Audi's Fastest Sedan, the RS3, Finally Hits the U.S.

Credit: Audi

Audi is finally unleashing its smallest, fastest sedan on the U.S. with the RS3. This beast can do zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, has a 400 horsepower, and lists at a MSRP from $54,900. Read on to check some of the RS3's awesome features.

ENGINE

Why should you even consider buying Audi’s smallest sedan, which stickers at close to 60 grand? The answer, of course, is under the hood, where a 2.5-liter, inline-5 powerplant—an absolute rarity these days—provides a velvety smooth burst of power. At ignition, it burbles to life with an aural signature that’s a sotto voce impression of a V10 supercar’s— à la the Audi R8 or Lamborghini Gallardo. Click to “dynamic” mode and its exhaust pops and cackles as you cool off toward a stop. So if you wish to sneak into your subdivision discreetly, consider another car. 

PERFORMANCE

We thrashed the RS3 on serpentine Ohio byways, where its all-wheel delivery and staggered stance, with wider tires in front, proved sublimely sticky. The world of performance cars has become loaded with overpowerful, 700-plus-hp beasts, including electrics and hybrids, that can’t be enjoyed on public roads. But the RS3’s instant oomph (maximum torque hits at just 1,750 rpm) and 400 horses aren’t too powerful for its compact frame—or your daily commute. With its seven-speed dual- clutch automatic, it’s just immensely pleasurable to drive. 

DESIGN

Riotously fun compact cars generally look like they were styled by a designer who was three Monster Energy tallboys into the morning. But the Audi RS3 has just the right number of cues that this is no ordinary sedan, from the matte oversize hexagonal grill up front to the burnished-aluminum mirrors on its sides. Equally restrained is the interior, where cobra-shaped racing seats and a flat-bottomed wheel are built for performance—but the rear sight lines are easy, and the back seat is spacious enough so a trip to day care isn’t a chore.