Audi Sport RS 3 Sport­back, TT RS & RS 5

Audi Sport RS 3 Sport­back, TT RS & RS 5

Indwe - - Contents - Text: Monique Van­der­lin­den Im­ages © Quickpic

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 near Cape Town to test out the new­est Audi Sport RS-badged cars, the line-up of brightly-coloured mod­els in­stantly lifted the mood.

Born on the track and cre­ated for the road, Audi South Africa launched the Audi Sport sub-brand into the mar­ket along with the new Audi R8 dur­ing 2017, call­ing it the em­bod­i­ment of perfection, per­for­mance, and adren­a­line-in­duced goose bumps. South African con­sumers have a par­tic­u­lar ap­pre­ci­a­tion for high­per­for­mance cars, which is ex­actly why Audi SA dou­bled the range of per­for­mance mod­els in 2017 alone, with more com­ing this year and in 2019.

RS 3 SPORT­BACK & TT RS COUPÉ Al­though th­ese two ex­cep­tional ve­hi­cles are very dif­fer­ent, 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, 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 on the road.

The RS 3’s sporty char­ac­ter is ex­cep­tion­ally striking 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 a 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 by choos­ing be­tween the com­fort, auto, dy­namic and in­di­vid­ual modes.

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 light weight and the fact that the car ac­cel­er­ates from 0 to 100 in a mere 3.7 sec­onds – mak­ing it the quick­est of the three new­com­ers – the Audi TT RS has its sporty chas­sis to thank for its out­stand­ing han­dling. The pro­gres­sive steer­ing with RSspe­cific tun­ing pro­vides close con­tact with the road and makes it a plea­sure to drive those chal­leng­ing wind­ing stretches.

In­side, the TT RS’ cock­pit with its clean lines 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.

RS 5 COUPÉ

Dur­ing the launch of Audi’s new RS mod­els, most of my time was spent in the RS 5 – a fast, furious ve­hi­cle which some might re­fer to as the pack leader of Audi Sport’s RS mod­els. The model united ath­letic power with har­mo­nious aes­thet­ics, as well as prac­ti­cal ev­ery­day us­abil­ity. The model’s newly de­vel­oped 2.9 TFSI bi-turbo en­gine pro­duces 331 kW and de­liv­ers 600 Nm of torque, tak­ing the exquisitely de­signed ve­hi­cle from 0 – 100 km/h in a mere 3.9 sec­onds.

The RS 5’s aes­thetic was in­spired by the Audi 90 Quat­tro IMSA GTO race car. The coupé’s boxy fender flares make it slightly wider than the S5. That, plus the larger grille high­lights, add to the Audi’s sporty char­ac­ter.

The RS 5 Coupé fea­tures large RS-spe­cific ana­logue in­stru­ments show­ing speed and revs, with the 7” colour driver in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem be­tween them. The MMI Nav­i­ga­tion Plus has a screen di­ag­o­nal of 8.3” and an all-dig­i­tal Audi vir­tual cock­pit, pro­vid­ing de­tailed and se­lectable graph­ics. As with all RS mod­els, the RS screen sup­ple­ments the in­fo­tain­ment and clas­sic dis­plays.

The car’s safety and com­fort fac­tors are en­hanced by adap­tive cruise con­trol (ACC) with stop-and-go func­tion – in­clud­ing traf­fic jam as­sist, which keeps the ve­hi­cle at a safe dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle in front of it by au­to­mat­i­cally ac­cel­er­at­ing or brak­ing.

The RS 5’s power is dis­trib­uted through all four wheels which guar­an­tees trac­tion, dy­namism, and sta­bil­ity. This was not only ap­par­ent on the track ac­tiv­i­ties, but even more so on the road, es­pe­cially as we drove over Du Toit­skloof Pass, the most fun part of the driv­ing day and an in­tense test for the ev­ery­day us­abil­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity of the RS 5.

The han­dling can be de­scribed as docile and, while the RS 5 is ex­tremely ca­pa­ble, with an ag­gres­sive de­meanour, the car is easy to han­dle and there is noth­ing to be ner­vous about when get­ting be­hind the wheel. It is sure-footed in both wet and dry con­di­tions, and you can get up to speed with its be­hav­iour as quickly as the car piles on the kilo­me­tres per hour.

FI­NAL SAY

Even though its pow­er­ful com­peti­tors en­joy more mar­ket share, th­ese three mod­els will cer­tainly make the prospec­tive Audi Sport driver think twice about pick­ing an­other brand. Af­ter all, when you get be­hind the wheel of a brand new Audi Sport model, you too will re­alise that there’s just some­thing about it.

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