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Car and Driver: Confirmed: Launch Details of the Audi RS3 Sedan

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2015 Audi RS3 Sportback

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Audi has just facelifted its A3 and S3 models, but the most interesting addition to the lineup will be the RS3 sedan. We now hear from a highly reliable source within the company that the RS3 sedan come to the U.S. market in 2017 as a 2018 model.

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The RS3 again will be powered by a 2.5-liter five cylinder-turbo—but it will be a completely new engine that shares virtually nothing with the current 2.5-liter five in the European-market RS3 Sportback, and the last-generation TT RS.

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The new, all-aluminum single-turbo five-cylinder will debut at the Beijing auto show in the new TT RS; the RS3 will appear shortly thereafter. The engine’s power output will be close to 400 horsepower, enough to surpass the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 4MATIC, which is rated at 375 horsepower.

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The RS3 sedan will be fitted with a DQ500 seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; top speed will be governed at 155 mph or 174 mph, depending on market and selected package. We expect the sprint from 0 to 60 mph will take four seconds flat.

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Launching well beyond the midway point for this generation of the A3, the RS3 sedan highlights the fact that the Quattro GmbH, under the new leadership of former Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann, has its work cut out.

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This vehicle, after all, was teased in March 2011 with the A3 concept (which happened to be powered with a 408-horsepower 2.5-liter five). When the actual production model comes to market, six years will have passed. The strategy to boost interest in a model by launching an RS derivative late into its life cycle comes at a high cost: Audi misses out on the sales generated by a high-performance derivative for the majority of the model’s life cycle. Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M GmbH, by contrast, bring out their high-performance derivatives much earlier.

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