performance. Its friendly chassis and technological sophistication help it feel as grown up as it does juvenile.

Even if some passerby’s won't agree. 

2017 AUDI RS3 Sedan Specifications

Engine

2480cc inline-five, DOHC, 20v, turbo

Power

294kW @ 5850rpm-7000rpm

Torque

480Nm @ 1700rpm-5850rpm

Weight

1440kg

0-100km/h

 4.1sec (claimed)

Price

$84,900 

4.0 stars out of five

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