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2018 Audi RS 3

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

Audi RS3 highlights

Customer rating

RepairPal reliability rating

(data not available)

Pros

  • Absurd power and performance for the size
  • Premium interior materials and design
  • Precise handling makes it a joy to drive on twisty roads

Cons

  • Small trunk can’t hold much more than a suitcase or two
  • Small, cramped back seat

Mileage (EPA estimate)

19 city, 28 highway, 22 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

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The 2018 Audi RS 3 is forbidden fruit finally within reach of American drivers

American drivers are often deprived of the world’s most entertaining cars. Usually they don’t meet U.S. standards, or the automaker thinks they won’t sell. Until 2018, the Audi RS 3 was forbidden fruit, desired by but unavailable to enthusiasts. The 2018 Audi RS 3 is the feral, full-tilt counterpart to the friendly A3 and rowdier S3. Equipped with a larger, 400-horsepower five-cylinder engine, the RS 3 sprints to 60 mph in 4 seconds and sticks to the ground easily, thanks to all-wheel drive.

It’s not for everyone, though. The standard adaptive suspension is relatively forgiving, but stiffer than the A3 or S3. Drivers seeking truly track-ready performance can opt for a fixed suspension with carbon-ceramic brakes, but that setup compromises ride quality even further. The RS 3 shares the same A3/S3 flaws, though, namely a small back seat and tiny trunk. If you need more trunk space, you can find it in competitors like the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45, BMW M235i, or even the Volkswagen Golf R, on which the RS 3 is based.

All Audi RS3 years

What is new for the 2018 Audi RS3?

  • RS3 trims have been upgraded with Panoramic Sunroof and Blind Spot Monitor as standard equipment this year.
  • Automated Cruise Control, Rear Sunshade, and Lane Departure Warning features are now available as options on select trims.

2018 Audi RS3 trims

Curious how Audi RS3 trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

Base:

  • 400-hp, 354-lb-ft of torque 2.5L
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Rear Defroster
  • Cruise Control
  • Leather Seats
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Power Mirrors
  • Traction Control
  • Side Airbags
  • View our Audi RS3 inventory

5 reasons to buy the 2018 Audi RS3

What We Like

Performance: The 400 horsepower in the RS 3 is a surprising amount of power for a relatively light car weighing around 3,500 pounds. The brakes, tires, and suspension are all upgraded to match, and standard all-wheel drive helps transfer the RS 3’s prodigious power to the road. Just keep in mind that this is a performance-focused car, so ride comfort takes a back seat to handling. However, driving enthusiasts likely won’t mind.

Interior: The RS 3 shares the same cool and upscale interior design as its A3 and S3 stablemates, although with a racier edge. Supple high-grade leather, contrast stitching, and suede-wrapped and textured panels make the RS 3 feel like a properly modern luxury sedan, but carbon-fiber accents, form-fitted firm seats, and a flat-bottom steering wheel reinforce the car’s ultra-performance capability. Excellent visibility out the back and sides makes for confident hustling through turns, threading tight traffic, or for the occasional turn on the racetrack. A pop-up infotainment dash display with crisp graphics makes it easy to view maps, media, or phone information.

Technology: Audi’s investment in technology helps distinguish it from contemporary rivals, and the RS 3 doesn’t disappoint. The navigation system can display on the infotainment screen or within the digital gauge cluster with a Google Earth overlay with landmarks, terrain, and 3D perspective views. Smartphones can connect through Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto, or Audi’s interface, and voice controls respond well to voice commands. If you find an RS 3 with the optional Bang & Olufsen audio system, it’s worth it. Bass is impressive and audio quality is rich and detailed. We just wish more driver-assist features like adaptive cruise control were standard.

What Needs Improvement

Roominess: Being a compact sedan, the RS 3 not surprisingly has limited rear seat space. Unfortunately, thanks to the all-wheel-drive hardware — the bulk of which is under the back of the car — cargo space is also limited, at a meager 10 cubic feet. A saving grace is the fold-down rear seatbacks, which allow carrying longer items as long as you don’t have rear passengers.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

Audi RS3 features and specs

Base 4WD/AWD 4D Sedan

Standard Features

  • 4WD/AWD
  • ABS Brakes
  • Adjustable Suspension
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cruise Control
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Leather Seats
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Parking Sensors
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Spoiler
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • Turbo Charged Engine
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Bang & Olufsen Audio
  • CD Audio
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Navigation System
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Rear Sunshade

Drive Wheels

All Wheel Drive (4WD/AWD)

Engine size

2.5L

Horsepower

400

Torque (ft-lbs)

354

Engine type

Turbo Gas

Fuel capacity

14.5

Wheelbase

103.6"

Overall length

176.3"

Width

70.7"

Height

55"

Leg room

F 41.2"/R 35.1"

Head room

F 39.6"/R 36.4"

Front tires

P235/35YR19

Rear tires

P235/35YR19

Seating capacity

5

Transmission

Automatic

2018 Audi RS3 FAQ

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