The practice to turn small family vehicles into performance beasts is common nowadays, and the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the perfect example. However, some automakers think that they can do better than that. Some of the vehicles such as Mercedes-AMG A45 and CLA45, 2018 Audi RS3 and BMW M2 now come with incredible power and performance figures and this used to be the domain of models only the wealthy people could afford. Turning a small light car into a really fast one is not an exact science, and the carmakers started using the latest technologies in order to keep these vehicles straight and narrow.
The newest RS3 resembles the 2017 model with several enhancements and the opportunity for the buyers to opt for a sedan and the Sportback. The 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine is carried over, but it has additional 33 horsepower, and it is paired with a seven-speed S-Tronic double-clutch transmission that sends power to all four wheels. To be more precise, the RS3’s engine produces 400 hp, which means that it is better than the M2’s unit that is good for 370 hp and A45’s powerplant rated at 381 hp.
The aluminum block has replaced the graphite iron on the engine resulting in the weight loss which further means that the dynamics of the car are sharpened. Audi improved the interior as well, but if you believe that you get a fully equipped RS3 for £45,000, you are wrong, because there are some optional features that you cannot do without. On the outside, the black chrome details are perfectly combined with the green paint which gives this car a subdued look. Also, the Titanium package adds silver accents which make the large grille and massive air intakes prominent.
The rear end incorporates the diffuser that is located under the bumper, with drainpipe exhausts coming out on both sides. The car sits on standard 19-inch alloy wheels, which will be disregarded by the majority since the largest ones are expected to be more popular. The sophistication is the best word to describe the 2018 Audi RS3 sedan, which is also fast and classy and equipped with the Audi Virtual Cockpit, one of the best dashboard displays you can find.
Virtual Cockpit is the first thing you see when you step inside, and it sets the tone for the rest of the cabin. There is enough room in the Sportback for four adults of average size, while the sedan has the same amount of space as its predecessor, with the only difference being that its trunk is significantly smaller. The test vehicles come with optional diamond-quilted RS sports seats wrapped in Nappa leather, and they are both supportive and comfortable.
All of the lights feature LEDs which provide better visibility, especially in poor weather conditions. The single turbocharger boosts to 19.6 psi, whereas the launch control sets the scene. You as a driver are able to anticipate the sudden rush off the line, but the passengers are going to be glued to their seats and considering that it takes the RS3 only 4.1 seconds to reach 62 mph, this is not a surprise.
The dual-clutch seven-speed S-Tronic transmission is just a perfect fit, and it is responsive, sharp and shifts in the right moment no matter whether you are cruising down the streets or going at it. The paddle shifts can be fun, but you can also put it in Sport mode and let the computer handle it. Having a sonorous exhaust is essential, and the noise coming from it is just characterful. You can set the exhaust to Dynamic for the sublime sound and if you find yourself watching at the 2018 Audi RS3 going full speed beside you, expect to feel chills down your spine.
The latest version of the AWD Audi comes with a lightened multi-plate clutch and torque vectoring capability making the RS3 equally good on mountain roads and in the city. The new model can launch itself right out of a corner, go fast on the straight line and you can attack the curves at high speeds without losing the control thanks to the stability control system. If you decide to switch it off, you will get something similar to a rear-wheel-drive sports car with tail wiggling and shaking.
Some of the options you need to consider are front ceramic brakes which improve high-speed retardation prowess and Magnetic Ride, that will secure that you have the best possible ride in town and agility on faster road sections. You can also move the top speed limit from 155mph to 174. The 2018 Audi RS3 may lack some of the rawness of the Mercedes, but it is an all-around vehicle, and if you think that the cars like Golf R and Ford Focus RS are not right for you, the RS3 is the way to go.