Audi gets into Fo­cus

The new RS3 Sport­back is a con­tender, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

FRONT tyres wider than the rear is a give­away this Audi A3 isn’t de­signed for pack­ing gro­ceries. This is Audi’s hot RS3 Sport­back — its first small-car RS and de­signed to hit the track along­side Ford’s Fo­cus ST and RS.

As Ford’s ST flicks its five-cylin­der Volvo en­gine in favour of a two-litre four, Audi re­verses the trend by slip­ping in the TTRS’s 2.5-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion turbo for 250kW and 450Nm.

It meets the five-cylin­der RS in power stakes— 225kW/440Nm— but the Ford has three doors and an Aus­tralian de­liv­ery ra­tion of 315 cars.

The Audi gets five doors, so there’s no ex­cus­ing the fam­ily.

The RS3 was launched in Bri­tain this TTRS en­gine, a seven-speed DSG box and quat­tro all-wheel drive sys­tem.

Audi claims a 100km/h sprint of 4.6sec and a top speed limited at 250km/ h, drink­ing an av­er­age of 9.0 litres/ 100km and a CO emis­sion of 212g/km.

By com­par­i­son, the front-wheel drive Fo­cus RS ac­cel­er­ates to 100km/h in 5.9sec, tops at 250km/h and av­er­ages 10.4 litres/100km and 246g/km CO .

Fea­tures in­clude 19-inch al­loy wheels, flared car­bon fi­bre-re­in­forced plas­tic wings, widened track and a sport but­ton for throt­tle re­sponse and ex­haust note.

Max­i­mum torque is from about 1600rpm and re­mains con­stant up to 5300rpm.

The tur­bocharger gen­er­ates up to 1.2 bar of boost pres­sure, and down­stream of it is an in­ter­cooler that achieves an ef­fi­ciency rate of more than 80 per cent, Audi says.

Audi says the com­bi­na­tion of the lat­est forced in­duc­tion technology with FSI di­rect in­jec­tion fa­cil­i­tates a high com­pres­sion ra­tio (10.0:1) along with a cor­re­spond­ingly high-ef­fi­ciency ra­tio.

The com­pany says the RS3 Sport­back’s fuel ef­fi­ciency is at­trib­uted to an on-de­mand oil pump and a re­gen­er­a­tive sys­tem that re­cov­ers en­ergy as the car de­cel­er­ates.

It also uses strong but light ver­mic­u­lar graphite for the en­gine block and car­bon fi­bre-re­in­forced plas­tic (CFRP) for the front wings.

These help to keep the kerb weight to 1575kg (the Fo­cus RS is 1492kg).

The A3 Sport­back chas­sis gets re­vised sus­pen­sion and a widened 1564mm track (up from 1534mm) and uses wider front tyres at the front. It has 235/35R19 tyres at the front and 225/35R19 at the rear to aid road grip.

Steer­ing is elec­tro-me­chan­i­cal rack and pin­ion with a fast rack.

Brakes are four-wheel ven­ti­lated discs with four-pis­ton calipers, and elec­tronic aids in­clude sta­bil­ity con­trol with a ‘‘sport’’ func­tion that ac­ti­vates later in­ter­ven­tion of the brak­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion re­tar­da­tion ‘‘to en­able greater ad­justa­bil­ity with­out com­pro­mis­ing safety’’.

Stan­dard equip­ment in UK-spec in­cludes acous­tic park­ing sen­sors, cli­mate con­trol, DVD-based satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and xenon-plus head­lights with LED day­time run­ning lights.

Red-hot: Audi’s RS3 is ex­pected to ar­rive here in mid-2011.

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