ABT – the family-owned German engineering firm that has been tinkering with Audis, Golfs and other Volkswagen Group performance cars for yonks – is known for pushing stock engines to their absolute limits. The firm already squeezed an extra 59bhp out of the already quick 395bhp Audi RS3 hot hatch earlier this year, but that’s now been eclipsed by the even more powerful, even more aggressive 493bhp RS3-R Sportback.
So how has ABT managed to force almost 100bhp more out of the standard car’s turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine? The RS3-R has a new intercooler, presumably to stop the power unit from exploding with all of this newfound power, alongside an upgraded ECU with a custom remap. The result? The RS3-R can accelerate from standstill to 62mph in just 3.3 seconds, a whole half-second quicker than the standard car. That’s faster than a V10 Audi R8.
ABT didn’t stop with the engine, though. The RS3-R also features a new glossy carbon fibre aero package, which includes carbon elements at the front and rear end, carbon details on the mirror caps and, of course, a carbon rear spoiler. The RS3-R rides on ABT-branded 20-inch forged wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport R tyres, helping the roadgoing racer put every one of its 493 mechanical horses down to the road. A new stainless steel exhaust system with matt black double-tipped pipes has also been installed, along with new suspension springs and stabiliser bars.
The standard car is electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph (300km/h), but those who dare to go faster can have this limit increased to 186mph with the help of the myABT smartphone app. The app also enables the car’s owner to change the vehicle’s performance characteristics from Eco to Sport or Race. The driver can also examine performance data such as the engine’s current power output, coolant temperature and intake air temperature through the app.
If the ABT RS3-R takes your fancy, you’d better act quickly, as the beefed-up hatchback is limited to just 200 units and ABT isn’t expecting them to hang around. Pricing details are yet to be announced but expect a notable increase over the standard Audi RS3’s baseline cost of around £53,000 ($63,379.68).