New Audi RS3 hits the road with dramatic new look and 180mph top speed

Audi has unveiled its latest RS3, bringing a whole range of new features as well as more performance to the firm’s famous sporty model.

Available in both hatchback and saloon layouts, the new RS3 uses the same 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that you’d find in its predecessor, bringing 395bhp and sending it through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro system.

An increase of torque by 20Nm over the car it replaces – now totalling 500Nm – means that the RS3 now accelerates faster than before, sprinting from 0-60mph in just 3.6 seconds and topping out at 155mph – though this can be optionally raised to 180mph.

Audi RS3
The new RS3 is available as both a saloon and hatchback

The RS3’s exhaust also incorporates a fully variable flap control system, meaning that it’s got a more pronounced sound than before.

Audi has fitted the RS3 with a torque splitter device rather than the older car’s rear differential. Made up of a pair of electronically-controlled clutches, the system can help to improve the distribution of power across the rear axle and in doing so not only improves cornering but also allows the RS3 to perform drifts when put into its ‘RS Torque Rear’ mode.

The RS3 features newly developed shock absorbers, too, which are more sensitive than before in the way that they compress and rebound. Adjustable dampers – which allow the driver to make the ride firmer or softer – can be added as an optional extra, too.

New six-piston steel brakes are fitted as standard too, while a lighter ceramic version can be fitted as an optional extra, shedding ten kilograms over the regular steel versions.

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Inside, the RS3 features a 12.3-inch version of Audi’s virtual cockpit plus which replaces the conventional dials ahead of the driver. As well as showing standard readouts, the screen can also be put into RS Runway design, which mimics the look of an airplane runway.

There are a range of carbon fibre elements applied to the cabin while the RS sport seats are finished with anthracite contrast stitching. A three-spoke RS Sport multifunction steering wheel with a flat-bottom design is fitted as standard and includes shift paddles made from die-cast zinc.

Orders for the new RS3 will commence later this summer with prices expected to start at around £50,900.