Audi RS3 Performance Edition gives Europe what America enjoys

Audi is making the European-spec RS3 a little more special by launching a limited-edition model called Performance Edition. Offered as a sedan and as a hatchback, the model gets a more powerful engine, an array of specific styling cues, and more standard features.

Power for both variants of the Performance Edition comes from an evolution of the turbocharged, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine rated at 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of about seven horses over the regular-production RS3 sold in Europe, and the hike brings the Performance Edition’s output on par with the American-spec model’s. This largely explains why the Performance Edition won’t be sold in the United States: Many of the goodies included in the bundle are already offered on our version of the hot-rodded sedan.

The five-cylinder sings its song through a standard RS Sports exhaust system with an edition-specific center silencer, and it spins the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi quotes a 0-to-62-mph time of 3.8 seconds and a 184-mph top speed. The standard RS Sports suspension system ensures the RS3 Performance Edition handles as well as it accelerates, on and off the track.

Visually, the Performance Edition gains cool-looking 19-inch wheels that feature a cross-spoke design, semi-slick Pirelli P Zero tires, blue brake calipers, and black exterior emblems, among other design features. The opening sequence in the headlight is specific to this model as well: Unlock it, and the driver-side LED daytime running lights flashes the numbers 3, 0, and 0 as a reminder of the limited production.

Inside, the front passengers sit in standard bucket seats with blue stitching and a blend of leather and Dinamica upholstery. The driver faces a steering wheel with a blue 12-o’clock mark, while the front passenger sits in front of a plaque engraved with the car’s serial number.

Production of the Audi RS3 Performance Edition is limited to 300 units. Buyers have five colors to choose from: Nogaro Blue, Arrow Gray, Daytona Gray, Sebring Black Crystal Effect, and Glacier White Metallic. Pricing for the RS3 Sportback starts at €75,000 (around $73,900 at the current conversion rate) while the RS3 Sedan carries a base price of €77,000 (approximately $75,900). Deliveries will start in 2023.

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