I really liked the 2015 Audi S3 when I drove it, but I could tell Audi left room for something a little... more. It turns out that more will be their wonderfully manic turbocharged 2.5-liter engine with at least 340 horsepower, which will report for duty in the 2016 Audi RS3. Sweet.
After hearing the car parade around the Nürburgring, we anticipated it would get a five-cylinder engine, and it turns out we were right. Quattro technical director Stephan Reil spoke to Top Gear, and he confirmed the use of the five-pot.
That should put a unique spin on the new RS3 and differentiate it from the S3, which uses a 292 horsepower version of the ubiquitous but excellent 2.0-liter TFSI engine. The last RS3 had the same motor, as did the previous TT-RS.
In that configuration it had 340 horsepower, but Reil says to expect more here:
"The previous car produced 340bhp. We now have more power," Stephan says with a smile. He wouldn't be pushed on how much more, but TG is putting good money on more than 360bhp. Much more than that and - as Stephan rightly points out - it'd start picking on cars not its own size. Like the RS4.
"I'm not a fan of power Top Trumps," he says emphatically, "because you'd need a bigger turbo which means more lag. I'd rather lose 10 or 15 horses and have a wider spread of torque and immediate response. That's more beneficial for the customer."
Top Gear didn't get to drive the RS3 prototype, but they did get to ride shotgun in some hot laps, and reported it feels obscenely fast, unbelievably loud, and vastly more tail-happy than the previous RS3 or other Audis. "The thing was four-wheel-drifting everywhere," they say.
Lots more details on the car in their story. But will it come to America? Our friends at Fourtitude recently reported the RS3 sedan seems to be a done deal, and also the A3 hatch is coming our way too. I'd say things look promising.