What's the used Audi RS3 hatchback like?
Think of an RS Audi in the same way as you might a BMW with an M badge or a Mercedes-Benz with an AMG one and you begin to understand that although this RS3 looks similar to a regular Audi A3, a practical family car that has established itself over the years as one of our favourites, it is absolutely first and foremost an extremely powerful hot hatch.
The first RS3 in 2015 packed a 362bhp punch from its 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine, but a mid-life upgrade in 2017 replaced this with an all-new aluminium unit that upped the power to a staggering 394bhp. Permanent four-wheel drive helped to keep all this oomph on the road, and results in some truly phenomenal acceleration figures: it dispatches the 0 to 62mph sprint in a mere 4.1 seconds, for example, which is supercar-quick. This last update also introduced the option of having your RS3 as a four-door saloon, which traded in a little of the hatchback’s practicality for what some would see as neater styling.
More positively, the RS3's standard suspension strikes a decent balance between body control and comfort. Yes, you’re always aware of bumps, but the car seems to move with the road rather than fight against it, while body roll is minimal. Tick the box for the optional adaptive dampers and you’ll find Comfort mode is significantly more comfortable, whereas Dynamic mode is too firm for most British roads.
It would be disappointing if this super-sporting version of the A3 wasn’t finished to the same exacting standards inside, but worry not, it is. The minimalist design features plenty of soft-touch plastics as well as well-damped switches and chrome accents. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is a lovely thing to hold, embossed RS logos on the Nappa leather seats add a touch of class and you get Audi’s Virtual Cockpit – a digital display that sits behind the steering wheel in place of conventional instrument dials – as standard.
If that’s not enough, you can add a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, diamond-quilted Super Sports seats and a wireless smartphone charger for compatible devices.