Audi RS3 Saloon 2021 review

We’ve driven the RS3 hatchback, and liked it, but can the saloon match it?

What is it?
Is this Audi RS3 the new sweet spot for performance cars? With the vehicles from the course above, like the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63, approaching ₤ 80k, as well as likewise getting ever bigger and also much more effective with each generation, I would certainly suggest something the size and also pizzazz of the RS3 makes more feeling on our congested isle. Even if it, itself, is well north of ₤ 50k for a well-specced version.

In hangout type, it feels extra special. Although the RS3 hatch doesn’t dominate the sales proportions as much as you may envision – 800 versus 400, hatch to tavern – in some way the barroom constantly really feels more unique, that by opting for it you’re certainly not attempting to stay on top of the Joneses.

Fortunately, Audi has actually persisted with the five-cylinder format. You would certainly believe the bean-counters would certainly suggest tough for a four-cylinder – nevertheless, the RS3’s five-cylinder swelling just appears in the Audi RS Q3 as well as TT RS – but the Audi engineers are apparently constructed from sterner things and also won that battle.

Here, it creates 394bhp as well as 369lb ft, specifically the same numbers as the new RS3 hatch as well as 15lb ft up on the last version. Distinctions between both bodystyles are hard to locate: both crack 62mph in just 3.8 sec (0.3 sec up on the previous gen) and also both attribute Audi’s brand-new RS Torque Splitter. This torque vectoring system can send out 100% of the spin that reaches the rear axle to either rear wheel – or else called a Drift setting.

Both cars and trucks additionally include modified suspension set-ups compared to the last RS3’s. The front track has been broadened by 33mm, there’s increased negative wheel camber as well as the dampers and also valves have actually been overhauled. Flexible dampers are currently a ₤ 5000-plus alternative, the precise expense relying on which cut you have actually selected. For this substantial lump, you do additionally get ceramic brakes, an RS Sports exhaust and also a full throttle boosted to 180mph.

Where both automobiles obviously do vary is in bodystyle. The hangout is somewhat longer and lower, by 153mm and 24mm respectively, but the other side is that the cocktail lounge’s rear head space is slightly a lot more pinched. Certainly, anyone over six-foot would struggle in the rear seats. The wheelbase in between the two is identical, so leg area does not vary in any way.

The watering hole’s boot is still a suitable dimension, at 321 litres. In fact, it’s bigger than the hatch’s boot under the parcel shelf, so if you’re not wanting to routinely fold the rear seats, the cocktail lounge is probably much more practical. And also absolutely much more protected.

4 trim levels are offered: ‘conventional’ RS, Vorsprung, Carbon Black and also the sold-out Introduce Edition.

What’s it like?
The Audi engineers have actually done a good work of calling out the understeer that has been a hallmark of previous RS versions: for an auto where the engine is still mounted ahead of the front axle, this one really feels much sharper.

Via sluggish edges, you still need to work it rather difficult to get it to truly bite at the front, and also it doesn’t rotate around you on throttle modification quite like the best warm watering holes do, but it’s most definitely much more playful than RS3s of old. Grasp levels go over, as you would certainly expect, and if you press hard on the departure of a slow edge, you can feel the rear starting to get some attitude. The boosted steering helps. It’s still not got the ultimate degrees of communication, but it does not feel as leaden as in the previous gen cars and truck, as well as is sharp as well as progressive. Incorporated with the responses from the framework, this RS3 provides a more intriguing and involved trip.

There are seven drive modes (definitely no person needs that several), yet car as well as RS Torque Rear are the ones you’ll wish to be in most of the time. The vehicle does a good Jekyll as well as Hyde of being civilised around town and on the freeway, the adaptive dampers always solid however never too crashy, yet when you snap it right into RS setting (either through the 12.3 in touchscreen or the switch on the steering wheel), points really come active, with sharper whatever and also a far more hostile exhaust note.

The world will be a depressing area when we quit developing engines such as this. Loaded with personality thanks to its five-cylinder thrum, it’s sharp-witted and also as punchy as the heading acceleration figure recommend. Include the quattro 4×4 system as well as there aren’t lots of autos for sale that would certainly be as effortlessly quick throughout a moist B-road.

Should I acquire one?
Cars and trucks like these might be right-sized for the typical UK B-road, however they are obtaining pricey. The RS3 drinkery begins at ₤ 51,900, as well as you’ll definitely desire the RS Dynamic pack (₤ 5500), and also the even more fascinating paint colours are ₤ 575. To ensure that’s ₤ 57,975 – a punchy number regardless of how much rate is on deal.

Yet look past that, if you can, and also this is a wonderful enhancement to the pack. It’s taken the standard RS dish of outlandish speed as well as integrated in improved handling – 2 aspects that tick most of our boxes when it comes to efficiency hangouts.

RS3 hatch or hangout? That’s a harder one. There’s no tangible distinction so it simply comes down to personal preference. On that particular basis, I ‘d go saloon.