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Audi RS3 sprints in from $78,900

Go time: Audi's RS3 will arrive in showrooms in October, aimed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG.

270kW/456Nm RS3 dynamo to be Audi's most affordable RS-badged model

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13 Aug 2015

UPDATED: 14/08/2015 AUDI'S scorching RS3 Sportback hatch will lob in Australian dealerships in October with a $78,900 plus on-road costs starting price, about $3000 more than its Mercedes A45 AMG hot hatch rival.

The potent RS3 undercuts its higher-riding RS Q3 crossover stablemate by $3000 to become the most affordable RS-badged model in Audi's Australian range.

It is also $17,800 dearer than the previous A3 performance flagship, the S3, which kicks off from $61,100 in five-door Sportback guise.

Speaking at the launch of the new Audi Sport brand, which encompasses the entire RS range, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle told GoAuto the new RS3 would be the company's most popular RS model to date.

“The interest already is quite amazing,” he said. “I think by far it will be the best selling RS car we've ever brought to Australia.” With its sub-$80,000 price, Mr Doyle explained that the new model would offer a way for aspiring RS owners to get into the Audi Sport brand, but a majority of customers would be existing owners of high-end hot hatches.

“There's a very big appetite from existing S3 owners and other hot hatch owners that are looking for something special in that segment.

“I'm always a bit funny about using the term hot hatch because the Sportback really is such a practical car as well.” Powering the German pocket rocket is Audi's 2.5-litre TFSI five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, pumping out 270kW and 465Nm. The engine is a revised version of the unit from the outgoing TT RS and RS Q3, and is matched with a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission driving all four wheels via the quattro all-wheel-drive system.

This makes for a zero-to-100km/h sprint time of 4.3 seconds, which pips Benz's 265kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder A45 AMG beast by 0.1s.

The RS3 also outpaces its stablemates, the RS Q3's by 0.9s and 210kW/380Nm S3 sibling by 0.7s.

Audi has fitted the RS3 with LED headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights, 19-inch alloy wheels, MMI navigation 'plus' with MMI touch, DAB+ digital radio, Audi Music Interface with Bluetooth streaming, dual-zone climate control with digital display and rear airvents, and a leather/Alcantara-wrapped multifunction three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel with aluminium shift paddles all as standard.

Safety gear includes a reversing camera as a part or parking assist system, Audi Side Assist, an anti-theft alarm and a convenience key.

The also gets RS front and rear bumpers, side sill trims and diffuser insert, plus an RS-tuned suspension, an RS exhaust system with dual oval tailpipes and special sports front seats with electric lumbar support.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the RS3 Sportback delivered “uncompromising performance”, and added that it should have an impact on the local performance hatch market.

“With its imposing stance on the road, astonishingly good dynamics and distinctively ‘Audi Sport’ five-cylinder engine, the new RS3 will undoubtedly make a strong mark on the local hot hatch scene,” he said.

“The sharp pricing and specification we’ve negotiated will ensure that this long-awaited performance model will find the success it deserves in this competitive market.” Audi is officially launching its Audi Sport brand this week which will be pitched as a rival to Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M performance sub-brands.

S and RS sales in Australia have increased year on year, with the German car-maker recording more than 2700 registrations of performance-honed Audis last year, and increase of about 190 per cent over its 2013 result. The RS Q3 was the best-selling RS variant in its line-up last year.

While Audi is yet to confirm its existence, the car-maker is believed to be working on a booted version of the RS3 to sit above the S3 sedan in its line-up.

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