Fans of compact, European vehicles that mix luxury and performance should be in paradise right now. There's already the 320-horsepower M235i from BMW and the 355-hp CLA45 AMG (or A45 elsewhere) from Mercedes-Benz, but you can now add one more to the list. Meet the Audi RS3 Sportback, which boasts 362 hp and five doors, too.
It's almost late May, and you know what that means: the last of the snow has melted, the Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing, the flowers are blooming, and the performance-car faithful are descending on Wörthersee in Austria for the annual GTI-Treffen.
A sure-fire way of adding excitement to any Audi is removing the "A" from its model name and replacing it with "RS." Take the RS4, RS5, RS6 and RS7 as proof of this fact. Of course, the transformation from "A" to "RS" wouldn't be complete with a huge bump in power, a far more sporting suspension, enhanced brakes and a more aggressive styling treatment.
There's a war being waged in Europe for the highest output from the smallest displacement. Alfa Romeo has managed to squeeze 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque out of a 1.7-liter turbo four for the 4C. Mercedes-Benz has coaxed 355 hp and 332 lb-ft out of a 2.0-liter turbo four to drive the new A45 AMG, CLA45 AMG and GLA45 AMG. But not to be outdone, the Volkswagen Group is said to be working on one of its own that will put both to shame.
Not all vehicle prototypes and mules require heavy camouflage – sometimes they can be hidden in plain sight. That's probably what Audi was hoping for while testing its new RS3 wearing S3 duds, but thanks to some visual and audible telltales, our spy photographers were able to recognize this as a precursor to the marque's ultra-hot hatch testing near the Nürburgring.
It seems the press is bent on brewing up a rivalry brewing between the BMW 1 Series M Coupe and the Audi RS3. As you may recall, AutoExpress recently pitted the pint-sized Germans against each another in a drag race. Now, Fifth Gear lined up both machines for a one-lap battle with Tiff Needell driving the 1M and Mark Higgins piloting the Audi RS3. Higgins recently set a four-wheel lap record around the Isle of Man TT course (and pulled off one of the hairiest saves we've ever seen in the process
2011 Audi RS3 gets the silent film treatment – Click above to watch video after the jump
Audi's lineup is expanding so quickly you'd think its cars were spawning new models by mitosis. In a few days at the Paris Motor Show we'll be seeing the newest hot addition to the A1 range: the 185-horsepower 1.4 TSFI with thrust provided by a twin-charged four cylinder. That's not the S1, it just has the S-Line package thrown on for racy looks. Next year, the S1 itself will step forward, with the Golf GTI's turbocharged 220-hp engine sitting up front. It is a sure bet to shave serious time off
In reaction to news that Audi put up an online petition to bring the TT RS to the U.S., a number of commenters opined that they'd rather have the S3. Well, you're no closer to getting it, but you can see its even hotter brother, the RS3, in spy shots taken in Austria.
2011 Audi RS3 – Click above for high-res image gallery
The Audi RS-fest continues with the RS3, spied on its way to the 'Ring for the obligatory entrance exam to become any kind of sports car. The news on the street is that the RS3 will get a reworked version of the five-cylinder lump from the TT RS with output claimed to be "over 330 bhp." It won't though, get the TT RS's six-speed manual, going for an S-tronic instead. We could see it at the Paris Motor Show, but we won't see it here in the States. With Audi's continued refusal to even bring over