If you tend to abide by the mantra that life is too short to drive boring cars—and we do—then the Audi RS3 is a compelling choice. The 401-hp RS3 is the A3 line’s steaming, bubbling, bowl of oatmeal. Next to it the base 201-hp A3 is cold mush and even the 306-hp S3 is only lukewarm porridge. The RS3’s turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine pumps out 369 pound-feet of heat to go along with its impressive herd of ponies and sends it to all four wheels through a quick-shifting seven-speed dual clutch automatic and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. The RS3’s exterior design, interior layout, and aerodynamic aids ooze a strong sense of bad-boy energy. It’s a clear message that’s backed up by the RS3’s exceptional acceleration, deceleration, agility, stability, and driving thrills.
What’s New for 2023?
The Audi RS3 was all-new in 2022 and is a carryover from the 2022 model year, meaning it receives no changes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The 2023 RS3 is available in a single trim level with relatively few options. If we were to spec our own, we’d splurge for the Daytona Gray Pearl Effect paint which would pair nicely with the carbon fiber goodies included in the Carbon Package. We’d also opt for the available RS Technology Package—mainly for the Bang & Olufsen Sound System—as well as the RS Sport exhaust system with black tips and Pirelli P Zero Troffer R summer tires.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
One of the most distinct elements of the RS3 is its unusual five-cylinder engine, which Audi geeks know harks back to the brand’s Group B rally cars and many of its streetable models of the past. The engine’s odd number of cylinders gives it a unique thrumming soundtrack that was particularly pleasing on the outgoing model and remains so in this new one. The latest iteration is again a turbocharged 2.5-liter and it now makes 401 horsepower, seven more than in the previous RS3. The engine pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that that delivers quick upshifts but grabbing quick downshifts in spirited driving is best done with the paddle shifters. Its standard all-wheel-drive system includes a torque-vectoring rear differential with a drift mode. Compared with the lesser A3 and S3, the sportiest 3 has upgraded brakes, a bunch of revised chassis components, a stiffer suspension setup, and a unique set of wheels with stickier performance tires. The RS3 we drove produced exhilarating sounds, and the car’s feisty nature was evident at the racetrack. Plus, it was composed and comfortable when driven sedately on regular roads—through it hums with an undercurrent of urgency you can feel at all speeds. At our test track, we recorded a blisteringly-quick 3.3-second run to 60 mph and the RS3 eclipsed the quarter-mile mark in just 11.8 seconds at 117 mph.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Since no changes were made to the RS3, we expect it retain its EPA ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for the 2023 model year. On our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the 2022 RS3 outperformed its EPA estimate with a 33 mpg result. For more information about the RS3’s fuel economy, visit the EPA website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the RS3’s passenger space is identical to the A3 and S3, but it has a set of more aggressively bolstered front seats. Audi endows all versions with a dashboard that looks anything but bland. A pair of high-mounted air vents face the driver and flank the instrument panel binnacle that houses a set of digital gauges. The RS3 is also available with a heads-up display. Below the center touchscreen are climate controls with physical buttons, and there’s a bin below them that’s integrated into the center console. Unfortunately, drivers have to select gears via a weird, stubby shifter; paddles on the steering wheel are an alternative once the RS3 is in motion.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Based on the infotainment system employed by the A3 and S3, the RS3 has a 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted in the middle of the dash. It can be controlled through touch inputs, buttons on the steering wheel, and voice commands. It also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Built-in navigation, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging are on the roster, too.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The RS3 offers a mix of standard driver-assistance technology as well as options such as adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights. For more information about the Audi’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi’s limited and powertrain warranty are competitive with other German automakers.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Audi RS3
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $59,995/$65,440
Options: RS Technology package (Audi Navigation Plus, Bang & Olufsen sound system, head-up display), $2750; RS sport exhaust, $1000; Black Optic Plus package (19-inch matte black wheels, summer tires, black Audi badges and roof), $750; Kemora Gray metallic paint, $595; side and rear cross traffic assist, $350
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve inline-5, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 151 in3, 2480 cm3
Power: 401 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.8-in vented, cross-drilled disc/12.2-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4
F: 265/30ZR-19 (93Y) AO
R: 245/35ZR-19 (93Y) AO
Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Length: 178.8 in
Width: 72.9 in
Height: 55.6 in
Passenger Volume: 87 ft3
Trunk Volume: 8 ft3
Curb Weight: 3639 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.3 sec
100 mph: 8.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.8 sec @ 117 mph
130 mph: 15.0 sec
150 mph: 22.1 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 159 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 336 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.94 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 22 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 33 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 470 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 23/20/29 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs