Speed; agility; styling; equipment
Limited trunk and passenger space
The RS 3 is all-new for this model year.
The Technology and Driver Assistance packages are highly recommended. If the RS 3 fires your rockets, we won't dissuade you, but the regular suspension is probably the better call for day-to-day use.
The 2018 Audi RS 3 ($55,875) 5-seater small premium sport sedan comes in one well-stocked trim level with several options.
Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels wearing summer performance tires, full LED lighting, a panoramic sunroof, an adaptive suspension, variable-ratio steering, 8-piston front brake calipers with ventilated discs, ventilated rear-brake discs, a rear lip spoiler, keyless entry/ignition, rain-sensing wipers, self-dimming/heated/power-folding side mirrors, selectable driving modes (which adjust steering assistance, gear shift points, suspension settings and throttle responses), a flat-bottom, tilt-telescopic steering wheel covered in leather and Alcantara (simulated suede, but lighter, so it gets used in many actual racing cars), dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front sport seats with 8-way manual adjustment (including extendable thigh support) and 4-way power lumbar adjustment, Nappa leather upholstery, ambient LED cabin lighting, stainless steel pedals, parking sensors front and rear, forward-collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 7-in infotainment screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, a 10-speaker audio system, a CD/MP3 player, HD Radio, satellite radio, an SD card slot and a USB port.
A Technology package adds the Virtual Cockpit configurable 12.3-in driver's information display, navigation with a touchpad controller featuring handwriting recognition, Wi-Fi and a 705-watt/14-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The Driver Assistance package brings adaptive cruise control with stop/go, automatic high beams and active lane-keeping assistance.
For more extreme tastes, the Dynamic Plus package has a fixed sport suspension, ceramic front brake discs, a carbon-fiber engine cover and a top speed raised from 155 to 174 mph.
Trunk space measures just 10 cu ft., not great even for a compact sedan. Anyone carrying longer items on a regular basis, such as golf bags, should make sure they fit properly (or give up golf and go driving instead). The rear seats can split and fold in 40/40/20 fashion.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/Unlimited Miles|
|Maintenance||1 Years/10,000 Miles|
2018 BMW M2 -- Only available as a coupe, and rear passenger space is cramped. But 365 hp, an inline-six engine and rear-wheel drive are extremely tempting.
2018 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 -- The 375-hp AMG-tuned version of the CLA-Class sedan is wonderfully fast and capable (all-wheel drive is standard), but its sloping roof means less rear headroom than in the RS 3.
Used Mercedes-Benz E 63/E 63 S AMG -- To go appreciably bigger and better than the RS 3 means looking at a twin-turbo V8 making 550 or 577 hp propelling a superb previous-generation E-Class premium midsize sedan. Check out the Mercedes-Benz certified pre-owned (CPO) program.