Audi’s Nardo edition tricks out RS 3 for a weekend track warrior
The RS 3 is already a potent little sedan, serving up enough posh to spoil you on your commute and, with 394 turbocharged horses, happy to take a track day excursion, too. To burnish the RS 3’s performance persona, then, Audi rolled out the 2020 RS 3 Nardo edition. If you’re one of 200 lucky buyers in the United States, this very grey, Alcantara- and carbon-fiber-laden sedan can be yours for roughly $60K.
What performance upgrades does that $60K net you? A higher ceiling on the electronically-limited top speed—174 mph compared to the regular RS 3’s 155—and fixed suspension. RS models typically come with adaptive suspension for a more all-around persona, but since the Nardo Grey paint job and all that blacked-out trim will tell your neighbors you mean business, the Nardo edition will make good on that promise with the optional, track-oriented setup. One upgrade you won’t get in this performance-happy Nardo edition, however, is the carbon-ceramic brakes that came optional on 2019 models. (Theoretically, you could spec a nearly-identical 2019 RS 3 with the Dynamic Plus package and get the brakes, 174-mph top speed, fixed suspension and the carbon brakes.)
So your RS 3 is now faster at the top end and stiffer all around. You don’t get an engine tune, but you do an exhaust upgrade via the black-tipped Sport exhaust system and you’ll roll on staggered 19-inch wheels. Audi’s kindly included the Black Optic exterior trim package in this special edition, granting you a black rear lip spoiler, black mirror housings, and black badging that, together with that grey paint, make the red brake calipers pop nicely. Inside the red-accented theme continues, with Alcantara and carbon-fiber touches offset by red stitching throughout. The interior treatment is a $850 add-on to regular RS 3s, and that Nardo Grey paint can be yours too on any RS 3 for precisely $0.
The Nardo edition is, dare we say, a decent value for this particular bundle of options. You can get everything the Nardo edition offers minus the higher top speed for $64,445 (destination included) in a normal 2020 RS 3 … or you can get the 174-capable Nardo edition for $60,895 (destination included). But at this price range, buyers won’t be pinching too many pennies. Willing to give up some comfy cruising in the name of handling and top speed, served up under the name of the circular Italian track christened by top speed records all over? The Nardo edition might be calling your name.