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The Audi RS3 Sportback is another hot hatch out of most people’s ballpark, but that won’t stop us from bringing you live shots of it as it makes its first appearance at the Geneva Auto Show.
With a 340 horsepower, 332 lb-ft turbocharged 5-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, the RS3 can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. Helping bring this car to a halt are 14.57″ 4-piston brakes up front and 12.2″ rears. Wider fenders, a blacked-out grille and a lower ride height help give off subtle cues as to what this car can do. Think of it as a TT-RS in a more practical package.
Gallery: Audi RS3 Sportback
Having just introduced the new RS3 Sportback model, Audi Exclusive is now offering a sporty Black Optics package. The package enhances the aesthetics of the RS3 sportback by offering a new front grille, grille frame, license plate holder and highly polished back exhaust tips.
While those changes are subtle, the set of wheels that comes with the package are pretty bold. Boasting a red and black theme, the thick five-spoke design adds a ton of sportiness to the RS3 Sportback.
And for those wanting a little more, a Matte Aluminum styling package will also be available. The front spoiler, mounts on the front lower air intakes, trim on the door handles, lateral fins, roof spoiler and upper edge of the rear diffuser can all be offered in an aluminum finish.
We’re still a little iffy about the wheels, but this is certainly a nice way to further beef-up the 340-hp luxury hot hatch.
With the current A3 model nearing the end of its production cycle, Audi will send the car out with a bang, announcing an all new RS3 model. Putting even the Golf R to shame, the RS3 Sportback produces an incredible 340-hp and 332 ft-lbs of torque from the same turbocharged 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine found in the TT-RS. Mated to a 7-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission and using Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system the car can blast to 62-mph in just 4.6 seconds.
Added grip and improved handling come thanks to 19-inch wheels with 235/39/19 front tires and 225/35/19 rear tires (yes, the front tires are wider). That matches up with a front track that is just over an inch wider as well, while the overall ride height has been dropped by one inch. An ultra-precise 16.2:1 steering ratio makes the RS3 really turn when you point it.
Helping to cut weight, the wider front tires are now made of carbon fiber.
Improved braking is also a part of the package thanks to 4-piston front brake calipers with massive 14.57-inch rotors (370mm), while the rear brakes run 12.2-inch rotors.
The exterior of the RS3 isn’t quite as dramatic as past RS models, with the fenders bulging less, still, there’s a massive front grille with more aggressively designed side intakes. Side skirts, matte-aluminum mirror housings, a roof spoiler, black diffuser, two exhaust pipes and several RS3 badges round out the design.
Inside, it’s pure Audi luxury with Nappa leather, silver stitching and piano black or Aluminum Race trim, with a flat-bottom steering wheel.
Audi has made several nods to enthusiasts with this car, including a stability control system that can be turned completely off, while including a lap timer in the driver information screen. Plus, a Sport button activates flaps in the exhaust system to really let the engine howl.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to be a rich enthusiasts to afford the RS3 Sportback, with the price set at 49,900 Euros. That’s $68,000… yikes.
Sadly, that number is mostly irrelevant on this side of the Atlantic as Audi has announced now plans to sell the RS3 in North America.
GALLERY: Audi RS3 Sportback
Official release after the jump: