2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback revealed ahead of Geneva debut

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Audi’s RS 3 Sportback has finally received the upgraded powertrain of the all-new RS 3 sedan that debuted last fall at the 2016 Paris auto show.

It means the handsome hatch is now extracting 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-5, all of which is routed to the wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive system.

That’s a healthy jump on the 362 hp and 343 lb-ft that the RS 3 Sportback has been offering since the launch of the current-generation model in 2014. It means the car can now sprint to 62 mph from rest in just 4.1 seconds. The top speed is limited to 155 mph, though on request this limit can be raised to 174 mph.

Along with its extra power, the engine’s weight has been reduced by a substantial 57 pounds via the use of lighter internals, namely a new aluminum crankcase.

The RS 3 Sportback also adopts some of the changes of the updated 2017 A3 range. Tweaks have been made to the lights at both ends and the front bumper and grille now feature a more aggressive design. There’s also a new extended front splitter.

Standard on the RS 3 Sportback is an active exhaust system, a driving modes selector, a widened track with sport-tuned suspension, 12.2-in brake discs at the front axle, and 19-inch wheels with 235/35-size tires at all four corners. Worthwhile options include adjustable dampers, carbon-ceramic brake discs, and RS-spec bucket seats.

Inside, the seats get Nappa leather as standard and are joined by a flat-bottomed steering wheel, numerous “RS” logos and a special RS mode for the available digital instrument cluster where the tachometer is shifted to the center, displaying on either side the readings for torque, g forces and tire pressure. A shift light indicator is also featured when the transmission is operating in manual mode.

Sadly, Audi has no plans to offer the updated RS 3 Sportback in the United States. Instead, we’ll get the RS 3 sedan. It goes on sale this summer, as a 2018 model.

As for the updated RS 3 Sportback, it will be shown next month at the 2017 Geneva auto show and start delivery in select markets in August. The Swiss show opens its doors on March 7 and for more of our coverage simply visit our dedicated hub.

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