Audi RS3 Sportback long-term test review

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...

LT Audi RS3 header

The car Audi RS3 Sportback 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 9112 List price £58,480 (Carbon Black) Target Price £58,480 Price as tested £62,590 (based on Carbon Black with equivalent specification) Test economy 25.9mpg Official economy 31.0mpg


25 May 2022 – Life in colour

I recently borrowed road test editor Will Nightingale's Audi RS3 for a weekend, and was struck by how much attention it garnered. But while the throaty sports exhaust is certainly loud enough to turn heads, that wasn't the main thing bystanders appeared to taking notice of. Nope – the biggest attraction, of those I spoke to at least, was the Python Yellow paint colour.

LT Audi RS3 Sportback alloy wheel

It might not look it in the photos, but it's actually metallic finish and costs £575. It isn't exclusive to the RS3 – you can have it on the regular Audi A3 from S line trim – but I think it's a perfect fit for this hardcore range-topping model. It's vibrant but tasteful, and not at all garish like the DayGlo Kyalami Green option. 

I would’ve thought anyone spending more than £50,000 on the ultimate hot hatch would want it to stand out a little, but I appear to be in the minority. At the time of writing, a total of 12 RS3s have been ordered in Python Yellow, with the far subtler Kemora Grey being the most popular choice. That might have something to do with the fact that it's the only 'free' paint colour, but then I can't image anyone with the wherewithal to buy an RS3 being too deterred by an extra few hundred quid to have the colour they wanted.

Sure, I can see why some buyers would rather stay under the radar, and Kemora Grey does look good. I just think the brighter colours contrast better well with the RS3's big black grille. And Python Yellow, in particular, does a great job of hiding dirt – even when the Sahara desert tries its best to turn everything orange.

And the RS3's design is already quite understated, with no huge rear spoiler like the one on the rival Mercedes AMG A45.  The RS3’s cleaner lines lend it a classier look and, in my opinion, some of the brighter colours make it look a bit more special, without overdoing it

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