Audi RS3 Sportback long-term test: report 2

Back in January, we named this 394bhp rocketship the best hot hatch for daily usability, but now we're putting that verdict to the ultimate test by actually living with one...

Audi RS3 Sportback boot long

The car Audi RS3 Launch Edition Run by Will Nightingale, road test editor

Why it’s here To see if this 394bhp hot hatch is as easy to live with as we initially thought

Needs to Be the ultimate all-rounder: fast and thrilling when asked, but also relaxing on longer jaunts

Mileage 6334 List price £58,480 (Carbon Black) Target Price £58,480 Price as tested £62,590 (based on Carbon Black with equivalent specification) Test economy 29.8mpg

25 March 2022 – An Audi A3 with the boot of a Ford Fiesta

The latest challenge for my Audi RS3 was a family holiday to Leicestershire. With two daughters (aged one and three) and my better half also hoping for a lift, I suspected the amount of luggage we needed (read wanted) to take would cause some issues.

Audi RS3 LT big house

You see, the RS3 is just as practical as a regular Audi A3 family car in most respects – apart from the boot. Cramming in the four-wheel drive system has meant raising the height of the boot floor, reducing capacity from 380 litres to just 282 litres. If those numbers don’t mean a lot, they mean boot space is cut by 25%, to the point where you’ll actually fit more luggage in a Ford Fiesta.

We had to pack with some proper thought rather than the usual ‘throw everything aboard in whichever order we find it’ approach. Plus, we had to stuff soft bags in the passenger footwells and lay some coats on the parcel shelf. But nothing we would have desperately missed got left behind.

The small boot is certainly a drawback of RS3 ownership, though – and it’s something the rival Mercedes-AMG A45 (also four-wheel drive) does significantly better, with the same-sized load bay as any other Mercedes A-Class

Audi RS3 LT boot close

Smaller, cheaper hot hatches can get away with it more. The brilliant Toyota GR Yaris has a tiny boot, for example, as does a Volkswagen Up GTI. But no one is going to buy either of those and be surprised they can’t carry a washing machine; they’re small cars and they look it. The RS3, on the other hand, masquerades as an A3 – a much larger car than the Yaris and Up – and many buyers will assume it has the boot to match.

As I’ve proved, though, it isn’t a deal-breaker – even for those who need their RS3 to function as a proper family car. And the RS3’s comfy ride, relatively peaceful cruising manners and great Bang & Olufsen sound system (part of the optional Comfort and Sound Pack, if you’re buying a Carbon Black model) go a long way to making up for its load-lugging shortcomings.

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