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Expert Rating

Audi RS 3

(2021 - present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

64
%
C

Used car score:

62
%
C

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

74
%
B

Safety Rating:

72
%
B

Eco Rating:

48
%
C

Reliability Rating:

68
%
D

Running Costs:

36
%
D

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

64
%
C

Used car score:

62
%
C

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

74
%
B

Safety Rating:

72
%
B

Eco Rating:

48
%
C

Reliability Rating:

68
%
D

Running Costs:

36
%
D

Summary


Now in its third generation, the Audi RS 3 is an upmarket performance model based on the regular Audi A3 range, available as both a five-door hatchback and a four-door saloon.

Arriving in late 2021, the RS 3 is the smallest member of Audi’s RS performance family. It has been warmly recieved by the UK media, with a large majority of road test reviews referring to the hatch rather than the saloon. Reviewers generally come to the conclusion that, while the RS 3 is an impressive performance package, its price is rather steep for a hot hatch of this size.

“It isn’t cheap and some rivals are more playful through the corners”, What Car? concludes, “but otherwise tough to fault.” The cheapest version of the Audi RS 3 starts at nearly £50,000, which is significantly more expensive than other hyper-hatches of the same size, such as the Hyundai i30 N and Ford Focus ST.

However, the RS 3 provides speed and acceleration that can rival some sports cars; performance that the i30 N and Focus ST simply cannot match. Powered by the same five-cylinder 400hp engine used by the Audi TT RS, the RS 3 accelerates from rest to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. This pace means that, from a performance standpoint, the only strong rival the Audi RS 3 faces is the Mercedes-AMG A 45.

Reviewers also point to how well the car performs through corners too, compared to older iterations of the RS 3, and both the hatch and saloon versions have earned praise for their ‘engaging’ exterior styling.

Finally, reviewers also comment that, while this is a class-leading performance model, it is still an Audi A3 at heart, being just as comfortable to drive as the wholesale model. Carwow explains: “The RS 3 isn’t hardcore all of the time, and can in fact settle down very nicely when you want it to. On the motorway, it feels comfortable and smooth – and you have that massive power on tap whenever you need it.”

As of January 2024, the Audi RS 3 holds a New Car Expert Rating of C with a score of 64%. This score is currently six points lower than the score held by the standard Audi A3.

RS 3 highlights

  • Quality interior trim
  • Class-leading hot hatch performance
  • Comfort that other hot hatches can’t match
  • Five-cylinder engine sounds great

RS 3 lowlights

  • Less storage space than the regular A3
  • Expensive base price, trims and options
  • Cheaper alternatives are more agile
  • So-so fuel economy

Key specifications


Body style: Medium five-door hot hatch and sports saloon
Engines: petrol
Price: From £49,415 on-road

Launched: Winter 2021/22
Last updated: N/A
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Autocar

+

Car

+

Car Keys

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Evo

+

Heycar

+

Honest John

+

Parkers

+

The Sunday Times

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall score: 5 stars
Date tested: December 2020
Read the full Euro NCAP review

Adult protection: 89%
Child protection: 81%
Vulnerable road users: 68%
Safety assist: 73%

The Audi RS 3 has not specifically been assessed by Euro NCAP, but it shares its safety rating with the regular Audi A3 range, which was awarded a five-star rating in December 2020.

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

The Audi RS 3 has not been lab tested by Green NCAP. If it happens, we’ll publish the results here.

Reliability rating

MotorEasy logo 600x167

Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

The Audi A3 family (including the RS 3) has a relatively average reliability score of 63%, according to workshop data provided exclusively to The Car Expert by our partner, MotorEasy.

Based on extensive data, the A3 has had issues across all the major mechanical systems (engine, gearbox, fuel system, suspension, brakes and electrics) with an average repair bill of more than £650. Unsurprisingly, gearbox repairs tend to be the most expensive, with an average bill of nearly £1,700.

If you own an Audi A3 or are looking at buying a used A3, it’s worth considering a used car warranty that covers all these major areas.

Other reports have also questioned the A3’s reliability. In a 2022 What Car? reliability survey, it was ranked dead last in the family car category.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models31 mpgE31 – 32 mpgE – E
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models205 g/kmD202 – 207 g/kmD – D
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models37C35 – 40C – C

The Audi RS 3 is an expensive car to own and run, according to whole-life cost numbers provided exclusively to The Car Expert by our data partner, Clear Vehicle Data.

The car’s fuel economy of 31 mpg is poor when compared to the average car’s fuel consumption. That said insurance premiums are estimated to be just above the market average, which isn’t a bad deal for a premium hot hatch.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Audi RS 3 has received

2022

  • News UK Motor Awards – Best Hot Hatch
  • What Car? Awards – Best Hot Hatch for Daily Usability

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Audi RS 3, you might also be interested in these alternatives

BMW M135i | Cupra Leon | Ford Focus ST | Honda Civic Type R | Hyundai i30 N | Mercedes-AMG A 35 | Mercedes-AMG A 45 | Renault Megane RS | Volkswagen Golf GTI

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The Audi RS 3 is rapid hyper-hatch and sports saloon that is highlighted for its impressive performance, as much as its expensive price.Audi RS 3