Spy Shots: 2021 Audi RS3 Sedan (Updated)

Audi RS3SedanSpy 1

The first prototypes of the all-new Audi RS3 sedan have been spotted on public roads. Here's what we know so far about the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45's nemesis.

Picture credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien. We have paid for these photos and at the photographer's request, have watermarked them.

Updated: Chasing the newly-launched Mercedes-AMG A45 S will not be easy for the next-gen Audi RS3, but as a report from Auto Express claims, the newcomer could potentially have around 310 kW from its iconic 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine.

In an exclusive interview with Auto Express, Audi Sport’s Sales and Marketing chief, Frank Michl, described the upcoming RS 3 “one of the success stories of the brand. I think [the RS 3] is one of the most emotional Audi Sport cars and is a major part of the brand’s DNA, even going back to the original quattro. You can be sure that for every future RS model we will always take forward the good aspects and characteristics.” He added the new model is still some months away from a reveal, but the source says the official debut is set for September 2021.

The Audi RS3 is a rival to the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, but in sedan guise, it's fair to compare like-for-like and the CLA 45 S becomes the real opponent. Audi revealed its 4th-generation A3 Sportback and while there's considerable interest in the mainstream consumer models, petrolheads are chomping at the bit for news regarding the S3 and particularly, the fearsome RS3.

Powered by the 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder motor, the Audi RS3 has proven popular for its immense power, in-gear prowess and engine sound. There's simply nothing quite like the iconic howl of an RS3 going at full throttle. For 2021, Audi will continue to use the 2.5-litre turbocharged 5-cylinder, but outputs should increase from the current 294 kW and 480 Nm, to over 300 kW and 500 Nm. Its Affalterbach-based rival packs 310 kW and 500 Nm, so matching those numbers would make for an interesting on-paper comparison. As before, the Audi RS3 will use quattro all-wheel drive and a quick-shifting S Tronic transmission. With that combination of potent engine, all-wheel drive and dual-clutch transmission, the current RS3 sedan hits 100 kph in a claimed 4.1 seconds. We're hoping the newcomer will shave a tenth or two off of that.

What you're looking at here is the sedan version of the Audi RS3, arguably the best application of the powertrain. We've already seen Audi RS3 Sportback prototypes towards the end of 2019, but the presence of the sedan finally confirms there will be a 4th-generation A3 body style. We're likely to see a reveal of the production Audi RS3 before the end of 2020, with a market introduction in SA sometime in 2021.

The current Audi RS3 is a real enthusiast's car and there are many for sale. Browse new and used examples now.

Further Reading

Audi S3 Sportback (2021) International Launch Review

2021 Audi A3: SA Details Emerge

Drag Race: Audi RS3 vs Mercedes-AMG A45

Audi RS3 Sedan (2017) First Drive

Audi RS3 Sedan (2017) Quick Review

Spy Shots: 2021 Audi RS3 Sportback