Audi has released details of its new RS3 Saloon at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. This new model takes the A3 Saloon’s body and adds an aggressive new look and a raft of mechanical upgrades to help it compete with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45.
Not only will this new car be the first A3 Saloon to wear an RS badge, but it’s the first model in the facelifted A3 range to be fitted with the upgraded 400hp version of the TTRS’ 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. Read on for full details…
The RS3 Saloon looks just as aggressive as the outgoing RS3 Sportback thanks to its pair of angular headlights, numerous gaping air intakes and swollen wheelarches. The bootlid has been fitted with a subtle spoiler, too, while the rear bumper features a contrasting black diffuser above two large oval exhaust tips.
All RS3 Saloons come with LED headlights as standard but drivers after an even clearer view of the road ahead can specify optional matrix LED units that can blank out part of their beams to avoid dazzling oncoming cars.
The interior has been given a racy makeover, too. Its flat-bottomed steering wheel comes with a tell-tale RS badge while contrasting stitching and bright red air vent surrounds help make sure your passengers don’t mistake this for a standard A3 Saloon.
This is also the first high-performance A3 to be fitted with the latest version of the TTRS’ 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This lightweight five-cylinder unit produces 400hp – enough to blast the new range-topping saloon to 62mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds and on to an electronically limited 174mph top speed.
This engine will drive the wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox and Audi’s famed quattro four-wheel-drive system. Selectable drive modes allow you to choose between comfort and dynamic settings as well as alter the position of special flaps in the exhaust to amplify or soften the engine’s burbling five-cylinder tone.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display will be fitted as standard to all RS3 Saloons, as will a WiFi hotspot and Audi’s Phone Box system – a wireless charger for your smartphone that can also boost its signal using the car’s built-in aerial. A new traffic-jam assist feature is also offered that can steer for you in slow moving traffic – perfect for rush hour.
New Audi RS3 Saloon price and release date
Audi hasn’t confirmed how much the new RS3 Saloon will cost but, when it goes on sale in 2017, we expect entry-level models to set you back approximately £43,000.
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New Audi RS3 Saloon price, specs and release date (updated July 2016)
Images of the new Audi RS3 Saloon undergoing testing have appeared on the GT Spirit website. These photos appear to confirm the new saloon will sport similarly aggressive styling to the current RS3 Sportback, with a number of revised features. Read on for more details on this new Mercedes AMG CLA 45 and BWW M2 rival.
The video below from Automotive Mike shows the RS3 hurtling around the Nurburgring. You can clearly hear the wail from its five-cylinder engine.
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The new RS3 Saloon in these images features a camouflage vinyl wrap to disguise its bodywork, but we can see the new headlights from the recently facelifted A3 hiding beneath. New larger air intakes at the front and two oval exhausts at the rear set this car apart from the standard model, however.
We expect the RS3 Saloon to be powered by the same 362hp 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine as the current RS3 hatchback and the new TT RS sports car. It could, however, benefit from a slight power boost to allow it to compete more closely with the likes of the 381hp Mercedes AMG CLA 45.
The interior should receive a number of sporty touches, including a flat-bottomed steering wheel, Alcantara trim and RS badging. Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit system will probably make an appearance, too.
No official details have been announced, but we expect the new RS3 Saloon to go on sale in late 2017 priced roughly between £40,000 and £45,000. Check back for regular updates and new images as they become available.
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Audi RS3 Saloon latest news (updated February 2016)
A grainy spy shot leaked on Audi enthusiast site, QuattroWorld’s instagram feed clearly shows the brand is readying a Saloon version of the Audi RS3 hot hatch. In addition, it shows the car fitted with the updated front end that’s expected to feature across the facelifted A3 range.
Compared to the existing RS3 Sportback estate, the RS3 Saloon will feature the new four-door bodystyle thought to be more closely aimed at the American market. This will now be the most powerful model in the A3 Saloon range, eclipsing the 296hp S3 Saloon. The car will also feature a power upgrade to beat rivals including the Mercedes-AMG A45 and BMW M2.
The revised front end now features some styling cues inspired by the latest A4. The most obvious change is the headlights that now have the lower kink featured in the A4’s units. The new car’s grille has been widened and is more obviously hexagonal than the pre-facelift model and the lower air intakes have also been restyled.
Powering the RS3 Saloon will be the existing 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder petrol engine with a potential power hike to around 400hp – the current RS3 hatch makes 362hp. The engine will power all four wheels via a double-clutch automatic gearbox and the latest version of the company’s quattro four-wheel-drive system.
Inside, the new car will carry over much of the regular RS3’s features including the flat-bottomed steering wheel and carbon fibre trim. The seven-speed automatic gearbox will be controlled by either the gear lever or paddles behind the wheel. Audi’s MMI infotainment system will see some updates but will still be controlled by a dial on the centre console.
We expect the RS3 Saloon to go on sale in late 2017 – along with the refreshed A3 range. Prices could be around £40,000-45,000 – a small increase compared to the £38,500 RS3 Sportback.
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If you can’t wait for the RS3 Saloon, check out the 300hp Audi S3 Saloon or the 362hp Audi RS3 Sportback. Search for either on our new car deals page to see the discounts on offer. If you’re not sold on this speedy Audi, head over to our car chooser to narrow down your search.