Autocar

Audi RS3 Next-gen hot hatch and saloon revealed

Fiery 395bhp hatch and saloon pack more performanc­e and tech than ever before

- FELIX PAGE

Audi has ushered in a raft of design, technology and powertrain upgrades for the third-generation version of its hardcore RS3. The new rival to the Mercedes-amg A45 S will go on sale in August, priced from £50,900 for the hatchback and £51,900 for the saloon, with the first customer deliveries due towards the end of this year.

POWERTRAIN

Audi’s venerable 2.5-litre turbocharg­ed five-pot motor, named an Internatio­nal Engine of the Year on nine consecutiv­e occasions, returns for the new arrival. As in the RS3’S larger sibling, the RS Q3 SUV, it sends a total of 395bhp through a seven-speed dualclutch gearbox to both axles. This is sufficient to propel both the hatchback and saloon from standstill to 62mph in just 3.8sec and to an optional top speed of 174mph – figures that just edge the 416bhp A45 S for outright pace. With 369lb ft of torque – 20lb ft more than the old car – available at 22505600rp­m, the new RS3 is claimed to accelerate “even faster from low ranges” than its predecesso­r. Its maximum power output is available over a wider rev band, too. Audi also highlights the “incomparab­le sound” provided by the motor’s unique 1-2-4-5-3 cylinder firing order, with a new noise-control flap in the exhaust opening at different points in the rev range according to the selected driving mode and an optional RS sports exhaust available for an “enhanced” engine note.

CHASSIS

New for the third-gen RS3 is a torque splitter device, replacing the old car’s rear differenti­al, which comprises a pair of electronic­ally controlled multi-disc clutches to better distribute power across the rear axle. As well as reducing understeer under hard cornering, the new technology allows for “controlled drifts” in RS Torque Rear mode by sending up to 1291lb ft of torque to each rear wheel as required. Chassis upgrades over the old car extend to more responsive shock absorbers with an Rs3-specific valve system, increased wheel camber for more precise steering and a modular vehicle dynamics controller (MVDC), which monitors lateral movement across drivetrain and suspension components to better modulate torque output. The new RS3 gets a larger set of six-piston brake calipers, mated to ventilated and drilled discs on each axle that are claimed to be larger and more stable than the previous car’s, with cooling enhanced by 20%. Ceramic brake discs are available on the front axle, with the brake pedal curve tuned to match their boosted performanc­e and the option of grey, red, blue or black calipers. In some markets, Audi will offer the RS3 with semi-slick tyres for improved on-track performanc­e, but this isn’t an option in the UK.

DESIGN

In keeping with tradition, the RS version of Audi’s family hatchback makes itself known by way of added air intakes, bespoke performanc­e wheels, a larger exhaust and more aggressive styling cues. For this generation in particular, Audi has sought to differenti­ate the RS3 from

the regular A3 by giving the hot model a bespoke front end design comprising a contrastin­g black grille surround (either matt or gloss) that extends into the headlight clusters, which themselves are optionally available as matrix LED items with darkened bezels. The side skirts are finished in black, too, as are the wing mirrors, the rear diffuser and, optionally, the roof. Meanwhile, behind the flared front wheel arches is a new outlet that directs air along the side of the car. The axle track has also been extended over the old car’s by 33mm at the front and 10mm at the rear for improved handling and a wider stance. Two new colours are available for the RS3: Kyalami Green (as seen here) and Kemora Grey. It’s a similar treatment inside, where the general layout of the standard car is carried over but with a number of design flourishes to promote the RS3’S performanc­e credential­s. The instrument panel is made of carbonfibr­e, for example, and the sports seats are optionally upholstere­d in nappa leather with black, red or green contrastin­g stitching. A 12.3in digital display is standard and features Rsspecific tachometer and power usage graphics – including an ‘RS Runway’ design, which presents data “in a manner that visually resembles an aeroplane runway”, said Audi. A motorsport-style gearshift indicator also features and the 10.1in infotainme­nt touchscree­n can display an ‘RS Monitor’ showing coolant, engine and gearbox oil temperatur­es, as well as tyre pressures.

 ??  ?? OFFICIAL PICTURES
OFFICIAL PICTURES
 ??  ?? New RS3 hatch and saloon cost from £51k and £52k respective­ly
New RS3 hatch and saloon cost from £51k and £52k respective­ly
 ??  ?? Front end design, including the black grille surround, is unique to the RS3 to distinguis­h it from the A3
Front end design, including the black grille surround, is unique to the RS3 to distinguis­h it from the A3
 ??  ?? Carbonfibr­e dashboard is standard, display has ‘runway’ design
Carbonfibr­e dashboard is standard, display has ‘runway’ design
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom