Although American enthusiasts often miss out on foreign forbidden fruit, we've known for a while that the Audi RS3 will probably make it to the United States in 2017. While there's been no official word, Audi of America CEO Scott Keogh has made it clear he wants to bring the car over. Audi already sells the handsome RS3 Sportback in Europe, but since European hot hatches don't tend to fly here it will most likely come only as a sedan. Now we have spy shots to drool over.
These gallery above shows the 2016 RS3 Sportback that sits at the top of the range in Europe. The RS3's turbocharged five-cylinder engine sends power through Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system, propelling the car to 62 mph in just over four seconds.
We can only make an educated guess as to what will power the RS3 sedan. Quattro all-wheel drive is a given, as is turbocharging. The European RS3 Sportback comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch that will probably make it to the US. In that car, the transmission is fed by a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine making 362 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. Rumors suggest that Audi will make up for lost time by giving us the 400-hp inline-five that powers the new TT RS.
These spy photos show a black RS3 sedan ripping around the Nürburgring, partially covered in camouflage. Through the camo we can see all of the basic hallmarks of Audi's RS line: cues like larger wheels, brakes, and a spoiler. The front has a hexagonal pattern in the grille that's typical of RS models, while the air intakes are larger and the chin spoiler looks to sit lower than the standard car's. From the side we can see different skirts and fixed brake calipers. Around back two large exhaust pipes replace those of the standard car, which may be the biggest indication that the vehicle is in fact the RS3. Models like the S3 and S4 have quad exhaust tips, while RS models feature two large exits like the ones on the 2016 RS3 Sportback.
For 2017, Audi has made some changes to the A3 line, but we haven't heard or seen anything official from Audi regarding the 2017 RS3, be it Sportback or sedan. With the A3 and S3, the interior benefits from the company's fantastic virtual cockpit digital gauge cluster. The company also added some driver assistance features and refreshed the car visually with new front and rear facias. The spy photos show the same headlights and taillights as the updated models, leading us to believe that the RS3 will probably benefit from the 2017 updates.
In Europe, the RS3 sits at the top of the lineup. Likewise, we expect the RS3 sedan to place above the $42,500, 310-hp S3 when it comes to the US. The spy shots do show that the car is in the final stages of testing. Expect to hear more about the Audi RS3 sedan in the next few months.