Just days after it was revealed at Worthersee, Audi Australia confirmed to motoring.com.au that the pulsating, one-off clubsport quattro concept is a loosely veiled version of the first-ever four-door RS 3.
Speaking at the local launch of the S3 sedan this week, Audi Australia product planner, Matthew Dale, said the concept model is a glimpse of what’s ahead for the red rhombus performance brand, adding that five-cylinder power would again lead the charge.
“The clubsport [quattro concept] is a view into the future of the RS,” said Dale. “The TT RS, RS Q3 and the previous RS 3 Sportback all use the 2.5 TFSI engine, and this [concept] shows you where it can go.”
The assertion clarifies speculation that Audi could opt for 2.0-litre power for its highest-output A-segment vehicle ever, but leaves us wondering where the 309kW four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit from Audi’s TT quattro sport concept, shown in Geneva late last year, fits into the equation.
Dale says the stratospherically high output figures achieved by the A3 sedan-based clubsport concept – which delivers 386kW of power and 600Nm of torque, meaning its 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine has a specific output of 155.6kW per litre – are unlikely to make production.
“You’re up around 265kW [and 465Nm] in the market at the moment with that engine, and you really can get well over 300kW,” he added, pointing to the concept model’s spec sheet.
The clubsport quattro concept boasts the same power-to-weight ratio as Audi's top-shelf R8 V10 Plus super-coupe, and is capable of sprinting to 100km/h in a Porsche 911-beating 3.6 seconds, says Audi.
The figures make the prototype vehicle 1.4 seconds faster to 100km/h than the Australian-spec S3 sedan and a full second faster than the previous-gen RS 3 Sportback.
Assuming the new RS 3 adhered to the 2.5 TFSI’s current production output, it would still trump the S3 by 59kW and 86Nm in local tune, and offer a 0-100km/h time in the low four-second range, but would only beat the previous RS 3 by 15kW and 15Nm.
It would also give Audi a very serious competitor to Merc’s all-wheel drive CLA 45 AMG, which develops 265kW and 450Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo-four.
Dale was quick to clarify that Audi’s local arm had yet to receive confirmation of an RS 3 for right-hand drive markets, but added that Audi Australia would be quick to raise its hand should it become available.
“If there was an RS 3 sedan, we’d certainly put our hand up,” Dale grinned.
“We haven’t heard anything as yet – for any RS 3 badged car – but certainly if the factory was to come to us and say an RS 3 Sportback or an RS 3 sedan is available, we’d be the first ones to say yes.”