There are very few questions to which the Audi RS3 is not an excellent answer. For instance: “What is a good car for driving every day?” Audi RS3. “What is a good weekend track car that doesn’t draw too much attention on the road?” Audi RS3. “What would be an excellent all-weather road tripper?” Audi RS3. What is an incredible sleeper that can be driven every day and embarrass many sports cars on a drag strip or race track?” Audi RS3. “What modern car connects directly with the enthusiast and motorsport-based innovative roots of an otherwise mundane, if competent, car company?” Audi RS3.
The RS3 is great. It’s very fast, with a snarly 400-hp turbocharged five-cylinder that sounds like the left bank of a Lamborghini Huracan blowing a whistle. It has a very smart all-wheel-drive system that, on demand, can send 50 percent of its torque to the rear, exhibiting massive oversteer and shredding tires in the process. And it will shine on a race track, with poise, excellent brakes (optionally ceramic on our tester), and brilliant handling dynamics.
And then when it’s time to drive a couple hundred miles home, it’s a true Audi, even if it is distantly related to the Volkswagen Golf. There’s tons of room, supportive seats, a great stereo, and loads of smart tech.
The Audi RS3 may not be on the podium for
Performance Car of the Year
in terms of sheer lap times, but there are few, if any, better sport sedans you can buy new for under $80,000. The car is simply excellent in all the ways a car can be excellent.