Sportback returns to market
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Audi has doubled-down on its RS 3 performance-car line-up with Sportback versions returning to the New Zealand market to join the Sedan that debuted in May.
The five-door Sportback is the traditional configuration for the entry model in the Audi RS family, while the Sedan is a newcomer that has enjoyed the last five months in the spotlight.
The RS 3 duo — as well as the TT RS sports car — share Audi's signature five-cylinder turbocharged engine and quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The newly developed 2.5-litre TFSI engine has a lightweight alloy crankcase that makes its 26kg lighter than the previous five-cylinder engine.
It employs a 1-2-4-5-3 firing order to deliver a special rhythm and unique harmonic frequencies, producing a five-cylinder engine note that recalls the sound of the original Audi Quattro rally cars from early 1980s.
Peak power from the latest 2480cc engine is 294kW — a 24kW increase over the previous generation — with 480Nm of torque available across a 1700-5850rpm rev range.
A seven-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission with steering wheel shift paddles transmits power to the quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system with an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributing torque between the axles to deliver 0-100km/h acceleration in 4.1secs. Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 8.4 litres per 100km.
Pricing for the RS 3 Sportback is $104,900 plus on-road costs, while the RS 3 Sedan is $106,990.
Specification is common for both body styles, with 19-inch alloy wheels and 235/35 R19 tyres, Magnetic Ride Control sports suspension, an RS sports exhaust, LED headlights with high-beam assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Comfort Key access and start, rain sensor wipers and reversing camera included as standard equipment.
Safety features include adaptive cruise control, Audi Pre-Sense City and Audi Side Assist.
The Audi RS 3 is equipped with the Audi Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch configurable display, which incorporates a specific RS screen with tyre pressure, torque and g-force information.
The cabin features a dark-toned theme while illuminated door sills display the RS 3 logo. Black nappa leather S sports seats with integrated headrests, a flat bottom RS steering wheel and Aluminium Race interior trim inlays are other specific interior features of the RS 3 duo.
Bold styling cues include the single-frame grille with three-dimensional honeycomb mesh, while the Sportback has a roof edge spoiler and distinctive lower diffuser with vertical struts and large oval tailpipes.
Other exterior features are LED tail lamps, matt aluminium mirror housings and privacy glass. The only significant specification difference between body styles are the matt aluminium look roof rails, which are standard on the RS 3 Sportback.
Among the options available for the Audi RS 3 are Matrix LED headlights ($2300), a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker audio system ($1900), a choice of four optional 19-inch wheel designs that feature wider 255/30 R19 front tyres ($2000), gloss black or aluminium exterior styling packs ($2000), carbon interior trim inlays ($2000) and a panoramic sunroof ($3000).