Audi RS 3 Sportback 2.5 Review: Saving the best for last

Audi RS 3 Sportback 2.5 Review: Saving the best for last

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
25 Dec 2011
What we like:
pros
Mind boggling performance
pros
tasteful looks
pros
intoxicating engine note
pros
practical nature
pros
quattro stability and traction
pros
desirability
What we dislike:
cons
Suspension can be unsettled by sudden mid-corner bumps
cons
a bit out of reach for many of us
cons
dated interior
cons
not as well equipped as we’d like it to be

The standard A3’s cabin is a nice place to be in overall, even though the model first made its debut about eight years ago. The RS 3 Sportback’s has been enhanced further to make it feel even more special than the lesser models’. The front seats might not look too overtly sporty but they certainly provide good lateral support and are electrically adjustable.

The bespoke instruments feature grey-coloured rings around the dials and an optimistic 310km/h speedo while other go-faster bits inside includes aluminium-look foot pedals, a leather-bound, flat-bottomed steering wheel and a fantastic looking gear knob with the RS logo on it. The multi-function screen within the instruments also offers a turbo boost gauge and lap timer display for your occasional track day foray. There are RS 3 logos on the front seats, side sills, steering wheel and rev counter among other places.

The cabin shows its age in some obvious areas though. The stereo head unit looks especially old while the iPod interface is far from ideal. There’s no MMI user interface that even the A1 is equipped with these days. Equipment levels are surprisingly sparse as well. A sat nav set is not even an option on local cars while the centre console is surprisingly lined with a row of mostly empty switches in this top-notch model.

With two extra doors, the Sportback body style is definitely more practical than three-door A3 models. Ingress and egress to the rear is now a simple cinch but rear legroom is just about average. There’s enough room in the rear for the average adult but it could be a tight squeeze if you need to anchor an unwieldy baby seat.

The RS 3’s closest German rival, the 1 Series M Coupe might be more fun and rewarding on a track or ideal conditions but the RS 3 will definitely inspire more confidence in less than perfect weather and road conditions. The RS 3 is not all perfect on the handling front and feels aged in some areas but its superb performance from that awe inspiring engine and its tasteful looks inside and out will surely surpass its shortcomings to retain its desirability, so much so that it is number one on my Christmas wish list this year.

Credits: Story and photos by Raymond Lai

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