Mike Stevens | Nov 23, 2010

Its rumoured Paris Auto Show debut never eventuated, but that's water under the brücke for Audi enthusiasts, because here it is: the 2011 Audi RS3.

As expected, the RS3 has stepped up from the already impressive four-cylinder engine of the previously-top-shelf S3, calling instead on the turbocharged five-cylinder engine powering the Audi TT RS.

As with the speedy coupe, the extra-hot RS3 hatch gets 250kW and 450Nm out of the turbo petrol engine, with top twist available between 1600 and 5300rpm.

Audi's seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and quattro all-wheel-drive system also make the leap from the TT RS, pushing the RS3 to 100km/h in the same 4.6 seconds.

Fuel economy for the RS3 is listed as 9.2 l/100km.

Keeping the flagship hatch planted is a wider track front and rear under flared guards, along with revised shock absorbers and new springs - dropping the RS3 a good 25mm closer to the tarmac.

Audi's 19-inch case aluminium wheels are standard fit across its RS range, and the RS3 is no exception, wrapped in 235/35 tyres up front and 225/35 at the rear.

Braking is handled by 370mm discs up front and 310mm discs at the rear, while the ESP system offers both a Sport mode and the ability to be switched off completely.

The usual RS styling tweaks are present inside and out, including the familiar gaping silver-trimmed vents in the front bumper, a mesh grille and a diffuser at the rear.

In the cabin, the RS3 gets the RS range's flat-bottomed steering wheel, bolstered sports seats and Nappa leather trim throughout with contrasting red stitching.

 

Pricing and Availability

For now, the RS3 remains a five-door offering, with no word on a three-door variant any time in the near future. European sales are scheduled to begin early next year.

Speaking with TMR today, Audi Australia's Nadine Giusti said that plans for an Australian launch are yet to be finalised.

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