They’re really making hay at Audi Sport while the sun is still shining; following the R8 GT, TT RS Iconic Edition and RS4 Competition, there’s now the RS3 Performance edition. And fret not - this special Audi is far more along the Competition and GT line of improvement than it is the Iconic way of thinking.
There’s a tiny bit more power, for starters, the turbocharger of the 2.5-litre inline-five turned up a tad to 1.6 bar (from 1.5) to help generate 407hp. It’s produced a little higher up the rev range, too, from 5,700-7,000rpm. With an unchanged 369lb ft, the Performance is capable of 186mph, which seems like madness in an A3. The 0-62mph sprint takes 3.8 seconds. Furthermore, because Audi knows its customers better than anyone, the RS Sports exhaust has a new centre silencer and will make more noise revving when stationary in the Dynamic, RS Performance and RS Torque Rear Mode. You’ll mock now, and be desperate for more five-cylinder yobbery in a few years’ time…
A fast Audi given more power, more noise and Nogaro Blue paint is nothing new, though. It’s page one of the Plus/Performance/Competition handbook. However, there is a little more to this RS3 than meets the eye. It gets the ceramic brakes and adaptive damper control as standard, plus the Pirelli Trofeo R tyres that are normally an option in markets other than the UK as well. It’s all the options thrown at a very capable RS3, basically, which doesn’t sound like a bad place to start for a limited edition model.
The wheels are unique to the Performance, too, as is the ‘300’ light signature that takes the place of the ‘RS3’ one. There is also a ‘RSperformance’ entrance LED, although that’s probably all you need to know about that.
Every RS3 Performance gets these stunning bucket seats as standard, and presumably keeps the blue accents regardless of exterior colour - Arrow Grey, Daytona Grey, Glacier White and Sebring Black are also offered. Unique to this model will be the background image on the infotainment screen, which ‘shows the characteristic 2.5 TFSI 1-2-4-5-3 firing sequence’. And sounds almost as bad as the entrance LED. But look at the extra carbon.
Audi will build 300 examples of the 300km/h RS3 for 2023, and hasn’t announced how that will be split between the four- and five-door models. It has confirmed, however, that none will come to the UK, citing ‘production constraints’ - boo. Given how warmly the current RS3 has been received, and that the TT makes it here with a production run a third the size, that’s disappointing. Console yourself with the foreknowledge that it would have been awfully pricey: in Germany an RS3 Performance edition is €75,000 as a hatch or €77,000 for the saloon, currently £64,600 and £66,400. But it does look awfully good in Nogaro Blue…
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