Audi’s R8 births the new RS3 and you can’t look away, as much as you’d like to

Audi doesn’t shy away from using dramatic videos to introduce new models. For example, the R8 V10 Plus promo that showcases the howl of its Lamborghini-derived 5.2-liter V10 makes gathering air for your next breath quite difficult.

So when it comes to introducing the redesigned RS3 Sportback, Audi returns to the snarl of the R8, but this time as the birth … parent … thing going into labor while it welcomes its precious little RS3 gift into the world. The whole experience is a mixture of Transformers and nature’s oddity in one fascinating clip.

Though we already know how the latest generation RS3 looks, as the fiery red Sportback emerges, it truly feels like you’re looking at it with new eyes. Heck, Audi even finds a way to show the “umbilical cord” being cut — now that’s commitment to a metaphor.

While proportionally the new RS3 Sportback shares little in common with the halo Audi R8, its performance has inched closer to its ancestor. It may have half the cylinders of the R8 V10, but the 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder makes 367 horsepower — up 27 from the previous generation — and 343 pound-feet of torque. That power is funneled to all four wheels via Audi’s infamous quattro all-wheel drive system, which is connected to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. Sorry manual transmission fans, there won’t be a three-pedal setup this time around.

Thanks in part to its sophisticated all-wheel drive system, the 2016 RS3 Sportback gets to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds on the way to its electronically-limited 155 mph top speed. Toss Audi a bit more cash and you can raise the governor to 174 mph. See what I mean about the invasion of the R8’s performance territory?

Besides the ferocious power, the RS3 Sportback gains other significant hardware upgrades like carbon ceramic front brakes and a brake-based torque vectoring system for better cornering.

Its pumped-up exterior completes the look and makes this particular American wish the hatchback would come stateside. Alas, we’ll have to make do with a sedan version when it goes on sale sometime next year. But no complaining, or Audi will take away our toys.

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