Almost a year after the introduction of the facelifted A3 and S3 range last April, and several months after the debut of the RS3 sedan at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Audi thought it would be a good time to present the updated RS3 Sportback.
The shorty story is that the go-fast hatch adopts the subtle styling, equipment and tech improvements from the regular A3, and the more powerful 400PS (395hp) turbo five from the new RS3 Sedan.
In more detail and starting from the most important upgrade for 2017, the RS3 Sportback gains the same lightweight, five-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged engine found in both the RS3 sedan and the TT RS. It’s not only 26kg (57.3 lb) lighter thanks to its aluminum crankcase, among other features, but also gains 33hp and 11 lb-ft (15Nm) over its predecessor, delivering 400PS (395hp) and 480Nm (354.0 lb-ft) available from 1,700 rpm up to 5,850 rpm.
As before, the five-cylinder lump is paired exclusively to an S-tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel.
Audi claims a 0-100km/h (62mph) time of 4.1 seconds, beating the pre-facelift model by 0.2 seconds, while top speed is electronically capped at 250km/h (155mph), though you can specify an option that increases it to 280km/h (174mph).
The RS3 hatch returns a combined fuel consumption of 8.3 liters per 100 kilometers (28.3 US mpg), which equates to 189 grams of CO2/km (304.2 g/mi).
Exterior revisions for 2017 largely mimic those of the standard A3 and the sporty S3 including new headlights with optional matrix LED operation, a more angular surround for the single-frame grille, reprofiled bumpers with a redesigned front blade and tweaked rear diffuser in the case of the RS3, and new tail lamp graphics.
In the cabin, the most notable change is the availability of the of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit set-up. Here, Audi created a special RS screen that shifts the tachometer to the center, displaying on either side the readings for torque, g‑forces and tire pressure. Furthermore, when the transmission is operating in manual mode, a scale with a color background prompts the driver to use the steering wheel paddle or selector lever to upshift when approaching maximum rpm.
Elsewhere, the RS3 Sportback gets seats with more contoured profiles, an updated infotainment system, and the addition of a new emergency assist feature that automatically stops the car if required, and cross traffic assist rear.
European orders for the RS3 Sportback will begin from April 2017, with first deliveries in August. We’ll see the hot hatch in the flesh at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March.