RS 3 SPORTBACK / TT RS / RS 5
A deserted airfield and rainy weather make for an eerie scene at the best of times, but when MONIQUE VANDERLINDEN recently arrived at the abandoned Phisantekraal airstrip to test out the newest Audi Sport RS-badged cars, the line-up of brightlycoloured models instantly lifted the mood.
Born on the track, and created for the road, Audi South Africa launched the Audi Sport subbrand into the market along with the new Audi R8 during 2017 – calling it the embodiment of perfection, performance, and adrenaline-induced goosebumps. South African consumers do have a particular appreciation for highperformance cars, exactly why Audi SA has doubled the range of performance models in 2017 alone, with more coming in 2018 and 2019.
RS 3 SPORTBACK &
TT RS COUPÉ
Although these are two very different and exceptional vehicles, both are built and developed around Audi’s new 2.5 TFSI, five-cylinder engine, creating an unmatched sound – a great tradition at Audi since the 1980s.
Since 2010, the 2.5 TFSI has been voted “International Engine of the Year” in its class for seven consecutive years. Now, Audi presents a new version of the successful power unit – output of 294 kW results to an increase of 24 kW versus the previous models. With the displacement of 2,480 cc remaining unchanged, its maximum torque of 480 Nm is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 r/min and remains constant up to 5,850 r/min.
This five-cylinder engine thus catapults the RS 3 from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, and paired with the unique sound of this five-cylinder engine (due to the 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence), the RS 3 was truly exciting to drive on the track as well as the road.
I have to admit, the RS 3’s sporty character is exceptionally striking – and visible – at first glance in the front, sides, and rear, which boast new and mildly aggressive design details. Inside, the intelligently-linked context menus make cabin operations intuitive and ergonomic, and the driver can reach often-used functions in only a few steps.
In both the RS 3 and the TT RS, the power of the 2.5 TFSI engine flows via a seven-speed S tronic, which shifts at lightning speed, to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Its multiplate clutch distributes power between the two axles, which in turn ensure the firm grip, and plenty of driving pleasure. Wheel-selective torque control makes handling even more agile and safe. The driver can use the Audi drive select system to influence the quattro drive and other components such as the steering, S tronic, engine characteristic and exhaust flaps. And the four modes available for this are comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.
On the track, however, the car that stood out most was the TT RS, especially when it came to the gymkhana. In addition to its lightweight, and the fact that the car accelerates from 0 to 100 in a mere 3.7 seconds (the quickest of the three newcomers), the Audi TT RS has its sporty chassis to thank for its outstanding handling. The progressive steering with RS-specific tuning provides close contact with the road and makes it a pleasure to drive challenging winding stretches.
Inside, the TT RS’ cockpit features clean lines and is clearly laid out. Controls and display in the new model are entirely focused on the driver. All information is displayed as standard on the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit with 12.3” screen, and the driver can choose from three views, including a special RS screen that highlights the tachometer and provides information on tyre pressure, torque and g-force, among other things.