With a potent 401-hp turbocharged five-cylinder engine, the 2022 Audi RS3 is the raciest version of the company’s small luxury sedan. Based on the four-door Audi A3 and the sportier S3–but blessed with even more power and enhanced chassis tuning–the next-gen RS model will challenge hi-po rivals such as the BMW M2 coupe and Mercedes-AMG CLA45 sedan. The Audi’s sharply creased sheetmetal as well as its stylish, nicely appointed interior make it a compelling class player, but we won’t know how its performance stacks up until we drive one. We’re also still waiting on full details about the 2022 RS3, which is expected to go on sale by the end of the year.
What’s New for 2022?
After a hiatus for the 2021 model year, the sportiest variant of Audi’s smallest sedan returns for 2022. The RS3 enters its second generation in the U.S. and draws largely from the totally redesigned A3 and S3. While the three share a platform, interior dimensions, and many similar features, the A3 is powered by a 201-hp turbo four and the S3 has a 306-hp version of the same mill. Audi will announce more information and show uncamouflaged images of the new RS3 on July 19.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
One of the most distinct elements of the RS3 is its unusual five-cylinder engine. Its odd number of cylinders give it a unique thrumming soundtrack that was particularly pleasing on the outgoing model. The latest iteration is again a turbocharged 2.5-liter, but it now makes 401 horsepower. Its predecessor also featured a dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. We expect both to be standard on the new RS3, and Audi has said that it’ll also have a torque-vectoring rear differential with a drift mode. Likewise, compared with the lesser A3 and S3, the sportiest 3 should have upgraded brakes, a stiffer suspension setup, and a unique set of wheels on stickier performance tires.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the RS3 sedan will look a lot like the A3 and S3 variants, with similar passenger and trunk space. Audi endows each with a dashboard design that’s anything but bland. A pair of high-mounted air vents face the driver and flank the instrument panel binnacle, which we expect to house a set of digital gauges. Below the center touchscreen are climate controls with physical buttons, and there’s a bin below them that’s integrated into the center console. Unfortunately, it looks like drivers will have to select gears via a weird, stubby shifter. There’s also a circular pad nearby that includes stereo controls, but we’ll have to wait and see if its intuitive or annoying.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Based on the infotainment system employed by the A3 and S3, we expect the RS3 to have a 10.1-inch touchscreen mounted in the middle of the dash. It can be controlled through touch inputs, buttons on the steering wheel, and voice commands. It’ll also include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility. Built-in navigation, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless charging will also be standard or optional.