Saying the prodigal son has returned might be taking things a little too far to describe the return of the Audi RS3 Sportback and Sedan to Australian shores. The megahatch is slated to go on sale here sometime before the middle of 2020 with prices starting from $83,800 before on-road costs. But, the return of the RS3 comes with a caveat, which we’ll get into shortly.
The RS3’s announcement came from the sidelines of the infamous 12 Hours of Bathurst last weekend. Shawn Ticehurst, the Director of product planning and pricing said, “we’re very pleased to have it back” after sales dried up due to delays caused by switching to the WLTP emissions standard in Europe.
It’s interesting to note that in 2018, sales of the RS3 model accounted for almost one quarter of all A3’s sold in Australia. However, supply issues caused the A3’s sales figures to plummet. According to a report, the brand’s total volume plunged some 19.1 percent; but, Mr. Ticehurst said the problems plaguing Audi were “well behind us” given the company’s sales growth over the past six months.
The returning RS3, as mentioned, will be available in both hatchback (or Sportback if you speak Audi marketing) and Sedan body styles. The RS3 will continue to be powered by a turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine which packs 294kW and 480Nm of twist. Naturally, this being an Audi, drive is sent to all four corners via the brand’s signature quattro all-wheel drive system upon being funnelled through a 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission.
What’s new for the RS3’s 2020 comeback is the addition of the PPF system. For those not in the know PPF, which stands for petrol particulate filter, is now a requirement to meet strict Euro 6 emissions standards. Audi says the filter is capable of handling Australian premium unleaded or 98RON despite the fact our fuel contains more sulphur than it does in Europe.
While the PPF is great for the environment and keeping harmful carbon emissions low, it does take a chunk out of the RS3’s soul. You see, the addition of the PPF system softens the exhaust’s lively and characterful notes such as the crackle and pops when downshifting. “Fitting the filter was necessary,” Mr. Ticehurst said. “It was a case of have the filter or the car doesn’t come to Australia. It is the same situation with the TT RS that also has the same engine and is due here in the fourth quarter.”
All RS3 variants get a standard safety kit which includes nine airbags, active lane assist via intervention and vibration, blind-spot warning, a rear three-quarter warning when a vehicle is approaching from behind, rear cross-traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and active cruise control. While magnetic ride suspension becomes standard fitment in this updated car, the RS3 loses the premium composite-ceramic brakes which has been dropped from the range due to poor take-up rates.
A Carbon Edition RS3 will also be offered in Australia and will be priced from $87,200 (before on-road costs) for the Sportback and $89,900 for the Sedan. For the added dough, customers will receive unique blacked-out body trim, privacy glass, different alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof.
- Audi RS3 Sportback - $83,800
- Audi RS3 Sedan - $86,500
- Audi RS3 Sportback Carbon Edition - $87,200
- Audi RS3 Sedan Carbon Edition - $89,900