Premium The new RS 3 broke the speed record around the “Ring”. Can it beat into our hearts? We went down to Greece to find out. Both drifting, bank driving and good road routes gave us answers to the question. Even if the weather tried to put a stop to it.
WHAT IS NEW? The Audi RS 3 is as new as a car can be nowadays. Of course there are similarities with regular A3 and S3 and probably there are some that can be recognized from other VAG products. But simply put, it is brand new.
The most interesting news is what Audi calls the RS Torque Splitter which sits on the rear axle. Inside it, there are two electronically controlled multi-disc lamella couplings, one on each drive shaft. These enable a very advanced distribution of the torque to the two rear wheels. It has made it possible to add the RS Torque Rear driving mode, as the operating mode is called. It’s all very similar to what we’ve already seen in the new Golf R and Cupra Formentor VZ5. That said, few cars today are brand new.
As it should be, the engine has got a turn and it has given 20 extra newton meters. The horsepower remains at a maximum of 400, but it is over a larger range of the speed register.
The top speed is now 10 km / h higher, but then you have to shell out as much as SEK 81,600 for RS dynamics package plus. Then you also get adaptive chassis and ceramic brakes. If you choose to buy it, you can reach 290 km / h. An independent option for SEK 18,800 gives you 280 km / h as the final destination. The standard is, according to that typical agreement in Germany, 250 km / h.
Audi RS 3 has a nice sense of quality inside. It’s just the door handle in (quite nice) hard plastic and the piano lacquer black center console that does not feel really premium. The infotainment system is easy to handle and we like that there are buttons to control the climate system.
From 0 to 100 km / h it is the fastest in class with an official time of 3.8 seconds. The nearest rival, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S, is a tenth slower. However, the Audi people on site were clear that the RS 3 is in reality clearly quicker than what the factory time says. “Promise and over deliver”, we have heard that before. There was no time to measure the acceleration, but there is no question that it will go away.
One thing that Audi highlighted in the press material was the R-tires that can be obtained from the factory, however, they are not available from Audi in Sweden. Soles with so little pattern do not fit into Sweden’s climate, Audi thinks.
HOW IS IT TO DRIVE? The first thing that happens when we step off the plane is that all journalists receive a warning on the phone. Due to thunder and torrential rain, local floods can occur. Ouch. Once at the hotel, we can hop in the cars in any case. We get off and keep our fingers crossed that the weather will not allow it.
After a short city drive, we get the first taste of the car’s performance. An acceleration out on the highway.
Once up and running, what strikes me is how comfortable it is. The suspension is sporty tight and works with fast movements. But it is not rock hard at all and due to the chassis installation, the body control is really good.
RS 3 has a new sleek look on the display in front of the driver. G-meters, tire pressure, acceleration figures and lap times can be displayed. Switching indicator is available both on the screen and in the HUD.
Even when we got away from the highway and coming to the worse of the Greek roads, the suspension is never perceived as troublesome. It gives off a certain amount of talk, but it is pretty well subdued. There is never any talk of an excessive hatred of the irregularities as it easily becomes in a car with the hole tightly closed. But the cars we drive have the adaptive chassis that costs SEK 12,500.
The standard chassis we can probably assume is a bit worse on the normal road to allow good bank driving ability. The seating position is sporty low and comfortable.
The sound level is not disturbing either and I have to drive in RS individual most of the time. Of course, you want to hear the five-cylinder. The choice falls on comfort damping and more present engine noise. Fully variable flaps in the exhaust system are standard and the sports exhaust system costs SEK 12,500.
The driveline must be in the intermediate position to force it to select lower gears. Without these changes, the RS 3 feels well tamed.
It is also one of the few things you could criticize, but it is probably as simple as most people who buy a mini rocket like this still want a car that handles everyday life without worries. But it may feel too mundane in all the unsportsmanlike driving modes and honestly, there is the error to some extent even in the worst of all the different options.
The finish flag at the bottom left of the headlight is exclusive to RS 3. However, it requires Matrix headlights for SEK 8,800.
Under about 3,000 rpm, where you still lie for the most part, it’s just a clear dull sound from the engine, but you are probably offered a nice hum when you accelerate a little more. Maybe it’s just right after all.
The steering is sporty. Fast, accurate and direct. However, the road feel could be a little better and the progressive steering would have liked to have been a bit faster right in the middle.
