Audi has reportedly signed off on a new sedan version of its RS 3 performance model, with a launch date pencilled in for next year.
Car And Driver quotes an anonymous but “highly-reliable” source as having confirmed that a sedan version is on the way, bringing the existing RS 3 tech with it.
That means a 2.5 litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 270kW and 465Nm, sending power to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
For the US market, and probably Australia should the new model eventuate, a seven-speed dual clutch automatic will be the only transmission choice.
The news comes hot on the heels of the updated ‘regular’ A3 model, which is expected to arrive in Australia later this year. It also follows leaked photos earlier this year of what appears to be an RS 3 Sedan at an official Audi event.
The RS 3 Sportback is already on sale in Australia, having arrived at the end of last year priced from $78,900 plus on-road costs.
However, buyers looking for a ‘small sedan’ with the sort of performance reportedly on offer from this Audi RS 3 Sedan are mostly out of luck in Australia.
There’s plenty of go-fast hot hatches available on the same scale as the Audi, such as the Mercedes-AMG A 45, but none of them have a sedan boot or styling and several lack the convenience of rear doors.
Should buyers in Australia and elsewhere warm to the idea of a genuinely ‘small’ performance sedan, Audi could force its German counterparts and others to follow.
A 2017 launch for the US market as a 2018 model is reportedly Audi’s plan, but the first official reveal may come off as soon as this month’s Beijing Auto Show.
Should the new performance sedan make its way to Australia - and the popularity of Audi Sport models locally makes that highly likely - expect a similar timeframe perhaps from Audi Australia.