- Audi RS3 Performance Edition revealed
- More power, higher top speed are defining features
- subtlety defines its exterior changes
While still fresh from debuting the all-new RS3 in South Africa two months ago, Audi has unveiled a new limited edition derivative tipped to be the final encore for the current generation due to be replaced by an all-electric follow-up in 2027.
Subtly differentiated from the standard model externally, the RS3 Performance Edition’s gains include matte dark grey 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tyres, standard Matrix LED headlights with blacked-out clusters, a gloss black diffuser and black exhaust tips for the standard RS Sport exhaust system.
In reference to the 300 units that will be produced, as well as the claimed top speed, Audi has outfitted the RS3 Performance Edition with two distinct puddle lamps that projects a 3-0-0 image on the driver’s side and a checkered flag on the passenger’s side. Unlocking and opening front doors also reveals an #RSperformance hashtag projected onto the ground, with the final detail being a choice of five pearl effect colours; Glacier White Metallic, Sebring Black Crystal, Arrow Grey, Daytona Grey and Nogaro Blue.
Inside, the adaptions comprise the standard fitting of the otherwise optional RS bucket seats trimmed in micro-fibres with black Nappa leather side bolsters and a matte carbon fibre insert below the RS headrest, blue seatbelts, matte carbon inlays and an Alcantara finished steering wheel with blue 12’o clock marking. Rounding the interior off are RS floor mats with blue stitching, a black velour boot floor, blue stitching on the doors, armrests and steering wheel, and a commemorative 300 carbon-like plaque on the dashboard. The final unique interior add-on comes via the 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system that receives not only an imitation carbon fibre surround, but also a background image of the 1-2-4-5-3 firing sequence of the 2.5 TFSI engine that resides underneath the bonnet.
Unsurprisingly, Ingolstadt has introduced a number of changes underneath the Performance Edition’s skin, namely stiffer wishbones and uprated springs, as well as fitting the RS Sport adaptive suspension as standard, together with the RS Torque Splitter system. The final encore RS3 also receives upgraded brakes by way of the carbon ceramic stoppers available as an option on the standard RS3. While still consisting out of a six-piston caliper setup at the front and single-piston at the rear, painted blue as standard, the front disc size increases to 380 mm from 375 mm, while the rear remains unchanged at 310 mm.
The biggest highlight is to be found underneath the bonnet where the multi-award winning five-cylinder 2.5-litre engine, barred by the Four Rings from being used by parent company Volkswagen in the new Golf R, has been revised by a larger turbocharger and a 0.1 bar increase in boost. While still paired to an unaltered version of the seven-speed S tronic gearbox with drive going to all four corners, the change means power increases from 294 kW to 299 kW with torque unchanged at 500 Nm.
As mentioned, the standard inclusion of the RS Driver’s Package, which comes with a limited top of 290 km/h on the standard RS3, has been upped to 300 km/h with the 0-100 km/h sprint remaining at 3.8 seconds. Now available for ordering for delivers commencing next year, pricing for the RS3 Performance Edition in Germany kicks-off at R1 336 456 for the Sportback and from R1 372 095 in the case of the sedan. At present, no plans are being made to bring the RS3 Performance Edition in South Africa.