Audi RS3 Sportback 2.5 TFSI Quattro S tronic10 | 06 | 2011Scotcars rating

    Finally, Audi has given the A3 the rocketship it's longed for, the breathtaking RS3


    Some words have become part of sports motoring legend, but standing out above all the Imprezas, the Coopers and the Escorts is the name Quattro. Yet amazingly, Audi competed in international rallying with the innovative four-wheel drive cars for little more than a couple of years. They didn’t need to do any more. They had created a world beater and after they had left the competition in their tyre tracks, they sat back and watched their sales of performance road cars fitted with the Quattro drive system simply take off.

    That was 30 years ago, yet the name of Quattro lives on and stirs the emotions of anyone who has an ounce of motorsport soul about them. The latest incarnation of the breed is the RS3 Sportback which combines the phenomenal roadholding and traction of the Quattro system with high performance engineering to create sensational driving delight.

    Only 500 right hand drive versions are coming to the UK – and they’ve all been sold. So I certainly wasn’t going to refuse when Audi asked if I’d like to try one out – especially when they suggested that the test route should be on the Turracher Hohe, the alpine pass in Austria on which Audi engineers first presented the Quattro prototype to the company’s board in January 1978.

    Wearing only normal road tyres and in winter snow, the car so impressed Audi’s powers- that-be, that they gave the go-ahead to full-scale production of Quattro road cars which then went on to win everything in sight in world rallying. It’s an amazing success story and is just one of the reasons why Audi is now so dominant in the premium performance market and is giving BMW and Mercedes plenty to think about.  

    On the road

    Quite simply this car is sensational. It just takes off and in less time than it takes to read to here – it’s past the 62mph mark. In just 4.6 seconds the turbocharged five-cylinder TFSI engine gushes power through the seven-speed S tronic transmission as the speedo soars past 60, and for some extra flavour a push of the Sport button activates a sound flap in the exhaust branch to intensify the rasp at the back end.

    Normally I play briefly with the gear paddles on the steering wheel and then lazily leave it up to the auto box to do the work, but on the RS3 the overall effect of the changes was so dramatic – in performance and accompanying sound – that I stayed with the manual setting and kept the paddles working overtime.

    Roadholding and traction is outstanding and on the 240 kms route of the Quattro’s original proving ground – through breathtaking climbs, sudden drops and buttock-clenching bends – the RS3 was steady as a rock.    

    Comfort & Safety

    What’s so good about the RS3 – and indeed all of Audi’s RS family – is that it gives sensational driving pleasure but combines practical and sensible alternatives at the same time. You can drive your heart out, calling on all the magnificent engineering which lies under the surface, yet in the same car can take the family on a day out with all their gear stowed in the boot.

    What’s even better is that through huge attention to weight saving and efficiency — such as vermicular graphite for the engine block, carbon fibre-reinforced polymer for the front wings and a regenerative energy system — it’s possible to drive enthusiastically and still get more than 30 miles to the gallon.    

    Should you buy one?

    If only you could. There are only 500 coming to the UK – and they’ve all been sold.  

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by folliwng us on

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £39,930 / £43,225
    Engine / Power: 2480cc 5-cylinder / 340bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 4.6 secs / Max 155mph
    How big/heavy?: L4302mm W1794mm H1402mms / Weight 1575kgs
    How thirsty/CO2?: 31mpg / CO2 212g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: Band K / £245
    Alternatives: Subaru Impreza STi; VW Golf R; Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

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