2020 Audi RS 3: prices, specs and release date

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The Audi RS 3 has been spied again, this time while undergoing high-speed testing around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The new model will continue the hyper-hatch arms race against the Mercedes-AMG A45 when it goes on sale later this year.

When it reaches the UK market, the new RS 3 will be the fastest version of the German brand’s range-topping hot hatchback to date, producing upwards of 400bhp. Here’s all the key information that we know so far.

New 2020 Audi RS 3: design and platform

The test car spied in the latest images wear less camouflage than previous mules, though several of the key areas of design are still hidden. However, what’s clear to see is that, true to previous RS-branded Audis, the new RS 3 will feature a purposeful bodykit to set it apart from the lesser versions of the A3.

The upgrades at the front include a deeper front bumper with enlarged air dams to provide more cool air for the engine. Hot air will be expelled with help of additional vents on the trailing edge of the front wheel arches. The side sills are deeper than regular A3 models, while around the back there’s a larger rear spoiler, an extended rear diffuser and the RS-trademark oversized pair of oval tailpipes.

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The makeover will continue inside, with a pair of heavily bolstered sports seats, a sports steering wheel, aluminium pedals and a range of RS-specific displays for the car’s 10.1-inch infotainment system and ‘Virtual Cockpit’ digital instrument binnacle.

Like the eighth-generation Golf, the new Audi RS 3 will be based on the latest version of Volkswagen Group’s MQB underpinnings, albeit with a number of performance upgrades. Current testing mules sport chassis upgrades like lowered suspension and drilled brake discs with larger calipers – all of which should find their way onto the production model.

Engine and drivetrain

As the new RS 3 will feature the same platform as the outgoing model, Audi should also retain the current car’s turbocharged 2.5-litre, five-cylinder petrol engine – which is still used in the latest Audi RS Q3. However, the unit’s power and torque figures will increase to around 415bhp and 500Nm (over the engine’s standard output of 395bhp and 480Nm), in an effort to keep the RS 3 competitive with the 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A 45 S.

Power will be sent through a dual-clutch automatic transmission to a quattro all-wheel-drive system. Like the outgoing model, the new RS 3’s chassis and drivetrain will be supported by a number of technologies reserved for the RS badged model, including adjustable dampers, a torque vectoring system and an adaptive electronic power steering setup, all with a unique tune.

Prices and release date

Though a reveal has not yet taken place, the next RS 3 will probably start from around £50,000, like its main rival the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S. Sales will commence in 2021.

This would also make the RS 3 around £11,000 more expensive than its upcoming mid-range underling, the Audi S3, which will likely cost from around £39,000 when it hits showrooms with four-cylinder power and 306bhp.

What do you make of the new Audi RS 3? Let us know in the comments section below…

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