The first generation RS3 was developed exclusively as a Sportback 5-door and it should be no surprise that Audi's quattro division is going to launch the second generation starting with the Sportback as well. The overall body shell has already been developed for the A3. It measures 4,324mm in length, 1,404mm in height and packs an ample 2,631mm wheelbase. The S3 version weighs 1520 kilograms with an S tronic gearbox, with the RS3 to weigh a little more.
Sportbacks will be great for competing with the Mercedes A45 AMG and BMW M35i. However, both these cars have brothers and sisters. That's why we think it's wise for Audi to at least offer a sedan version of the new RS3, in order to be competitive in America and maybe China. We can already hear the US tabloid headlines: "This is the evil brother of the A3 company car." or "Vanilla sedan goes ballistic."
PowertrainRumors about a 2-liter turbo engine with 400 horsepower or more have gone rampant. However, we're not buying into the whole "downsizing for downsizing's sake" thing. No RS3 or TT RS owner has ever complained about his engine, which is why power will continue to come from the famous 2.5 TFSI. Output is going to be increased from 340 PS to 367 PS, with the yet unknown torque rating likely to be above 450 Nm. That doesn't sound like much, but it's good enough to rocket the next RS from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Will it sell? Is it desirable?Previous RS3 were limited edition track tool, but the market's appetitive for this type of car has grown substantially. Mercedes expects to sell 45,000 AMG cars in 2014 and of that total, about a third will be the new entry-level models with 2-liter engines, the A, CLA and GLA 45 AMG.
By comparison, quattro GmbH sells about 15,000 RS models and R8 sportscar every year. There's clearly a huge potential for growth here with a hope range of small, potent cars. Other models stand to gain from the 2.5 TFSI engine and its quattro system. The RS Q3 has already been on sale for a year, but hasn't been doing so well. A new TT RS is also coming further down the pipeline and we think it's going to be the fastest car ever built on the MQB platform, rivaling the R8 in straight-line performance.
No Audi model has ever been described as "exciting to look at", but at least aggression will be dialed up. Standard 19-inch wheels will be offered, 20-inch ones being optionally available. Large air intakes like on the RS6 Avant and 10 mm cut from the suspension will ensure this car will be a rally stage refugee on the road. This rendering, created by X-Tomi Design, will give you a good idea of what to expect.