2021 Audi RS3 hatchback and saloon getting closer to launch
Next-generation Audi RS3 hot hatchback will have more power to take on 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S
- RS3 will be available as a saloon and hatchback
- Likely to feature same 2.5-litre petrol engine as current car but with more power
- Expected to be revealed in next few months
The new Audi RS3 hot hatchback has been spotted in development again, this time with less camouflage than before. We expect the car’s lengthy pre-production process is coming to an end, with the full reveal likely in the next few months. As seen in these photos, you’ll be able to order either a five-door hatchback or a four-door saloon.
Wearing less of a disguise than before, it’s clear that the RS3 will stand out from a normal Audi A3. There’s a big roof spoiler, two large exhausts and swollen wheel arches, plus sporty bumpers. The nose will also feature a meshed grille pattern and a splitter to channel airflow. This car looks to have bigger wheels than the Audi S3, which comes with 18-inch alloys as standard and 19-inch versions as an option.
Power will increase over the outgoing model to compete more closely with the 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S, and prices will reflect that - the new RS3 is likely to cost almost £50,000.
Not only will you be able to choose between saloon or hatchback, but there’s likely to be a choice of specifications too. Judging by the Audi RS Q3 SUV, we expect a base version to be joined by Sport Edition and Vorsprung models, with increasing levels of equipment. The mid-range model may have tinted, upgraded LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and a sports exhaust, while the Vorsprung trim has featured carbon-fibre touches, an upgraded sound system and a Driver Assistance pack elsewhere in the Audi range.
Rumours suggest the 2021 Audi RS3 may stick with the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine fitted to the current car and the Cupra Formentor VZ5. Audi has confirmed that it won’t be developing any new petrol engines, instead tweaking existing units to make them meet the latest emissions regulations. Once again, Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and an automatic gearbox will be fitted as standard.
The current RS3 has just under 400bhp but we expect the new version to have well over that. For the past few years, Audi and Mercedes have fought to have the most powerful hot hatchback on sale, and the 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S currently wears the crown. As a result, the new RS3 is likely to have even more power. Its 0-62mph time should be reduced by a couple of tenths of a second as a result, bringing it below four seconds.
Inside, almost everything has changed from the previous A3. There’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted in the dashboard that’s slanted towards the driver, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit is fitted as standard and most parts have been redesigned from the old A3.
The RS3’s interior will be marked out from the standard A3 with Alcantara suede-like upholstery, red contrasting stitching, specific RS graphics for the two screens and aluminium pedals. As for optional extras, we expect the brochure to include a sports exhaust and adaptive suspension.