The tweaked Audi RS3 has landed in SA at last – for the first time as a saloon as well as the five-door ‘Sportback’ hatch, and we can tell you what Officially The Most Powerful Hot Hatch On Earth will set you back. For the, um, hatch, it’s R895 500, or R925 500 for the RS3 saloon. That’s about R3000 per kilowatt, by Top Gear maths.
The RS3 has 294kW – up by 29kW – and 480Nm. Regardless, this is the hot hatch power king. The facelifted Mercedes-AMG A45’s heavily turbocharged four-cylinder puts out 280kW, and the Ford Focus RS musters 257kW from its 2.3-litre Mustang motor. The Audi Sport car is using its extra cylinder to good effect. The 0-100km/h comes up in 4.1 seconds. Top speed the usual 250km/h.
The 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine slung into the latest RS3 is the redeveloped five-pot that already lives in the current TT RS, which means it’s 18kg lighter than the old RS3’s engine, thanks to a new aluminium block.
We liked the TT RS a lot when we drove it last year, because its epic point-to-point teleporter pace wasn’t spoiled by unrecoverable understeer. The outgoing RS3, meanwhile, was a straight-line monster but tediously numb and nose-heavy to drive. It wouldn’t see which way a far less powerful car – say the ace new Honda Civic Type R, if you like – would have gone down a mildly twisting road. So if Audi Sport has learned its lesson by slotting in the lighter motor, we might finally get an hot Audi worth seeking corners in. And a few extra kilowatts is a choice bonus…