The 2022 Audi RS3 is small but mighty. It bursts out of its flared fenders with 401 horsepower and boasts a new electronic rear differential that enables a drift mode.

Tapping unlocks on the 2022 Audi RS3’s key fob sends the front and rear LED lights into a welcome dance that culminates with a fun “R-S-3-checkered flag” in the driver’s-side front lights. As always, Audi paid particular attention to lighting technology, with sequential LED turn signals at either end and Matrix LED headlamps unique to the RS3.

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.

ENGINE AND IMPLEMENTATION

One of the most distinct elements of the 2022 Audi RS3 is its unusual five-cylinder engine. Its odd number of cylinders gives 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.

The engine pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that deliberately downshifts with slight throttle inputs, but it behaves less aggressively during hard braking. Its standard all-wheel-drive system includes a torque-vectoring rear differential with a drift mode.

Unfortunately, getting the RS3’s tail to kick out requires dedication and can be difficult to maintain. Compared with the lesser A3 and S3, the sportiest 3 has upgraded brakes, a stiffer suspension setup, and a unique set of wheels on stickier performance tires.

The 2022 Audi RS3 we drove produced exhilarating sounds, and the car’s feisty nature was evident at the racetrack. Plus, it was composed and comfortable when driven sedately on regular roads.

ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG

The 2022 Audi RS3 is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Once we can test one on our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the 2022 Audi RS3’s fuel economy, visit the EPA website.

INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH

Inside, the 2022 Audi RS3‘s passenger space is identical to the A3 and S3, but it has a set of more aggressively bolstered front seats. Audi endows all versions with a dashboard that looks anything but bland.

A pair of high-mounted air vents face the driver and flank the instrument panel binnacle that houses a set of digital gauges. The 2022 Audi RS3 is also available with a heads-up display. 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, drivers have to select gears via a weird, stubby shifter; paddles on the steering wheel are an alternative once the RS3 is in motion.

IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS

Based on the infotainment system employed by the A3 and S3, the 2022 Audi RS3 has 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 also includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Built-in navigation, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless phone charging are on the roster, too.

PROTECTION AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE ASPECTS

The 2022 Audi RS3 offers a mix of standard driver-assistance technology as well as options such as adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights.

For more information about the 2022 Audi RS3’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.

PHOTOS

2022 Audi RS3

2022 Audi RS3

2022 Audi RS3

2022 Audi RS3

2022 Audi RS3

FULL SPECIFICATIONS

2022 Audi RS3
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE (C/D EST)
Base: $59,500

ENGINE
Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve inline-5, aluminum block and head, port and direct fuel injection
Displacement: 151 in3, 2480 cm3
Power: 401 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Length: 178.8 in
Width: 72.9 in
Height: 55.6 in
Passenger Volume: 88 ft3
Trunk Volume: 8 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3600 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.4 sec
100 mph: 8.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.8 sec
Top Speed: 155–180 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 23/19/28 mpg

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