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Audi starts detailing new 290km/h RS3

More power, more grip and more speed headline new Audi RS3 palmares

22 Jun 2021

AUDI AG has started detailing the key elements of its new upcoming RS3 hyper hatch and sedan, the headline acts being an extra 20Nm liberated from the fabled five-cylinder engine, the addition of a new-age ‘torque splitter’ and drift mode.

 

Due to be unveiled officially in the coming months, Audi is promising the new RS3 will deliver “unmatched acceleration and top speed” within the compact segment thanks to its 294kW of power and now 500Nm of torque.

 

Still propelled by the iconic turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, both the power and torque bands have been widened in the name of driveability with the end result being a 3.8-second 0-100km/h time and a top speed of up to 290km/h.

 

That sportscar-baiting V-max is only possible when the optional RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes are fitted.

 

Without them, both the RS3 sedan and Sportback hatch will top out at an electronically governed 250km/h, however a 280km/h speed limiter will also be optionally available.

 

As is usual for a hi-po Audi, drive is distributed to all four wheels with transmission duties being taken care of by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

 

In addition to the formidable traction generated by the all-wheel-drive system, Audi says the new torque splitter makes the RS3 “supremely agile”.

 

Completely replacing the old axle-mounted rear differential, 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 electronic stability control sensors as well as taking into account longitudinal and lateral acceleration forces, steering angle, throttle position, selected gear, drive mode and yaw angle, the system determines how much of the torque is sent to the outside wheel.

 

According to Audi, the new system results in improved steering precision and less understeer, not to mention more corner-exit grip.

 

Being a modern performance and range halo, the new RS3 will come with the typical comfort, auto, dynamic and efficiency drive modes, however the latest incarnation will also employ three bespoke RS modes: RS Individual, RS Performance und RS Torque Rear.

 

Predominantly doing what they say on the tin, each mode has an effect on the driving experience and the Individual setting enabling drivers to configure and store their preferred set-up.

 

RS Performance mode is all about extracting maximum performance from the RS3 with a heavily rear-biased set-up for the quattro system with the various systems tuned specific to minimise both understeer and oversteer.

 

RS Torque Rear delivers a similar set-up but dials the stability and traction control systems right back to allow for what Audi describes as “oversteering behaviour” on closed roads and tracks. In other words, drift mode.

 

Other typical RS features like adaptive dampers, lower and stiffer springs, progressive steering, RS3-specific pivot bearings, stiffened lower wishbones, sub-frames and stabilisers are also present, with bespoke Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres set to be offered as an optional extra from the factory.

 

It will be some time before we see the new RS3 in local showrooms, with Audi Australia confirming to GoAuto it won’t arrive here until the first half of 2022.

 

Between now and then though, Audi compact performance fans can make do with the new S3 which will be arriving by the end of the year.

 

Audi has sold 212 A3s so far this year ending May, accounting for just 4.6 per cent of the $40,000-plus small car segment which is currently being ruled by the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (1638/35.9 per cent) and BMW 1 Series (1236/27.1 per cent)


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