By on April 7, 2017

Audi RS3

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. 

Audi RS3

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.

Audi RS3

[Images: Audi]

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28 Comments on “NYIAS 2017: Audi’s Rootin’ Tootin’ Little RS3 Sedan is Coming to America (and It’s Expensive as Hell)...”


  • avatar
    tincanfury

    and it’s still not an Avant.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That really isn’t a bad price…

    • 0 avatar
      tinbad

      It’s really not, considering Audi has many features standard vs mentioned competitors. I noticed that when shopping for my last car, ended up with Audi because they seem to have the best package overall when it comes to balance between handling, comfort, features and price (owned a C7 A6 and now S6).

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Agreed, it really isn’t that bad of a price. Considering a loaded TLX And IS350 is around $50k. This RS3 is fantastic. And you’re not driving one of those faux sport sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      Considering it comes with the whole safety suite and the dual clutch as standard, I agree. It’s not a bad price. I don’t care for the virtual cockpit option, but if they threw in the Bang & Olufsen sound system as standard, I’d actually say its a great value, especially compared the terrible thing that is a BMW base sound system that comes in starting-price M2 (or my wife’s case, the 1 series).

    • 0 avatar
      06M3S54B32

      What the price does is destroy sales of the highly overpriced TTS. Base price on the TTS is like $52K with a turbo VW/Audi engine in it. Why the hell would anyone pay that when you can get this?? If I had a TTS I’d be looking to dump it fast.

      • 0 avatar
        manny_c44

        Yeah the TTS is very expensive but I think it’s always been that way for exclusivity reasons. It’s a nice shape and it’s exclusive which why it is perennially desirable.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        I’d take this over the TTS. Much more practical. That said, isn’t this the same chassis, AWD system, engine, and transmission?

        Which AWD system (I’m assuming it’s the VW-based haldex, not the Quattro™ torsen setup)? Which PDK/DSG/dual-clutch system is it?

        And, of course, the only question that matters: When can I get a stick-shift?

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Sadly it is Haldex-based. However, from what I’ve read (assuming it shares the drivetrain with the TT), there’s a permanent percentage of power headed to the back.

          And sadly, it seems no manual option – only the original TTRS has the most Audi combo of them all.

        • 0 avatar
          manny_c44

          Now that even the Bugatti Chiron is Haldex based maybe people will relax about the technology already…

          that being said I think the RS3 is the first Audi Haldex application that permanently sends torque rearward as even the S3 (up until this year anyway) still defaulted to FWD.

          • 0 avatar
            never_follow

            The Chiron is RWD based though, so it’s not quite the same. I’ve never heard anyone upset at rear wheel bias. Same goes for new Lambos.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            And the Chiron is still Haldex based. And why so negative against Haldex in vehicles? Points with knowledge go far.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      This is a car for the American middle class :)

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    It’s no flat-crank V8, but upkeep on the turbo 5 is likely to be lower than the old RS4.

  • avatar

    Fanboys want it, nobody will buy it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think I’d be willing to go a little slower and get the S4 or S5 instead.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      Very different cars, indeed. the new S4/S5 are going to be much more in the style of a ‘grand tourer’: plenty of punch, quieter, more effortless, roomier.

      The 2.5 is an awesome engine, but I think I too would rather have the more plush accomodations of the S4.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    2.5L 5 cylinder has my attention, I like the way they sound when revving. $55K ensures that attention remains eternally theoretical. This car would be a riot. With such a small backseat made even smaller by the sport seats, I think it deserves to be a coupe, though.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    This is what every B5 S4 owner dreams of…but for $10k and endless weekends in the garage.

    The RS* series has proven to hold its value much better than the S lines.

    While the accouterments of the RS lines are not quite what they were I think this is a far better buy than an S if you plan on keeping it running for 5-10-15 years.

  • avatar
    carguy

    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.

    I just don’t see $15K of additional value.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Infiniti says a loaded Q50 AWD Red Sport–400bhp–is $60K, so…

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

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

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    “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.


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