The Audi RS3 is actually a performance bargain

It offers the same output as the TT RS, but it costs $10,000 less.

Audi

Even in the realm of $50,000-plus sports cars, buyers can appreciate a solid bargain. When the Audi RS3 finally arrives in the US market, its price point will make it a hard deal to pass up.

The 2017 and 2018 Audi RS3 will arrive in the US this year with a price tag of $54,500. Only a limited number of 2017s will be produced, and each will carry the same optional equipment, including carbon fiber trim, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, red brake calipers, a sport exhaust and Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a configurable screen.

The RS3 has been offered in other markets for years, but it's finally coming to the US.

Audi

If you miss the cutoff for the 2017 model, fear not, as the 2018 will hit dealerships this summer. The price heads upward, but only barely. The 2018 Audi RS3 will start at $54,900, just $500 more than the 2017. The 2018 does add at least one piece of standard equipment over the 2017 -- blind spot monitoring. It's optional on the 2017.

The real heart and soul of the RS3 isn't in the tech, though -- it's what's under the hood. It totes a 2.5-liter I5, good for 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That's the same engine as the TT RS, which starts $10,000 above the RS3. The RS3 takes 3.9 seconds to hit 60 mph, which is a bit slower than the TT RS' time of 3.6 seconds, but it's up to you whether or not 0.3 seconds is worth $10,000 and two fewer doors.

Compared to others in its segment, it's a bit more expensive, but it offers more power. The Mercedes-AMG C43 starts at $52,000, but it only offers 362 horsepower. Its bigger brother, the C63, offers 469 horsepower, but its starting price leaps to $65,200. BMW's most powerful compact, the M2, puts out 365 horsepower for $52,500, but like the TT RS, it's only available as a coupe.

The 2018 Audi RS3 will make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show next week.

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