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Audi adds RS3 Sportback at $80k

Hatched: Audi’s RS3 Sportback joins the RS3 sedan in Australian showrooms.

Ripped Audi RS3 Sportback undercuts sedan equivalent by $4000

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Audi logo29 Nov 2017

JUST in time for Christmas, Audi has landed the new-generation hatchback version of its potent RS3 small car in Australia where it joins the sedan equivalent that arrived in June.

Powered by the same new 294kW/480Nm 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine as the sedan, the RS3 Sportback has – as expected – been priced $4000 below the $84,900 sedan, at $80,900 plus on-road costs.

However, this represents a $2284 price hike over the superseded hatch, and also makes it more expensive than its main rival, Mercedes-AMG’s $78,611 A45.

With a queue already formed for the latest RS3 Sportback, Audi Australia expects the new variant to give a sales fillip to its A3 range which, although it still leads the luxury small car segment this year, is down 17.7 per cent on last year.

Traditionally, the RS3 accounts for about one in four A3 sales in Australia.

Although the new RS3 sedan will have attracted a number of Audi hot small car customers, Audi still expects the Sportback to be the dominant partner now that it has arrived in this market where hatchbacks rule.

Mechanically, the RS3 Sportback is nearly identical to the RS3 sedan. Apart from the wicked new aluminium-block five-cylinder engine, the Sportback gets a new, lighter seven-speed dual-clutch transmission driving all four wheels through Audi’s proprietary Quattro all-wheel-drive system that employs an electro-hydraulic clutch to distribute the torque where it is needed most. In hard driving, the torque split favours the rear wheels.

Both RS3 variants scurry from zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds – 0.2s faster than the superseded RS3 Sportback and a tenth of a second under the 2.0-litre AMG A45’s 4.2s.

Top speed is governed to 250km/h, unless the customer asks the dealer for a tweak to unleash the 280km/h beast within.

The engine is 26kg lighter than before but generates 24kW more power, making it the most powerful five-cylinder production car engine in captivity.

For drivers who want the full five-cylinder barking experience, a button inside the cabin unleashes active baffles in the muffler of the sports exhaust.

Fuel economy for the RS3 sedan and hatch is the same at 8.4 litres per 100km.

The RS3 Sportback also uses the same eight-piston brake callipers on the front 370mm ventilated discs as the sedan, as well as 310mm discs at the rear.

RS sport suspension is standard, but buyers can tick the box for an optional magnetic ride set up that adjusts the dampers automatically to keep the RS3 flat and planted in the corners and during braking.

The magnetic dampers are included in an optional $5900 RS performance pack that also adds a 705-Watt 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, carbon-fibre interior inlays and a choice of four special Audi Sport wheel designs to replace the standard 19-inch wheels with 235/35 tyres.

Apart from the macho body treatment that comes standard with each RS3, standard equipment includes LED headlights, 12.3-inch digital instrument display, sat-nav, 10GB hard drive, 10-speaker sound system, connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot, DAB+ digital radio, parking system plus with rearview camera and tyre pressure monitoring.

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