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2018 Audi RS3 is why compact sport sedans are where it's at

Audi's smallest RS is bringing 400 horse power and dynamic handling to North America.

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Chris Paukert

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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Strip away this special-order Viper Green paint and you're left with an athletic, somewhat reserved design.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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This car features optional "black optics," including gloss-black lower fascia details, mirror caps and a subtle lip spoiler.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Dual oval exhaust outlets add a degree of menace to the RS3's otherwise clean rear end.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Like its less-costly A3 and S3 siblings, the RS3 is available with a full cache of advanced safety assistants, including adaptive cruise with stop and go, auto-brake, blind-spot and active-lane assist, and so on.

13-2018 Audi RS3 Oman CP
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This new sedan bodystyle is expected to help the RS3 make big inroads into countries like the United States and China, which historically don't go for hatchbacks.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Lights are LED all the way 'round.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Chief competitors to the RS3 figure to be the Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and BMW's M2.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Note how the hood shut seam aligns nicely with the headlamps' inward cut.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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Audi will also offer a full-blown, non-street-legal RS3 LMS race car for privateer racers.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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RS3 badges help distinguish this from lesser S3 and A3 models.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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The thin lip spoiler is also available in body color if you don't opt for the blacked-out trim pack.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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While the 2.5-liter I5 does a vocal throat-clearing exercise when firing up, there are not a lot of theatrical pops and bangs on overrun.

2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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2018 Audi RS3 in Viper Green
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