In its continuing fight with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, the new RS3 packs 395bhp and a dedicated drift mode for doing sick skidz. It’s three-tenths of a second quicker than the Audi RS3 you see in these pictures, hitting 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 180mph (if you tick the right option box).
Except it starts at over £50,000, which is a lot of money for a hot hatch, and you’d probably want a few tasty options on top of that. Not to mention the cost of a remap to get it over the magic 400bhp threshold. Previous-generation RS3 prices have now dropped to around half the price of the new one, and it’s not like you’re missing out on an awful lot of performance.
It’s the same five-pot 2.5-litre engine, the same gearbox and the same four-wheel-drive system, and the car’s 362bhp is more than enough to get from zero to licence-threatening speeds in no time at all.
This one we’ve picked out is pretty understated: it’s a five-door Sportback model in Daytona Grey, with gunmetal wheels and dark exhaust tips. There aren’t grilles upon grilles, there’s no big spoiler and the wheel arches aren’t even that flared, so it could easily be mistaken for any old A3.
Inside it’s not quite as modern as the very latest car, but this interior is still used in the Audi Q2 so it’s hardly an outdated cabin. While you miss out on the snazzy Virtual Cockpit, the kit list is extensive with sat nav, Nappa leather and LED headlights all fitted.
The example we’ve picked out is one of the cheapest RS3s that’s not high-mileage or hasn’t previously been written off. It has a very palatable 56,000 miles on the clock, and apparently all those miles were covered by one owner. The only thing that might put us off is the mention of part service history, which isn’t ideal and would need a little more digging. At least it comes with 11 months’ MOT, and has never had an advisory in previous MOTs.
What do you think of this Audi RS3? Tell us in the comments.