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Audi RS3 Sportback hatchback (2015-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

The Audi RS3 is sensationally quick, with fast and direct steering, but not quite the ultimate driver's car

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.6 out of 5

Audi sports suspension has a reputation for being uncomfortably firm at times and the Audi RS3 can feel a little harsh when the road's surface breaks up. Refinement is fine on smooth tarmac, but given the state of many UK roads, we’d recommend forking out for the optional adaptive dampers.

Most RS3 buyers will be more concerned with performance, handling and a sense of occasion than ultimate comfort. Selecting Dynamic mode with the Drive Select button is particularly fun with the optional sports exhaust system fitted, as the car provides a snarling soundtrack when you step on the accelerator.

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The steering is fast and direct and body control is excellent when you drive smoothly. But pushing the car hard in corners and changing direction at speed will make it understeer, much like the old RS3 did. The quattro four-wheel-drive system provides huge amounts of grip, but it’s not the ultimate set-up for driving entertainment. Accomplished drivers will find the BMW M2 more fun, but the RS3 is an appealing car for all-weather confidence.

Audi RS3 petrol engine

The 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the Audi RS3 has 362bhp and delivers maximum pulling power low down in the rev range, so massive performance is available whenever you want it. The car can get from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds.

Sadly for driving enthusiasts, there’s no manual gearbox available with the RS3, but the seven-speed automatic is super-smooth and changes gears seamlessly. This means that despite its sporty nature, the RS3 is as easy to live with around town as a normal A3 hatchback.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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