Audi has unveiled the new generation RS 3 Sportback ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next March.
Audi calls it the world’s most powerful series production premium compact hatchback, using the latest evolution of the evocative 2.5-litre five-cylinder TFSI producing 362bhp – the International Engine of the Year in the 2.0 to 2.5-litre category.
Going against the A 45 AMG, Audi rightfully calls it the most powerful in its category as it packs 7 extra bhp compared to the hot A-Class based A 45 AMG.
Compared to the outgoing model, the new RS 3 Sportback weighs 55kg less, tipping the scales at 1,520kg. Power is sent to the quattro all-wheel drive system via seven-speed S tronic transmission, taking it from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds before hitting an electronically limited top speed of 155mph – or 174mph upon request.
Average fuel economy is 34.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 189g/km.
Other notable performance upgrades include a sport-tuned suspension, a wider track, an Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, high-performance brakes and a progressive steering system. Carbon ceramic brakes and an adaptive damper system is optional.
Visually the RS 3 Sportback is distinguished from the more standard A3/S3 with a sportier front fascia with large air intakes, quattro-branded grille, faux aluminium mirror caps, a reduced ride height, a new rear bumper with a gloss black diffuser, a dual exhaust system and 19-inch alloy wheels.
The interior is updated with Nappa leather sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, stainless steel pedals and 3D Design Black, Aluminium Race or carbon fibre trim.
New RS 3 Sportback will be available to order in the UK from March 2015 ahead of first customer deliveries next summer. Pricing details will be announced closer to market launch.