With a potent 401-hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the 2022 Audi RS3 is the raciest version of the company’s small luxury sedan. Based on the four-door Audi A3 and the sportier S3–but blessed with even more power and enhanced chassis tuning–the new RS variant challenges hi-po rivals such as the BMW M2 coupe and Mercedes-AMG CLA45 sedan. However, the RS3’s unusual engine gives it one of the most distinct soundtracks in its class. The Audi’s sharply creased sheetmetal as well as its stylish, nicely appointed interior help it appeal to audiences who appreciate sportiness as much as luxuriousness.
What’s New for 2022?
After a hiatus for the 2021 model year, the sportiest variant of Audi’s smallest sedan returns for 2022. The RS3 enters its second generation in the U.S. and draws largely from the totally redesigned A3 and S3. While the three share a platform, interior dimensions, and many similar features, the A3 is powered by a 201-hp turbo four and the S3 has a 306-hp version of the same mill.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The 2022 RS3 starts at just under $60,000 and few options are offered. We would recommend going with the optional Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R summer tires, but we’d skip the other packages as they’re mainly cosmetic.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
One of the most distinct elements of the RS3 is its unusual five-cylinder engine. Its odd number of cylinders gives it a unique thrumming soundtrack that was particularly pleasing on the outgoing model. The latest iteration is again a turbocharged 2.5-liter, but it now makes 401 horsepower. The engine pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that deliberately downshifts with slight throttle inputs, but it behaves less aggressively during hard braking. Its standard all-wheel-drive system includes a torque-vectoring rear differential with a drift mode. Unfortunately, getting the RS3’s tail to kick out requires dedication and can be difficult to maintain. Compared with the lesser A3 and S3, the sportiest 3 has upgraded brakes, a stiffer suspension setup, and a unique set of wheels on stickier performance tires. The RS3 we drove produced exhilarating sounds, and the car’s feisty nature was evident at the racetrack. Plus, it was composed and comfortable when driven sedately on regular roads. At our test track, we recorded a blisteringly-quick 3.3-second run to 60 mph and the RS3 eclipsed the quarter-mile mark in just 11.8 seconds at 117 mph.
Fuel Economy and Real World MPG
The 2022 RS3 is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. On our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, the RS3 outperformed its EPA estimate with a 33 mpg result. For more information about the RS3’s fuel economy, visit the EPA website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the RS3’s passenger space is identical to the A3 and S3, but it has a set of more aggressively bolstered front seats. Audi endows all versions with a dashboard that looks anything but bland. A pair of high-mounted air vents face the driver and flank the instrument panel binnacle that houses a set of digital gauges. The RS3 is also available with a heads-up display. Below the center touchscreen are climate controls with physical buttons, and there’s a bin below them that’s integrated into the center console. Unfortunately, drivers have to select gears via a weird, stubby shifter; paddles on the steering wheel are an alternative once the RS3 is in motion.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
Based on the infotainment system employed by the A3 and S3, the RS3 has a 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted in the middle of the dash. It can be controlled through touch inputs, buttons on the steering wheel, and voice commands. It also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Built-in navigation, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging are on the roster, too.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The RS3 offers a mix of standard driver-assistance technology as well as options such as adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights. For more information about the Audi’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi’s limited and powertrain warranty are competitive with other German automakers.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Audi RS3
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $59,995/$65,440
Options: RS Technology package (Audi Navigation Plus, Bang & Olufsen sound system, head-up display), $2750; RS sport exhaust, $1000; Black Optic Plus package (19-inch matte black wheels, summer tires, black Audi badges and roof), $750; Kemora Gray metallic paint, $595; side and rear cross traffic assist, $350
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve inline-5, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 151 in3, 2480 cm3
Power: 401 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.8-in vented, cross-drilled disc/12.2-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4
F: 265/30ZR-19 (93Y) AO
R: 245/35ZR-19 (93Y) AO
Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Length: 178.8 in
Width: 72.9 in
Height: 55.6 in
Passenger Volume: 87 ft3
Trunk Volume: 8 ft3
Curb Weight: 3639 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.3 sec
100 mph: 8.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.8 sec @ 117 mph
130 mph: 15.0 sec
150 mph: 22.1 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 159 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 336 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.94 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 22 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 33 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 470 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 23/20/29 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs