Audi’s new killer RS 3 must have Ken Block’s name written on it.
The piping hot hatch blasts from 0 to 100km/h in a Ferrari-like 3.8 seconds, with a top speed of 290 km/h.
Not bad for a car that begins life as your typical suburban shopping trolley.
Add to this ‘drift’ mode, semi slicks and the new RS Torque Splitter — amd Audi claims the new RS 3 offers the best numbers and most complete driving experience in its segment.
The 2.5-litre, five-cylinder TFSI power unit delivers 294kW of power and 500Nm of torque and has won ‘International Engine of the Year’ nine times in a row.
The RS 3 has got the looks to match too, with a widened body, RS sports exhaust system and cockpit displays like those found in race cars.
“With the third generation of the Audi RS 3 Sportback and the second generation of the Audi RS 3 Sedan, we now offer premium sports cars that are suitable for everyday use and equally thrilling to drive on public roads and racetracks,” Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH, Sebastian Grams, said.
“They represent the entry point into our RS world and, thanks to the torque splitter, the ultimate in outstanding performance in the compact segment.”
The RS 3’s top speed is limited to 250km/h out of the box, but 280km/h is accessible via an optional upgrade.
With the RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes, the car can even reach a top speed of 290 km/h.
This makes the Audi RS 3 the best in class in terms of acceleration and top speed.
A seven-speed dual-clutch style transmission puts power to the ground, with short shift times and a sportier spread of gear ratios.
The engine’s unique 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence and the incomparable sound that comes with it, make the driving experience that much more exhilarating.
For the first time, the exhaust system features a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions, broadening the sound characteristics even further.
It can be adjusted via the driving dynamics system Audi drive select.
In the Dynamic and RS Performance modes, for example, the flaps open much earlier – the emotional elements of the sound are even more pronounced.
In addition, the unmistakable sound of the five-cylinder engine is further enhanced by the optional RS sports exhaust system.
The new Audi RS 3 is the first Audi to come standard with a torque splitter.
It replaces the previous rear diff and multi-disc clutch package.
Instead, an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch is used on each of the drive shafts.
This ensures that the right amount of torque is optimally distributed along the rear axle.
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.
In left-hand curves, it transmits the drive torque to the right rear wheel, in right-hand curves to the left rear wheel, and when driving straight ahead to both wheels.
The new technology also makes controlled drifts possible.
In this scenario, the torque splitter directs all of the power to only one of the rear wheels, with up to 1750Nm per wheel possible.
Audi gas even developed a driving mode specifically for the RS 3 for this purpose – ‘RS Torque Rear’ – as a drift mode with its own characteristic curve for the torque splitter.
RS Performance mode, created specifically for the racetrack, is another never-before-seen innovation.
It uses a specific engine and transmission configuration and is precisely tailored to the semi-slick tyres that are, for the very first time, available for the RS 3 as a factory option.
In this case, the torque splitter delivers a particularly dynamic, sporty ride along the longitudinal axis with as little understeer and oversteer as possible.
These modes can be selected via the Audi drive select driving dynamics system, which also offers the following profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, RS Individual, and efficiency.
The new Audi RS 3 Sportback and RS 3 Sedan are expected to arrive in Australia in the first half of 2022, with pricing and specification to be announced closer to launch.
Over to you, Ken!