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Audi details fire-breathing RS3, here in H1 2022

New Audi RS3 ups ante with sportscar-scaring power, looks and performance

20 Jul 2021

THE rabid new Audi RS3 has been unveiled in all its five-cylinder glory, the compact speed machine once again being offered in both sedan and hatch (Sportback) bodystyles, proving more than a match for both the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and CLA45 S twins.


Due to arrive Down Under in the first half of next year, the RS3 reprises the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, mated exclusively to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.


Local equipment details, including pricing, will be revealed in the lead-up to launch.


With drive sent to both axles via a rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system, the 294kW/500Nm RS3 will slingshot from 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.8 seconds and push on a 290km/h v-max when fitted with the RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes.


Without these two options, the top speed is limited to either 250km/h (standard) or 280km/h, the latter being its own optional extra.


The almost ludicrous performance is hinted at by the less-than-subtle RS body kit, black intake and vent mesh, gaping grille, lowered suspension, 33mm-wider tracks, increased negative wheel camber, purposeful-looking LED headlights and aggressively styled 19-inch alloy wheels.


Behind these alloys lurk either black or red six-piston brake callipers that act on steel discs measuring 375x36mm up front and 310x22mm at the rear.


Opting for the ceramic brake pack not only upgrades the front disc material, but also ups the size to 380x38mm, resulting in more power and better cooling abilities.


The ceramic brakes also come with grey, blue, or red callipers.


As previously reported by GoAuto, the new RS3 will come as standard with a new-age ‘torque splitter’ that completely does away with the previous model’s rear differential.


Instead, the new system features an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each drive shaft, both of which have an independent control unit.


Using information provided by the various driver aids, sensors and driver input, the system determines how much of the torque is sent to the outside wheel, reportedly resulting in improved steering precision, less understeer and more corner-exit grip.


“During more dynamic driving, the torque splitter increases the drive torque to the respective outer rear wheel with the higher wheel load, which significantly reduces the tendency to understeer,” Audi said in a statement.


“The new technology also makes controlled drifts on closed-off tracks possible.”


Much like Mercedes-AMG has done with its all-wheel-drive performance cars, Audi has fitted the new RS3 with a dedicated drift mode, in this case dubbed ‘RS Torque Rear’ – one of three new bespoke RS driving modes.


The others consist of ‘RS Individual’ (for drivers to configure and store their preferred set-up) and RS Performance (all-out performance and maximum grip).


As usual for a modern car with sporting pretentions, the usual stack of comfort, auto, dynamic and efficiency drive modes are included as well.


Unlike the bigger and more expensive RS models, the RS3 will not come as standard with adaptive dampers, but they will be available optionally.


Speaking of options, those wanting to extract every ounce of performance form their new RS3 will also be able to opt for a set of Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R performance semi-slick tyres.


The hyper-hatch features continue on the inside too with a flat-bottom leather RS Sport multifunction steering wheel, 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus with RS-specific readouts and displays, manual shift light, a 10.1-inch ‘RS Monitor’ touch display (again with RS-specific displays), carbon-fibre instrument panel and RS sport seats.


According to Audi Sport managing director Sebastian Grams, the new RS3 twins “represent the entry point into” the “RS world” and deliver “the ultimate in outstanding performance in the compact segment”.


“With the third generation of the Audi RS3 Sportback and the second generation of the Audi RS3 Sedan, we now offer premium sports cars that are suitable for everyday use and equally thrilling to drive on public roads and racetracks,” he said.

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