Based on a modified VW Golf GTI platform (not the current one as the A3 was launched waaayyyyyy back in 2003), the 1,575kg RS3 Sportback gets the Audi TT-RS' 2.5liter 5 cylinder turbocharged engine. In this RS3 form the engine pumps out 335bhp and 450Nm of torque. It gets a quattro (although not one based on the A4's longitudinally based engine but a Haldex type system like in the Golf GTI and Audi TT) All-wheel Drive system and uses a 7 speed S-tronic (Dual Clutch) system. Top speed is limited to 250km/h and it does 0-100km/h in 4.6seconds. It also gets 9.1ltrs/100km. Pretty good for a very,very hot hatch.
The All-wheel Drive system is assisted in the handling department by McPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension setup at the rear. Most of the suspension parts are made out of lightweight aluminium parts to lower unsprung weight which is usually key to a well behaved suspension. Aside from that, the RS3 stops on larger diameter ventilated disks measuring 370mm front and 310mm rear which somehow require 19inch alloy wheels.
The exterior mods that Audi have done to differentiate it from the regular A3 and the S3 is a redesigned front end which sports a more aggressive grille, side skirts, aluminium trimming, a dual tailpipe exhaust system and the norm on RS models – wide arches front and rear (made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic) that are home to the above mentioned 19inch wheels.
The interior gets Nappa leather sports seats, two different trims (in piano black or aluminium race), an RS flat bottomed steering wheel, an improved Audi MMI driver information system that comes with a lap-timer.
Anyway, the new RS3 Sportback comes into play early next year and prices in Germany start from 49,900Euro. I suspect that this RS3 will be short lived, like the B7 RS4 as the A3 is so far into its current lifespan. A final fling? A last hurrah? Whatever the case, this RS3 is better late than never.