2017 Audi RS 3

2017 Audi RS 3 Sedan Review

With more than twice the power of the A3, the RS 3 has the potential for greatness.
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Start with a class-leading entry-level luxury sedan like the Audi A3. Double the power output with a 400-horsepower turbocharged five-cylinder engine and upgrade the brakes and suspension to match. Sound like a good idea? Yes, we think so, too. The best part is, this idea has been realized in the 2017 Audi RS 3.

It benefits from all of the smart design and tech from the A3, giving it the kind of performance we're used to pulling out of dedicated sports cars costing much much more. With this in mind, the only real direct competitor is the BMW M2, which happens to be a staff favorite. The RS 3 does have it beat on paper with more power and all-wheel drive, so to say we're excited to test it for ourselves is an understatement. These cars have the makings of an epic shootout.



what's new

The Audi RS 3 has been available in other markets for a few years, but it's finally here in the U.S., to the delight of American performance enthusiasts.

we recommend

The 2017 Audi RS 3 only comes in one trim level, so you only have to decide on options. The Technology package adds some of the newest and coolest features, and the Dynamic package should push the performance ceiling higher. We'd probably skip the Dynamic Plus package, though, because it may make the ride quality far too harsh.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Audi RS 3 is an ultra-high-performance variant of the A3 and S3 sedans. It is available in a single trim level and is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine (400 horsepower, 354 pound-feet of torque). A seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.

Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires, automatic LED headlights, heated and power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and ignition, adaptive suspension dampers, selectable drive modes, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, leather upholstery, eight-way manual sport seats with power lumbar adjustment, and 40/20/40-split folding rear seats. Electronic features include Audi's MMI infotainment system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a rearview camera, and a 10-speaker audio system with HD and satellite radio and a USB port.

Most of the RS 3's options are offered in bundles. The Technology package includes a Wi-Fi hotspot, smartphone vehicle monitoring and control, a navigation system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a digital gauge cluster display (Virtual Cockpit), and a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system. You can also get the Dynamic package (wider wheels and tires, a sport exhaust and red brake calipers) and the Dynamic Plus package (a higher top speed, a carbon engine cover, individual tire pressure monitors, front ceramic brake rotors and a fixed sport suspension). Stand-alone options are limited to carbon-fiber interior trim and rear-seat side airbags.

trim tested

Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle. The following is our first take on what's significant about it and what you can expect.

driving

The RS 3 is all about performance, and by the specs and firsthand accounts, it's impressive. With 400 hp and all-wheel drive packed into this small sedan, we expect it to likely out-accelerate the BMW M2.

comfort

We expect the RS 3's ride quality to be firmer than that of the already stiff S3, but the adaptive suspension should keep it from being overly harsh. If the sport seats in other Audi vehicles are any indication, these seats should provide a good balance of lateral support and comfort.

interior

The RS 3 is a stylistically enhanced version of the A3, and its interior benefits from an understated design, tons of features, an easy-to-use interface and excellent materials throughout. Outward visibility is notably excellent, too.

utility

The interior pockets and bins are modestly sized with just enough space for your personal items. The trunk tells a similar story, requiring you to fold the rear seats down if you need to transport items like golf bags.

technology

Not only does the RS 3 have a ton of features and functionality, but they're easy to operate, too. The available virtual instrument panel enhances the feeling that Audi uses tech in a very smart manner.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.