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Audi RS3: Buying guide and review (2011-2012)

Audi RS3: Buying guide and review (2011-2012) Classic and Performance Car
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Over the past few decades the top German auto manufacturers have been trading punches at the upper end of the luxury performance segment, with ever increasing fervour. The premium hatchback sector has become particularly hotly contested and Audi introduced its RennSport ‘RS’ line of cars to compete with Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M range for top honours.
 
The first generation RS3 made its debut in 2011, intent on topping its segment. Packed with technology that showed Audi was not pulling any punches, its crowning glory was the 335bhp five-cylinder turbo engine. With a howl that harked back to the original 1980s Quattro, four-wheel drive and a long list of standard kit the RS3 was a desirable package. 
 
A launch price of £40,000 reflected its premium status, with very limited numbers being made available for the UK market its relative rarity was ensured. Class-leading acceleration and a characterful engine made it a favourite among performance car enthusiasts, and five years on it’s still easily able to hold its head high among the newer generation of sporty hatchbacks.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Built in limited numbers, only 750 were made available to the UK market making the RS3 rarer than most rivals. Standard specifications were high, including sat nav, and there were also a host of optional extras to choose from. Specific to RS models were an alcantara steering wheel, additional readouts in the digital instrument binnacle, RS logos, bucket seats and styling packages in black or a matt aluminium finish. Other desirable options include cruise control, adaptive headlights, electric seats and a Bose sound system.
 
Only the five-door Sportback body style was available, but lowered suspension and 19-inch alloys completed the sporty package. While the RS3 certianly looks special, the biggest change over the standard S3 was under the bonnet. The engine was a powerful five-cylinder 2.5-litre unit, producing 335bhp. Unavailable in any other A3, and shared only with the TT RS (and subsequently RS Q3), it gives the RS3 a pleasing off-beat soundtrack with the power to make the most of its uprated chassis. While the TT RS eventually got a manual transmission, the RS3 was only ever equipped with the seven-speed S Tronic, which removes some of the driver involvement but suits the character of the car. 
 
The four-wheel drive setup allows for the sort of press-on motoring in inclement weather conditions, which would leave most rivals sliding into ditches. This all-weather ability does rob the car of some fun, as well as handling poise when extended on track. While quite effective in normal use, front brake pads have a tendency to squeal and can fade under duress. In real world conditions however the trade-off seems a good one, and the RS3 is able to provide rapid cross country motoring in safety.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 2480cc 20valve DOHC in-line five-cylinder 
Power 335bhp @ 5400-6500rpm
Torque 332lb ft @ 1600-5300rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-62mph 4.6 seconds 
Fuel consumption 31mpg 
Gearbox Seven-speed S-tronic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2578mm
Length 4302mm
Width 1794mm
Height 1402mm
Weight 1575kg
 
Common problems
 
• Parts are readily available from Audi dealers however RS specific components do carry a premium over standard items. Thanks to Audi’s top notch build quality and with the cars being so new there have not been a lot of issues or latent faults that have cropped up since the RS3’s debut. Other than ensuring that your potential purchase has been serviced regularly there are only a few things to check for.

• The running gear is very strong and can take a lot of punishment however some owners have found that too many full bore starts on grippy surfaces can damage the four wheel drive system and/or the clutch.

• There are a lot of specialists out there willing to modify your RS3 and some are offering 500bhp+ conversions. If the car you are looking at has been chipped or has received other modifications be aware that the extra strain on the drivetrain may cause problems and further expense down the road.

• Squealing brakes and warped discs have come in for criticism from some owners. Solutions range from disc and pad replacement to uprated items. Not all cars suffer from this, so a quick test drive can confirm whether the car you intend to purchase has this issue or not. Some cars would have had a calliper upgrade carried out by Audi while others have resolved the issue by changing brake pads to non-original ones.

• With low-profile tyres and 19-inch alloy wheels, potholes can damage the alloys more readily, so check for any buckling or other signs of damage. Generally a shaky steering wheel or vibrating pedals can indicate damaged alloys or suspension components.

• The S-Tronic gearbox is a strong unit. Gear change hesitation in certain modes can be resolved with an ECU flash, however persistent issues may require a gearbox oil change to resolve.
 
Model history
 
2011: 335bhp Audi RS3 launched in the UK. Limited number of 500 made available. Available in five colour options and with seven-speed S-tronic gearbox only. High standard equipment level included numerous RS3 specific trim items
2012: Due to strong demand a further 250 units were made available to the UK market
 
Clubs and websites
 
• www.audi.co.uk
• www.audirs3oc.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Residual values have stayed firm, which means that even a 2011 car with 50,000 miles on the clock will still sell for £25,000 and up. Lower mileage examples can command up to £32,000 due to the car’s rarity.
 
Words: John Tallodi 
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Last updated: 21st Dec 2015
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  • AUDI RS3 2.5 TFSI RS 3 Quattro 4dr S Tronic Saloon

    £47,000 £47,000

    Type: Used Year: 2017 Make: AUDI Model: RS3 Trim: 2.5 TFSI RS 3 Quattro 4dr S Tronic Saloon Body: Sedan Trans: Manual Mileage: 25 Engine Size: 2480 Ext Color: BLACK

    • Mileage: 25 mi
    • Engine size: 2480
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  • 2016 Audi RS3 Sportback Quattro Nav 5dr

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    1 OWNER + SEPANG BLUE PEARL + PANORAMIC SUNROOF + SUPER SPORT SEATS + SAT NAV + DYNAMIC PACK + RS SPORTS EXHAUST + MAG RIDE + COMFORT PACK + BANG & OULFSEN SOUND SYSTEM + CRUISE CONTROL + GLOSS BLACK STYLING PACK + FOLDING MIRRORS, Heated Front Seats, Dual-Zone Electronic Climate Control, DAB Digital Radio Reception, Audi Parking System Plus, Front and Rear with Selective Display, MMI Radio Plus, Audi Music Interface, 19in x 8J 5-Arm Rotor Design Galvanished Silver Alloy Wheels with 235/35 R19 Tyres and Anti-Theft Wheel Bolts, Rain Sensor, Colour Drivers Information System (DIS), Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, Mobile Phone Preparation - Bluetooth Interface, Upholstery - Fine Nappa Leather Upholstery with Embossed RS3 Logo, Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator

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  • 2017 Audi RS3 RS 3 Quattro 5dr

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    2017 / 67 reg + 650 MILES + PANTHER BLACK CRYSTAL + PANORAMIC GLASS ROOF + HEATED LEATHER SEATS + RS SPORTS EXHAUST + RS MAG RIDE + MATRIX LED HEADLIGHTS + BANG AND OULFSEN SOUND SYSTEM + SAT NAV + VIRTUAL COCKPIT + GLOSS BLACK ALLOYS + RED BRAKES + PRIVACY GLASS + FOLDING MIRRORS + PHYSICAL CAR + FINANCE ARRANGED + PART EXCHANGE WELCOME + ALL OUR CARS ARE EXPERIAN CHECKED

    • Year: 2017
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