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Friday, December 12, 2014

Audi Excites with 367HP RS 3 Sportback


rs3 audi sportback photo

At 292 horsepower, there is no denying that the Audi S3 is a hot car. But the engineers at Audi must have thought otherwise, because they’ve added a new head to the household in the form of the 2015 RS 3 Sportback.

 It boasts five cylinders, record-breaking power, and a zero to 60 mph time that inches toward supercar territory. We’d like one quite badly.

Sadly though, it isn’t immediately clear whether this hottest of hot hatches will even make a US debut, in hatchback or sedan configurations. But considering its face-melting performance, here are a few reasons why you’ll want one.

rs3 audi sportback photo rearview

First of all – that engine. Audi peels a page from its history books and slots one of its legendary five-cylinder engines underneath the hood (the 2.5-liter TFSI mill). Only this time it wields 367 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque.

 That makes it the most powerful RS five-cylinder in Audi history, and with a screaming zero to 60mph sprint of 4.2 seconds, one of the fastest hatches money can buy. Top speed is pegged at 155 mph, but Audi can raise that to 174 mph if you so choose.

It ought to sound good, too. The five-cylinder retains its throaty 1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 3 firing order and rockets those gases through a new sport exhaust system. Valves downwind of the muffler can be adjusted by the Audi drive select system, allowing you to dial-up the noise on demand.

rs3 audi sportback photo sideview

The power gets shuffled to the ground via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and Audi’s calling card Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Press your foot down hard, heave at the wheel, and the RS 3 can vector between 50 and 100 percent of that torque to the rear wheels.

Carbon ceramic front brakes, 19-inch wheels, grippy rubber, and a taut RS sport suspension ensure that the 3,351-pound German five-door (around 121 lbs. lighter than its predecessor) can handle itself in the corners. It’s hard to fault it on looks – not a bad shape. The RS 3 Sportback goes on sale next summer in Europe … we’ll be waiting to hear about a US-bound version.