We're living in a world full of urbanism, automotive criticism and pressure to get the cars as clean as possible in terms of environmental reasons. Car manufacturers provide these terms by downgrading their engines. Most of them get equipped with a Turbo to reach a lot more power compared to naturally aspirated engines. Which of course makes sense. But on the other side, it gets pretty boring because a lot of the car manufacturers bring out some kind of the "basic" front wheel drive 2 liter turbocharged engine with more or less than 350 horsepower. Of course, there're a few hot hatches which are a bit different when it comes to the engine and the drivetrain. Worth mentioning are the BMW M140i with the rear wheel drive in-line six cylinder engine or the new Ford Fiesta ST with it's 3 cylinder Ecoboost engine which produces 200 horsepower. These two examples really stand out for me when it comes to sporty hothatches.
But there's at least a third one. Last month, Auto Kauth handed me over keys for the current Audi RS3, equipped with some ABT upgrades. But what's really special about that hothatch is that it has got a turbocharged 2.5 liter five cylinder engine with 470 horsepower and four-wheel drive.
Well... I don't actually know where to begin. Of course, it looks impressively good, don't you think?
Continuing with the exterior, I'm personally not quite a fan of black wheels. Sure, they give a high contrast to the whole look of the RS, but I'd still prefer some silver wheels. A special color like brown, copper or a dark green would suit the car properly too. My own opinion of course. So Audi does offer a high range of very unique paint jobs. I don't really get why everyone's buying their cars in white, grey or black. I mean, these pearl effect tripple layer black colors aren't really cheaper than a brown or something. Am I the only one who thinks that a RS3 can stand out a bit more compared to a regular A3?
Going into details. This exact RS3 has got some visible upgrades and changes on the outside. It has got a different front splitter, air vents behind the front wheels and some larger exhaust pipes at the rear end. But there's a lot more going on underneath the car. ABT changed the exhaust system, put on a new software, upgraded the suspension and attached several details in the interior.
The place to be
The first thing I noticed when I got in the car were the comfy bucket seats. They support cornering on twisty roads very well and spread their usability even to long distance traveling on motorways. Beside that, I really adore their look. My first impressions about the whole interior were a bit better than expected. You really need to search some hard plastic parts. One of them was the handle to get the seat into position. I was kinda surprised that the car did not have electric seat settings. Of course, it's an option. So no worries if you're looking for a used example on the market. But over all the interior feels very high quality. Something I really liked were the rotating knobs to set the air condition power and temperature. These functions get pretty fussy on newer cars. Especially in Teslas, where you need to find the small buttons somewhere on the huge screens. You get distracted very fast and that leads to accidents on streets.
Something I kept in good memories too has been the steering wheel. It feels very handy and looks great. I haven't got very large hands, so the thickness of the wheel felt very good and for sure not slippery at all because of that high quality alcantara leather used right there.
Outdated navigation system
The software (entertainment system) is classic Audi. Compared to the new A6, A7, A8, the navigation system seems outdated in terms of optics. Audi didn't touch the entertainment system on the A3 facelift model I guess. So that's why it might look a bit old. But it still works very well of course.
I agree that a navigation system can't be the only reason to not buy an RS3. And to be honest: There aren't even a hand full bad reasons; The insurance might be expensive and the maintainability could cost some bucks as well. Not mentioning the fuel. I guess you don't drive it like you're chauffeuring a president around the corners.
One thing I really like is that the RS3 hot hatch comes with 5 doors (boot included). It is quite practical when driving with friends because you don't have to get your seat back into your preferred position every time you were out with some others. I just wanted to mention that. And 5 doors do not look old-fashioned at all I think.
To sum it up I think that this particular version of the RS3 might be a great solution when you just want to have one single car. It's sporty and very fun, way enough power, it looks good, Quattro drive train gets you up to go skiing, enough space in the boot for vacation by two or a weekend trip with three buddies in company and the used car prices are slightly falling on the used car market. There're loads of them for sale.
Honestly, it was immensely hard to hand it back. But hope to get behind the wheel somewhen again. At least I can dream about that. Or even dream to own one by myself. You wouldn't mind either, right?