Maybe it’s a highway symptom. The car must be comfortable and must not be the least bit stressful even on longer distances of more than 150 km / h. And during the rather few and short moments we traveled on the highway, Audin behaved exemplary.
The steering is not particularly easy and as usual it is in the sporty driving modes that it becomes most difficult to spin the steering wheel. But in RS Individual and RS Performance, it is possible to adapt the resistance to your liking and taste.
The big news, the RS Torque splitter, we get to test properly on a race track with the former STCC and DTM driver Frank Stippler in the RS 3 sedan in front acting as a pace car. We start in the Dynamic driving mode, which gives a more fun and over-controlled behavior than what you get in RS Performance, which we change to after a while.
The latter driving mode is new in RS 3 and adapted for bank driving with a neutral power distribution between the wheels to minimize both understeer and oversteer.
Something that is strange for us Swedes is that Audi says that the driving mode is tailored for Pirelli Trofeo R-tires which Audi does not offer in our country but which we get to test during this part of the test drive. If you want these extra sharp tires, you can of course get similar things elsewhere.
Despite the clever systems, it is still noticeable that the car has quattro four-wheel drive in the form of a certain understeer. However, it is extremely far to the limit where one can begin to perceive these tendencies. Wider front and rear tires help hide the phenomenon.
The adaptive chassis is not only useful for everyday use. On the lumpy track we are on, softer cushioning fits better. Whatever mode you drive in, the RS 3 is resilient and easy to control but never gets as raw as some competitors.
On the track, we also get a chance to feel the composite brakes, which cost SEK 58,400 and which effectively stop the crew. However, it’s not like I’m close to driving over a precipice when we’re in the cars with steel plates.
The red details on the chair, steering wheel and ventilation exhaust cost between SEK 11,300 and SEK 23,800 extra, depending on which of the details you want. Also available in green.
“The Audi RS 3 is too good for its own good. But despite that, it’s my new favorite in the class.”
The turbocharger radfemman at 2.5 liters is the RS 3’s ace up its sleeve. It has a character that you simply do not find in a car without four rings in the nose.
As always, the engine growls nicely all the way up to the rev stop, which is at 7,000 rpm and at gas emissions you can hear the turbo whistling. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox shifts quickly in sport modes.
As I said, there is no real increase in torque and power figures. But even at low revs, there is plenty of cream, and that is exactly what the engine engineers have mainly worked with.
I also notice this during the drifting exercise where I spin more than once. Stippler sits next to him and repeats “Less power”. The tachometer is probably never even halfway to the top. In my defense, it should be said that the track is wet. But probably my ego gets a little thorny. Not because I immediately thought I was an expert at skidding.
Every now and then we drive of course with RS Torque Rear running. Then the car uses the new whimsical lump on the rear axle to the extreme. To pull out the rear end, all available torque is sent to the outer wheel when entering the turn. And as you understand from what I wrote above, the butt goes out very easily.
Considering what a set of new tires costs, I have a hard time believing that especially many owners will go on wide stands especially often, but compared to the hugely acclaimed Toyota GR Yaris, the RS 3 does not require as much of the driver to offer dancing on asphalt.
Straight ahead it goes incredibly fast and it is straight through a terribly competent performance car. Honestly, this whole class has been too fast for regular roads for a while now and has what we might call Porsche Syndrome.
RS 3 and others are so effective and civilized that it is necessary to go on properly before it starts to feel like it is going fast. It seems mister writer is sad, but it is perhaps a rather specific opinion of motoring journalists and some other enthusiasts. Most others probably appreciate the performance. In addition, the new torque distributor has made bus driving (read wide stand) clearly more accessible.
NERD FACTS. As mentioned, the RS Torque Splitter can transmit all the torque to one of the rear drive wheels. Then an individual wheel can have a full 1,750 newton meters.
RS 3 is 10 mm lower than an S3, which in turn is already 15 mm lower than the regular A3. In addition, it has received a degree of extra negative camber at the front and a half degree more at the rear, and to achieve this, further modifications of various chassis components were required.
SHOULD I BUY ONE? The new RS 3 probably has only two disadvantages. The experience in city traffic is not very exciting, I would like more theater.
And then there was the thing about performance. That it has become even quicker is not necessarily positive if you do not plan to drive on the track. It is instead too fast to have really fun in normal traffic.
In any case, that’s my opinion, how do you feel about a car that is as fast as a thousand, fairly comfortable, has a rear seat that is comfortable to sit in even for the grown-up (185 centimeter reporter) and that offers proper luggage space?
Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.
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