Audi RS3 Saloon Review & Prices
The Audi RS3 Saloon is a better-looking and more practical version of the RS3 hatchback. It has an incredibly exciting engine and is devastatingly rapid on a twisty back road, but it’s not as fun as some alternatives
What's not so good
Find out more about the Audi RS3 Saloon
A 2023 carwow Buy It Award winner, the Audi RS3 Saloon is the sort of hot hatchback that you’d buy if you, well, didn’t really want to buy an actual hot hatchback. So in a way, you could say that it’s a bit like a treadmill: you can still go for a run even if - for whatever reason - you might not feel like going outside.
Anyway, this saloon is effectively the exact same car as the wickedly fast Audi RS3 Sportback, only with a classier (and not to mention more practical) exterior design. As a result, it goes up against alternatives such as the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S, and the BMW M240i - both of which are awesome cars in their own right.
Up front, there’s obviously no change to the way it looks - it’s still all aggressive bumpers and tightly packed, flared wheel arches. But instead of a slightly stumpy-looking hatchback rear end, you get a proper saloon car boot.
In the back, however, things are a bit different. Legroom is decent enough for adults to sit comfortably, but if you’re on the taller side you might feel a touch cramped. The saloon also has slightly less headroom than the RS3 Sportback. You claw back a fair bit of additional boot space, though: where the RS3 Sportback makes do with a pitiful 282-litre load bay, the saloon gets an increase to 321 litres.
Under the bonnet, the RS3 Saloon packs the same fantastic 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine as you get in the Sportback. It kicks out a hefty 400hp and 500Nm, which is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. That considerable punch is enough to rocket the RS3 from 0-60mph in just 3.8 seconds. Phwoar.
The Audi RS3 is a properly quick and exciting sports car, and the sharper looks and bigger boot of the saloon model make it my pick of the range.
So it’s plenty quick enough then, and the soundtrack that accompanies that massive acceleration is properly wicked too. So it’s a bit of a pain to find that the automatic gearbox can be super jerky. At low speeds through town, it’ll shunt and stutter its way through shifts pretty regularly, which doesn’t exactly make for smooth progress.
On the motorway you can set the adaptive cruise control to take the strain out of longer journeys (it’ll automatically match the speed of the car in front of you and maintain a safe distance), and though there’s a bit of road and wind noise, it’s never exhausting.
But it’s on a twisting back road that the RS3 is really in its element. Not only is it devastatingly quick, but its four-wheel drive system means it sticks to the road like a scandal sticks to a politician. Alternatives such as the BMW M240i and Mercedes A45 S feel a bit sharper and more exciting still, but there’s still fun to be had here.
All in, the RS3 Saloon is a fantastic little hot hatch that packs a huge punch. It might have a pretty hefty appetite for fuel (expect to see an average economy figure of between 20-25mpg), but again, that sort of comes with the territory.
If this high-performance Audi sounds like it might be right up your street, head on over to our RS3 Saloon deals page to see how much you can save when you buy a car through carwow.
The Audi RS3 Saloon has a RRP range of £55,050 to £64,150. The price of a used Audi RS3 Saloon on carwow starts at £48,950.