Smart move by Audi. Instead of the Audi RS3 coming out before the A3 and S3, like a Mercedes-AMG, we were treated to info on its less expensive brethren before we got to talk about the new high-performance, track-ready version. The only thing we could talk about last month was the RS3’s new “Torque Splitter,” a new piece of tech that replaces the rear axle differential and the previous multiple disc clutch package.
It now uses an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each of the drive shafts to distribute the right amount of torque along the rear axle. During high-performance driving, the torque splitter increases the drive torque to the outer rear wheel, which reduces understeer. It can also be used for sweet drifts in RS Torque Rear mode.
With its five-cylinder 2.5-litre TFSI engine, the RS 3 remains to be ‘one of a kind’ performance car from Audi. In the latest generation, the engine is now more powerful than ever before, capable of a 0 to 100kmph sprint in 3.8 seconds. The engine is rated at 394bhp and 500Nm with a top speed of 250kmph, but can be upped to 280kmph with an optional upgrade.
The standard RS suspension features new shocks and valve system that are both specific to the RS3. Adaptive dampers are optional, which continually adjust to the road and chosen drive mode. Audi had to modify the pivot bearings, and new bearings were equipped in the lower wishbones, subframes and stabilizers at the front. The four-link rear gets upgraded over the A3 as well. The RS3 sits about an inch lower than that car.
The new RS3 gets a more aggressive and futuristic look than its predecessor with slim daytime running lights and checkered flag lights below. Matrix LEDs are optional. The rear sticks with two tailpipes but gets a black grille just above as opposed to the body color on the previous model. A new selection of 19-inch wheels are available and if ordered, Audi will mount semi-slick Pirelli Trofeo R tires.
Inside, the RS3 features the Audi virtual cockpit plus along with a 12.3-inch screen. In addition to your normal navigation and media function, it also has a selection of specific screens for things like power and torque percentages. You can also display the gauges in RS Runway mode, in which the values are displayed in the opposite direction resembling an airport runway with the highest speeds in the foreground and lowest in the background. It also can show your lap times, g-meter, acceleration. You can also put shift lights in the head-up display.
Elsewhere in the cabin, you get carbon fiber, sport seats and embossed stitching. Buyers can spec leather with contrasting stitching in black, red or green. RS Design packages are also available to match with seat corners, seatbelts and air vent accents.