The RS 3 is a gem. It's built on a rock-solid platform and offers insane performance in a sophisticated and subtle package. While it isn't big on space, it's an absolute blast to drive and should make a great option for anyone with big money to spend on a small performance sedan. That's assuming they aren't hauling more than one other person around on a regular basis though, as the RS 3's subcompact design means there isn't a ton of rear seat space, and the cargo area fills up fast.
Since a car like the RS 3 is an emotional purchase more than anything, you probably already know what features and options you're looking for. We'd have a hard time passing up the Driver Assistance package and rear side airbags, though adding even these basic features causes the pricetag to increase quickly.
Also worth keeping in mind is that the A3 is set to be fully redesigned in the next year or so. If newness is a priority, you might want to hold off on committing to a current-gen RS 3 to see if Audi plans on bringing the next-gen model across the pond in the near future. Find an Audi RS 3 for sale
How Much Does a 2021 Audi RS 3 Cost?
The 2020 Audi RS 3 comes in just one trim level but with several available options.
Standard equipment includes 19-in alloy wheels wearing summer performance tires, full LED lighting, a panoramic sunroof, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, adaptive sport 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 (adjusting steering assistance, gear shift points, suspension settings and throttle responses), a tilt-and-telescoping flat-bottomed steering wheel that's covered in leather and Alcantara (simulated suede but lighter and used in many actual racing cars), dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front sport seats with 8-way manual adjustment (including extendable thigh support)/4-way power lumbar adjustment, extended Nappa leather upholstery, ambient LED cabin lighting, stainless steel pedals, front/rear parking sensors, forward-collision warning, automatic high beams, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-in infotainment screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, wireless charging, a phone signal booster, leather upholstery, a 10-speaker audio system, a CD/MP3 player, HD/satellite radio, an SD card slot, front and rear USB ports and two 12-volt outlets.
A Navigation package adds the Virtual Cockpit configurable 12.3-in driver's information display, Audi's MMI Navigation plus system, and a touchpad controller featuring handwriting recognition.
You can also opt for a fixed mechanical sport suspension in place of the RS 3's standard Magnetic Ride system. A standalone Dynamic package adds staggered 19-in Audi Sport wheels, a sport exhaust and summer performance tires.
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 before buying. Luckily, the RS 3's rear seats fold in a 40/40/20 configuration.
City MPG / Hwy MPG
RS 3 Sedan 2.5 TFSI
$56200 / $52828
5 Cylinder Turbo
19 / 28
7-Speed Shiftable Automatic
Is the 2021 Audi RS 3 a Safe Car?
Active safety tech offered on the RS 3 includes standard automatic high beams and front and rear parking sensors. Optional are blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic detection, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control with full-speed functionality.
The RS 3 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and eight airbags (front, front side, front knee, full-length side curtain). Side airbags for the rear seats are optional.
The mainstream Audi A3, on which the RS 3 is based, earns a 5-star overall score from the NHTSA, and the IIHS gave it a Top Safety Pick+ award for its crash test performance.
2021 Audi RS 3 vs the competition
2020 BMW M2 Competition -- The 2020 BMW M2 is only available as a coupe, and its rear passenger space is cramped, but its 405 hp, inline 6-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive make for an alluring package.
2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 -- The 375-hp, AMG-tuned 2020 CLA-Class sedan is wonderfully fast and capable, but its sloping roof means less rear headroom than the RS 3. Like the Audi, AWD is standard.
2020 Audi TT RS -- Chances are good that if you're considering a subcompact sedan, interior space isn't your top priority. If that's the case, consider the sportier 2020 Audi TT RS, which uses the same powertrain as the RS 3 but in a sleek two-door sports car package.
Used Audi RS 5 -- While Audi doesn't offer the RS 4 in the United States, it does offer the RS 5 in both coupe and Sportback form. Under the hood is a twin turbo V6 putting out 444 hp. You'll pay more -- even if you go the used route -- but you'll get more space too. Check out Audi's Certified Pre-Owned program.
Autotrader has 75 Used Audi RS 3 cars for sale, including a 2018 Audi RS 3, a 2019 Audi RS 3, and a 2020 Audi RS 3.