Geneva LIVE: Audi RS 3 Sportback

Audi has finally taken the wraps off its high-performance RS 3 Sportback. Unfortunately, the RS 3 will likely be for Europe only.

It's been a long time in the making but Audi has finally unveiled its 2011 RS 3 Sportback. Building on the current S3, the RS 3 promises to be one of the hottest hatches on the market.

The RS 3 arrives with a unique front fascia, sporting larger air inlets to keep the car's engine and brakes cool. The overall look isn't radically different from the standard A3, but the changes are enough to let you no this isn't just any ordinary hatchback.

Beneath the RS 3's hood resides the same 2.5L turbocharged five-cylinder used in the TT RS. Power is rated at 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, but the RS 3 Sportback still returns a respectable 25.85mpg.

That power is routed through Audi's seven-speed S tronic gearbox, arriving at all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive. The RS 3's performance is brisk, with the sprint from 0-62 taking just 4.6 seconds. The RS 3 Sportback tops out at 155mph.

In addition to the new engine, the RS 3 also sports plenty of suspension tweaks, including a one inch lower ride height and a wider track. The hatch's brakes have also been upgraded.

Deliveries of the RS 3 Sportback will begin in early 2011, with the hot hatch carrying a base price of 49,900 euros. Audi has yet to announce if the RS 3 Sportback will ever arrive in the United States but, given its steep price tag, we doubt it will ever make it to our shores.

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