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2021 Audi RS3 spotted testing

Car Buyer logo Car Buyer 24/10/2019 Ben Custard
a car parked on the side of a road: 2021 Audi RS3 spotted for the first time © Carbuyer 2021 Audi RS3 spotted for the first time

The new Audi RS3 has been caught on camera by spy photographers. The car in the pictures is a camouflaged development car, with a production model due on sale in 2021 - a year or so after the standard Audi A3. We expect the hot hatchback power war to intensify, with the new RS3 likely to have more power than the 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S. Prices are likely to start at just under £50,000.

The 2020 Audi A3 on which the RS3 will be based has yet to be officially unveiled but Audi is already working on a much more powerful version. At first glance the design looks quite subtle but through the camouflage we can see slightly swollen wheel arches and a more prominent roof spoiler. There are other telltale signs that this is the RS3 - the aerodynamic rear bumper features two big oval exhaust pipes, the grille has a different mesh design and the body kit is more aggressive than you’d expect of the standard car. The front air intakes, alloy wheels and brakes will all be much bigger than those fitted to the A3.

Rumours suggest the 2021 Audi RS3 may stick with the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine fitted to the current car. It’ll be tweaked to improve performance and efficiency, and may include a mild-hybrid system to allow the engine to shut down when coasting. This would follow more powerful RS cars like the new Audi RS7. Once again, Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and an automatic gearbox will be fitted as standard.

a car parked on the side of a building: 2021 Audi RS3 spotted in camouflage © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited 2021 Audi RS3 spotted in camouflage

The current RS3 has just under 400bhp but we expect the new version to have well over that. For the past few years, Audi and Mercedes have fought to have the most powerful hot hatchback on sale, and the 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S currently wears the crown. As a result, the new RS3 is likely to have even more power. Its 0-62mph time will be reduced by a couple of tenths of a second as a result, bringing it below four seconds.

Little is known about the interior of the standard A3 or the RS3, but we expect it to draw heavily from the latest Audi Q3. That car features a 10.1-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard and a hi-res Virtual Cockpit screen replacing analogue speedometer and rev counter dials. It’s thought that the next A3 and RS3 might borrow some self-driving technology from the Audi A8 limousine, although we can’t imagine many RS3 drivers using that tech on a regular basis.

The RS3’s interior will be marked out from the standard A3 with Alcantara suede-like upholstery, red contrasting stitching, specific RS graphics for the two screens and aluminium pedals. As for optional extras, we expect the brochure to include a sports exhaust and adaptive suspension.

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