Sales of small luxury sedans are largely eclipsed by those of their SUV counterparts, which is why we're pleasantly surprised to see a third generation of Audi's excellent A3 four-door debut in 2022. The A3 and its performance-minded S3 variant make a respectable amount of power, at 201 horsepower and 306 hp, respectively. But it's the even more extreme 2022 Audi RS 3 that has us dusting off the old race helmet for a track day. Driven by Audi's long-lasting five-cylinder engine, the RS 3 improves upon its predecessor with quicker acceleration, enhanced handling abilities and a greater emphasis on in-cabin technology.
2022 Audi RS 3
While the A3 and S3 make do with a turbocharged four-cylinder, the RS 3 utilizes a much more potent turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five. It produces a stomping 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque — admittedly a modest increase of 7 hp and 15 lb-ft compared to the previous model. Its estimated 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds is properly fast, but it's only 0.1 second quicker than the old RS 3. Track warriors should note that the RS 3's top speed ranges from 155 mph in the standard model to 180 mph when equipped with the Dynamic package and carbon-ceramic brakes. As with the outgoing RS 3, a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive are standard.
The RS 3 benefits from the standard A3's revised interior, so expect to see a more tech-heavy cabin this time around. A 10.1-inch touchscreen controls most of the vehicle functions, and drivers will find auxiliary information displayed in the 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and head-up display. We expect to see many of the A3's features carry forward to the RS 3, such as a Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless charging pad, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility (with wireless versions of both planned for the near future).
In a drag race, the 2022 Audi RS 3 will barely eke out a win against its predecessor. Most of the changes are related to handling and braking performance, along with a serious upgrade to a now tech-focused interior. It looks to be a welcome rival to the likes of the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45.