Hot rod and Audi. Put the two together and you get the 2018 Audi RS 3. The 400-horsepower sedan is finally coming to the U.S. and it’s priced just above the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and BMW M2.
A few limited-edition 2017 models will go on sale first this summer, ahead of the larger 2018 model year rollout. They’ll start from $55,875, a few grand more than the CLA45 AMG and M2. The CLA45 AMG starts at $50,875. The two-door M2 coupe starts at $53,495. But for the more comparable sedan version, it jumps up to $65,945.
Here’s what you need to know about the powertrain. The RS 3 packs more of a punch than its rivals. Under the hood sit a five-cylinder 2.5-liter with 400-horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. That’s more power than predicted when we first heard it was coming over back in 2015.
Those numbers beat the competition by 35-horsepower on the Audi coupe and by 25-horsepower on the Mercedes. A comparison of 0-60 times again puts the new Audi on top. It clocks 3.9-seconds while the other two tie at 4.1-seconds. The Audi also sends power to all-four-wheels while the M2 only does rear-wheel drive.
Audi notes that this new engine creates a “unique sound”, describing the sound as a 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence.
New dual-injection and intelligent engine management keep the right amount of fuel flowing through the changing engine load. Standard acoustic windshields help keep the cabin quiet.
The top of the line RS 3 will feature Audi’s new virtual cockpit. It displays everything from tire pressure to horsepower and torque. If you opt for manual transmission, it also signals you to help make smoother shifts.
The limited-edition 2017s due out in a few months will come loaded with extras like standard carbon fiber inlays, the virtual cockpit, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. They’ll also come with 19-inch wheels and an RS sport exhaust with black tips. The 2017s start from $400 less than the 2018s.
The official U.S. debut takes place next week at the New York Auto Show.