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2018 Audi RS 3 Overview
With the introduction of the all-new 2018 RS 3, Audi finally graces U.S markets with a compact performance sedan. The RS badge denotes Audi’s most performance-oriented vehicles, and the RS 3 stands as the entry model of the lineup. Although a limited run of 2017 models are set to hit U.S. shores this summer, the RS 3 launches fully for the 2018 model year.
Power for the RS 3 comes from an all-new 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for an output of 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It boasts a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph, and if that’s not quick enough for you, the Dynamic Plus package will increase the maximum speed to 174 mph.
The RS 3 comes standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which works in conjunction with Audi’s Drive Select system. Drive Select offers 4 different drive modes—Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Individual—that adjust the shift points, steering, throttle response, and damper control to tailor the drive experience to your personal preferences. An available Sport mode further provides an even more performance-focused driving experience.
Two different brake systems are available for the RS 3. The standard setup includes ventilated front and rear disc brakes and 8-piston monobloc brake calipers painted black with the RS logo. The available Dynamic Plus package replaces these with front carbon ceramic disc brakes to shave 8 pounds off the vehicle’s weight and help reduce brake fade. In addition to the RS logo on the brakes, you’ll also find it on the bumper and honeycomb grille.
The RS 3’s exterior displays 19-inch 5-arm silver wheels with summer performance tires, LED headlights with daytime running lights, and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals. Inside the cabin is a 3-spoke multifunction flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters. The standard inlays are aluminum but can be upgraded to carbon fiber, and the paddle shifters and illuminated door sills feature RS badging. The Nappa leather sport seats boast matching RS embossing, along with diamond stitching and 4-way power lumbar support for optimal comfort.
On the tech front, the RS 3 remains performance-focused, with available add-ons like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. The Virtual Cockpit system comes with a 12.3-inch color display with an Nvidia quad core processor that delivers 60 frames per second and another special screen unique to the RS 3, with information on tire pressure, horsepower, and torque and a G-meter. When driving in manual mode, the tachometer functions as a shift light, encouraging upshifts as the engine approaches redline. Available MMI navigation provides suggested routes and points of interest, and the optional MMI touch uses handwriting-recognition technology and a small touchpad for easier infotainment-system access. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard for quick and seamless smartphone integration. Audiophiles can opt for an upgraded premium Bang & Olufsen sound system with 14 speakers and 705 watts of power.
On the safety front, the RS 3 comes standard with Audi Pre Sense Basic, which helps protect you and your passengers in the event of a crash by closing the side windows and sunroof and pre-tensioning the front seat belts. Also standard is Audi side assist, which includes blind-spot monitoring via LED indicators on the side mirrors when the vehicle is operating at speeds over 9 mph.
Pricing on the all-new 2018 Audi RS 3 starts at $54,900.
Nicole Wakelin's passion for cars started on the day she went for a ride in a bright red Ferrari as a teenager. She writes reviews and covers everything cars for CarGurus, The Boston Globe, BestRide, AAA, Autobytel, and numerous other outlets.
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