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

Audi RS3: Buying guide and review (2011-2012) Classic and Performance Car
Audi RS3 Audi RS3 Audi RS3 Audi RS3
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
21986 52995 GBP
  • Audi RS3

    £35,495 £35,495

    Colour SatNav, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, Radio, CD Player, Folding Rear Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Full Leather, Remote Central Locking, Immobiliser, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Power Steering, Adjustable Steering Column, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Quick-Clear Screen, Stability Control, Traction Control, Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Central Locking, Alloy wheels, 4x4, Full service history Super Sports Seats, Silver Leather, Diamond Stitching, Upgraded Wheels, Magnetic Ride Suspension, Cruise Control Technology Pack, Lighting Upgrade, Comfort and Sound Package. This car is NOT STORED ON SITE. Please call to arrange viewing strictly by appointment ONLY. 01273 846884.

    • Mileage: 5500 mi
    • Engine size: 2480
    For sale
    £35,495 £35,495
    South Downs Car Sales Ltd
  • AUDI RS3 SPORTBACK FACELIFT WITH HUGE SPEC 2018

    £52,995 £52,995

    VAT QUALIFYING *JULY/18 REGISTRATION* EXTRAS- AUDI SPORTS PACKAGE CONSISTING OF RS SPORTS SUSPENSION WITH AUDI MAGNETIC RIDE, RS SPORTS EXHAUST, TYRE PRESSURE MONITOR, PANORAMIC SUNROOF, SUPERSPORT SEATS, RS DESIGN PACK, B and O SOUND SYSTEM, REVERSE CAMERA, BLACK PACK, KEYLESS PLUS LOADS MORE!! CALL TODAY TO REGISTER YOUR INTEREST. ;;2018/18 Reg Audi RS3 Sportback Finished In Nardo Grey. Great Spec to Include- RS Sports Exhaust, RS Sports Suspension with Magnetic Ride, Rotor Arm Alloys Finished In Gloss Black, Gloss Black Styling Package, Gloss Black Mirrors, Panoramic Sunroof, Privacy Glass, Supersports Seats with Red Stitching, RS Design Package, Bang and Olufsen, Advanced Key, Hill Hold Assist, Reverse Camera, Virtual Cockpit, HDD Satellite Navigation System with Google Street Maps, Tyre Pressure Monitor, Cruise Control, ISOFIX, Heated Seats, DAB Digital Radio, Bluetooth Phone Prep with Audio Streaming, RS Floor Mats, RS3 Embossed Seats. HPI CLEAR. INDOOR SHOWROOM- LOW RATE FINANCE WITH ZERO DEPOSIT OPTIONS- PART EXCHANGE- FREE DRIVE AWAY INSURANCE- NATIONWIDE DELIVERY.

    • Mileage: 50 mi
    For sale
    £52,995 £52,995
  • Audi RS3

    £32,495 £32,495

    4x4 Stunning Rs3 Quattro ( 362 Bhp ) Finished In Gleaming Mythos Black Paintwork And Is Also Complimented By Having A Full Audi Dealer Longlife Service History And A Very Impressive Specification Including: Heated Fine Nappa Leather Super-Sport Seats With Red Stitching And Electric Lumbar Support, Navigation System, Dynamic Pack, Comfort And Sound Pack With Bang And Oulfsen Sound System, Dab Radio, High Gloss Black Styling Pack, Audi Phone Box With Bluetooth Preparation, Cruise Control, Electric - Heated Chrome Effect Wing-Mirrors, 19 '' 5 Arm Rotary Alloy Wheels, A Truly Stunning Practical 5 Dr Sports And Performance Vehicle.

    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    • Engine size: 2480
    For sale
    £32,495 £32,495
  • Audi RS3

    £21,986 £21,986

    Variant name:Sportback ,Variant: 2.5T FSI RS3 Quattro 5dr S Tronic We are happy to offer this fantastic 2011 Audi RS3 Sportback. Presented in Metallic Grey with Black Full Leather Interior. This RS3 has a great specification including, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, Reverse Parking Sensors, Diamond Cut 5 Spoke RS Alloy Wheels, Rear Privacy Blinds, Automatic Xenon Projector Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, Headlight Washers, Multi Functional Flat Bottom Steering Wheel in Perforated Leather, Heated Seats, Fully Electric Adjusting Seats with Lumbar Support, Paddleshift, Trip Computer, RS3 Logo Embossed on Seats, Electronic Heated Adjusting and Folding Mirrors, Electric Windows, Dual Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Heated Rear Screen, Sport Mode, FM Radio, Gloss Black RS Brake Calipers. Throughout you will see this car has been thoroughly looked after and these are unfortunately difficult to find in this condition at this age. To discuss this car in further detail please don't hesitate to give us a call on the number as shown above.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 38500 mi
    • Engine size: 2.5
    For sale
    £21,986 £21,986