Split Personality Wonder
November 12, 2018
We first looked at the new A3 sedan to replace my wife's VW Passat TDi when Volkswagen Corporate was caught in its "clean diesel" fib. The A3 was nice, but a bit too small, but the current generation A4 was brand new, with the dealer's first few copies on the lot. She was smitten and we ordered one from the factory. Great car!
Months later, I saw an S3 on the showroom floor when my wife's A4 Quattro was in for service, and by that time, I was more familiar with the Audi "DNA," so I drove the S3, and even from memory knew it was just not enough better than the A3 for the additional price. However, on our way out of the dealership, we saw a "Trophy Wife" Catalunya Red" RS3, crouching on the pavement, daring me to drive it. I resisted then, but when my wife's car needed a minor adjustment a month later it was still there, pouting at me seductively. I was permitted a drive, and Oh, MY GOD! This car is too awesome for words. The unique color alone has caused dozens of people to tell me they're jealous.
But this car is all about the driving, yet with a twist. You can almost convince yourself you're a responsible citizen while commuting to work or on a routine shopping trip, but whenever you're presented with lonely, twisty, hilly two lane, you're just two electronic commands away from car-guy nirvana: drop the shifter into sport mode, set the vehicle to "dynamic" with the MMI knob, and watch everything in your rear view mirror disappear. The car handles as though it's guided by maglev circuitry, accelerates just unbelievably, and brakes so forcefully you'll wish you had a racing harness. But all the while, it's still comfortable, but singing it's 5-cylinder baritone exhaust opera that exposes all those American Muscle Cars for what they are - pedestrian 4-cord base guitar amateurs.
You'll find yourself spending hours watching RS3 vs. xxx videos (those comparing with the BMW 2, 3, and 4 are most interesting, especially when you discover "launch mode.)"
When you do, you'll stop whatever else you pretended to be doing at your laptop and dash to the garage and back to your nearest long but deserted run of smooth-pavement country road to see what you'd not been aware of, and the rewards will be INSTANTANEOUS. (if you're a committed Bimmer pilot and you don't HAVE an RS3, you'll be tempted, then a convert as soon as you find one.
As with most big-performance small-marketshare cars, you'll be surprised by the instantaneous depreciation, but if you can hold on for the long haul you should expect excellent reliability that will overcome that steep initial market value drop.
So, why the "used to own it" preface? We're moving to Montana, consolidating into just one car, and getting a new dog. Bake that recipe and you won't be taking an RS3 out of the oven (the dog won't grin when you approach the limits while cornering, and those 30 front/35 rear summer tires aren't meant for skiing (although there are amazing YouTube videos starring the RS3 as a driftmobile).
We have video of my wife grinning at "our" new Q5 SUV, while in the background I'm hugging my crouching vehicular mistress. I'll get by, but the lust won't die.