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Five doors, five cylinders, and quattro: Audi’s RS 3 Sportback adds up to one hot hatch

Our friends across the pond have it real good when it comes to sporty hatchbacks. Today, we just got another reason to be envious with the announcement of the new Audi RS 3 Sportback, the brand’s latest performance-paked compact vehicle.

The top-tier version of the A3 gets a larger, 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 367 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque, making it the most powerful five-cylinder Audi has ever made. This power is routed through the dual-clutch seven-speed S tronic transmission, which drivers can flip through manually with paddle shifters, or left alone to pick the best gear. A launch control system is included to optimize sprints off the line, letting drivers go from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds.

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It wouldn’t be an Audi without Quattro all-wheel drive, and with the help of custom software and sensors, the torque can go from being split 50/50 between the front and back axles, or it can be fully sent to the rear, depending on coefficient of friction and driving style. Torque vectoring further improves the sporty dynamics of the RS 3 by lightly breaking the wheels on the inside of a turn, helping to curve the car around corners.

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The chassis rides on an McPherson strut suspension on the front, and a four-link construction on the real axle made up of high-strength steel rods. It sits an inch lower than the A3 Sportback, and the adaptive magnetic ride active damper system can be adjusted when drivers select their preferred drive modes. All this is  bolted on 19-inch wheels which either sport a matte titanium look or a high-gloss anthracite black finish. Drivers can even take the sportiness even further by opting for carbon fiber-ceramic brake discs on the front axle.

Of course, the RS 3 has to look like it goes as fast as it claims, and the hot hatch does the trick with a more pronounced front bumper, high gloss black honeycomb grille, and a rear diffuser. The interior screams performance, too, with an alcantara-covered, flat bottom steering wheel, boost pressure indicator, and lap timer.

Audi hasn’t said if the 2015 RS 3 is heading to U.S. roads anytime soon, but we can keep our hopes up that, after the Sportback makes it to European dealer lots in the summer, the German automaker will bend to our intense green-eyed stares of jealousy.

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Alexander Kalogianni
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Alex K is an automotive writer based in New York. When not at his keyboard or behind the wheel of a car, Alex spends a lot of…
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