Audi’s latest bit of twisted genius comes in the form of the RS 3 Sportback; on the outside, it’s a compact station wagon just perfect for hauling four adults and their stuff. On the inside, deeply bolstered front sport seats let you know that this is no average commuter car. Under the hood lies a heavily tweaked, 2.5 liter turbocharged five cylinder engine, good for 340 horsepower and 332 ft lb of torque, mated to Audi’s 7 speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox. As you’d expect from Audi, quattro all wheel drive is employed, making sure that the power gets to the road in all weather conditions. The smallest RS model is plenty quick, with 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) happening in just 4.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 miles per hour. Despite these performance numbers, the RS 3 is remarkably fuel efficient, with an EU calculated combined fuel economy of nearly 26 miles per gallon.
The RS 3 Sportback is wider and stiffer than a standard A3, and sports a lowered ride height and stiffer shocks. Nineteen inch wheels are used on all corners, but the tires are offset: 235/35-19s are used on the front wheels, while 225/35-19s are used on the rear. Four piston calipers are used for both front and rear brakes, with the front rotors measuring 14.6 inches and the rear rotors measuring 12.2 inches in diameter. Audi’s Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) ensures that things don’t get out of control, so long as the driver obeys the laws of physics.
As you’d guess, all this power and handling comes at a price. Audi hasn’t said if the RS 3 is coming to America, but be prepared to dig deep in your wallet if it does. RS 3 pricing in Germany begins at €49,900, or roughly $68,000 based on current exchange rates. That’s not an apples to apples comparison, since U.S. version cars typically sell for less than German domestic market cars; still, I’d expect a starting price north of$55,000 if the RS 3 Sportback makes it to this side of the pond. That’s a lot to pay for a compact wagon, but then again the RS 3 Sportback is one hell of a grocery getter.