We drove a $67,000 Audi RS3 and found that it's a 400-horsepower speed demon designed to take on the best from BMW and Mercedes

Audi RS3 Sedan

  • The Audi RS3 is one of the latest offerings from the German luxury brand’s Audi Sport performance division.
  • Audi Sport is cashing in on its racing success with a series of performance models wearing the „R“ and „RS“ designation.
  • The RS3 is based on Audi’s subcompact A3 sedan, and it’s the most affordable way to get your hands on a new Audi Sport model in the United States.
  • It’s a direct rival for the BMW M2 and the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45.
  • The 2018 Audi RS3 starts at $54,900 and is powered by a 400-horsepower, 2.5-liter, turbocharged five-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz has AMG. BMW has its M cars. Porsche has, well, Porsche. 

All of the aforementioned represent the pinnacle of German performance motoring. But there’s another member of this club that, until recently, had taken a lower-profile approach to things: Audi Sport.

In the modern era of motorsports, there are few organizations that have had as much success as Audi Sport, from the heights of the World Rally Championships and the iconic Audi Quattro to the grueling 24 hours of the Le Mans endurance sports-car race. At Le Mans, Audi’s racing prototypes lost just twice during a 15-year stretch between 2000 and 2014.

In spite of its on-the-track dominance, Audi Sport hasn’t become the marking juggernaut like its fellow German performance brands. This is especially the case in the realm of production cars, where AMG, M Sport, and Porsche are household names. 

„We spent so much on the authenticity of Audi Sport and the racing of Audi Sport that we forgot to commercialize Audi Sport and take advantage of the success we’ve had,“ Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, told us in a 2016 interview. „Our competitors have done a smart job of putting more focus into turning out more M cars and AMGs.“

A couple of years ago, Audi decided to finally cash in on its racing success through a new line of Audi Sport-produced, high-performance models bearing the „R“ and „RS“ monikers. 

In the United States, the most affordable way to get your hands on one of Audi Sport’s hot rod RS cars is the Audi RS3. We were fortunate enough to spend a week with the Teutonic speedster earlier this year. 

The 2018 Audi RS3 2.5T quattro S tronic sedan starts at $54,900 in the US. With options, our test car, dressed in a flashy Catalunya Red metallic paint job, left the showroom with an as-tested price of $66,775. 

Here’s a closer look at the Audi RS3 sedan:

SEE ALSO: We drove a gorgeous $160,000 Maserati convertible with a Ferrari engine around LA to see if it’s worth the money — here’s the verdict

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The Audi RS3 debuted for the 2017 model year and is based on the brand’s successful …

… A3 sedan.

It’s also a step up from the mid-grade Audi S3 sedan, which was a finalist for Business Insider’s 2015 Car of the Year Award.

Read our Audi S3 review here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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