Paris LIVE: Audi RS3 sedan

Audi is taking on BMW\'s M and Mercedes\' AMG with a new RS model.

Audi is looking to inject some serious performance into its entry-level sedan with an all-new RS 3 model. Audi unveiled the RS 3 hot rod earlier Thursday at the Paris Motor Show.

Based on the A3 sedan, the RS 3 kicks things up several notches thanks to a turbocharged 2.5L five-cylinder engine belting out 395 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Shifting that power through Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system, the RS 3 is capable of accelerating from 0-62mph in just 4.1 seconds and hitting a top speed of 155mph. Audi says it will lift the RS 3's electronic limiter at the customer's request, netting a flat-out speed of 174mph.

The RS 3 rides on a sports suspension that has been lowered by 25mm compared to the standard car. That suspension system also includes adaptive dampers. In order to further bolster the RS 3's handling prowess, the sedan has been equipped with an ESC system that can brake the inside wheels during tight cornering.

In order to haul the RS 3 down from speed, Audi has fitted the RS 3 with 370mm front discs with eight-piston calipers. Carbon ceramic front discs are available as an upgrade. Rear brakes measure 310mm in diameter.

The RS 3 package includes a few visual upgrades to distinguish the range-topping model from lesser A3 models. Those tweaks include a revised lower bumper with side air inlets, a wider track with flared wheel arches and a fixed rear spoiler. The RS 3 also includes Audi's signature RS oval exhaust outlets and the choice of two exclusive colors — Nardo grey and Catalunya red.

The interior of the RS 3 largely carries over from the regular A3, but Nappa leather sports seats with RS logos do come as a standard upgrade. Buyers can also select RS sport seats with integrated head restraints.

Although not confirmed, it's believed that Audi will market the RS 3 in the United States. If true, the RS 3 will launch sometime next year with a starting price sure to crest the $50,000 mark.

Live photos by Ronan Glon.

Read more!