New Audi RS 3
New Audi RS 3 Sportback
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  • Five-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI engine produces 400PS and 480Nm of torque
  • New RS 3 available in Saloon and Sportback variants
  • 0-60mph in around four seconds, top speed up to 174mph
  • Available to order now – Saloon from £44,300, Sportback from £45,250

 

AUDI seems to have an obsession with creating road-going stealth fighters like the new RS 3 Saloon and Sportback.

This is not a complaint you understand. It’s merely an observation that Audi have a habit of taking a regular car and adding stupendous amounts of power to the mix.

The latest car to receive this treatment is the new RS 3, according to Audi the first car in the compact car segment to break the 400PS barrier. Whether or not this claim is true is largely irrelevant because it’s inevitable the RS 3 will be absolutely brilliant regardless.

The five-door version of the Audi 3 range has been around for quite some time in the familiar Sportback guise. The saloon version is new to the UK but promises much of the same in a car that looks remarkably similar to the A4 but is ever so slightly smaller.

New Audi RS 3 Saloon
RS 3 is equally impressive in Saloon version

Regardless of which particular shape takes your fancy, if you are in the market for a massively powerful and practical car for business use then this could be the option you’ve been waiting for.

The new Audi RS 3 is noticeably wider than the standard car with flared wheel arches and 19-inch wheels. The RS-specific honeycomb grille, side skirts, and rear spoiler add to the sense of power.

As you would expect from Audi the interior is immaculate too. Leather sports seats, RS sports steering wheel, and stainless steel pedals add to the performance feel. You also get the exceptional Virtual Cockpit and Audi connect with Apple and Android connectivity as standard.

If you feel like showing off a bit you can also opt for the upgraded Nappa leather super sports seats and the RS Design pack with contrasting red stitching around the cabin. The completely superfluous but highly desirable Audi Beam feature that projects the RS insignia onto the ground when you open or close the doors is also an option.

New Audi RS 3 interior
Audi interior impressive as always

Both Saloon and Sportback versions utilise the same five-cylinder, lightweight aluminium engine up front and both have Quattro all-wheel-drive as standard. The 2.5-litre TFSI petrol engine generates 400PS – that’s just shy of 395bhp in old money – and it uses this power to push the RS 3 to 60mph in just four seconds. In standard guise the RS 3 is electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph, but if you ask nicely Audi will remove the limiter and increase this figure to a hefty 174mph.

We know you can’t actually travel at 174mph in the UK, at least not legally, but that’s still quite a boast to be able to make. You also get the benefit of knowing you could beat almost everything away from the lights and they would never see it coming.

If you do opt for the increased top speed might we also suggest you go for the optional upgrades that offer what Audi describe as “the most intense RS experience”? These include an RS sports exhaust, RS sports suspension with Audi Magnetic ride, and the carbon ceramic brake package.

Clearly this level of performance will carry a premium in terms of company car tax but exactly what that may be we are yet to learn. While Audi are happy to inform anyone who cares to listen just how powerful the RS 3 will be, they are slightly more reticent when it comes to economy and emissions figures.

If we ignore that fact for a moment – or forever if you are more interested in the sheer power – the RS 3 still represents a reasonably affordable option. With prices starting from around the £45k mark we can’t describe it as cheap, but the levels of performance on offer from the RS 3 are usually found in a price bracket quite a few steps up the ladder.

If you are happy to take the inevitable hit to your tax code then the new RS 3 is potentially one of the best options for a high-performance company car currently available in the UK.

 

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