Audi gets into Focus
The new RS3 Sportback is a contender, writes Neil Dowling
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.