NYIAS 2017: Audi's Rootin' Tootin' Little RS3 Sedan is Coming to America (and It's Expensive as Hell)

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

German performance sedans aren’t exactly a steal of a deal, but Audi’s RS3 is coming to America with a price well-above its chief rival from the Fatherland. The RS3 sedan, available for the first time in the North America, will start at $55,875 when it begins appearing in showrooms later this year.

That’s $5,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG — which starts at $50,875. It’s also a couple grand more than BMW’s M2, even though the Bavarian coupe is a less direct comparison.

Audi isn’t trying to pull a fast one on us; just the opposite, in fact. Audi designed the new RS3 with the United States in mind and is giving Americans what we covet most — horsepower.

With 400 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque running through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the RS3’s 2.5-liter inline-5 boasts a 3.9 second 0 to 60 time. Those are class-leading numbers for anything even tangentially related to the premium compact segment.

Audi promises maximum torque available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm, and it’ll remain constant up to 5,850 rpm. It also says standard features will include LED lighting, blind-spot monitoring and pre sense basic — in case your spirited driving gets you into a crash. Available options will include Audi’s virtual cockpit, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, carbon fiber trim, special 19-inch wheels, painted calipers, and gobs of other electronic or mechanical niceties the company plans to announce later.

The all-wheel drive RS3 will make its North American debut next week in New York City. Audi should announce a concrete sales date at that time. However, we already know the company will produce a small number of specialty RS3s for later this year.

[Images: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Apr 08, 2017

    Ok. I'll be the freakazoid to ask - will it be offered with a manual? Or is it automatic only like the S3?

  • 06M3S54B32 06M3S54B32 on Apr 10, 2017

    "It’s still a lot of money to pay for what is basically the less practical cousin of the Golf R with one extra cylinder." Totally different chassis (lots of aluminum). Moreover, if you're over 30 years old driving a hatchback you look like a dork.

  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.
  • Probert When I hear the word "patriot", I think of entitled hateful whining ignorant traitors to democracy. But hey , meant to say "Pass the salt."