Fitter and faster – new Audi RS 3 Sportback revealed

Audi says the all-new RS 3 Sportback offers driving dynamics of the highest calibre and the best performance numbers in its segment.

The new RS 3 is equipped with a 294kW/500Nm five-cylinder, high-performance engine delivering rapid acceleration, faster response to driver inputs, matched with an intoxicating sound.

Demonstrating its performance DNA from the moment you approach it, the new RS 3 showcases a widened body, RS sports exhaust system, and cockpit displays like those found in Audi race cars.

The new Audi RS 3 Sportback has been unveiled. With its five-cylinder, high-performance engine, the Audi RS 3 is one-of-a-kind in the segment.

The RS 3 Sportback’s 2.5 TFSI has won the International Engine of the Year Award nine times in a row. In the latest generation of the compact sports car, the engine is now more powerful than ever before. The new RS 3 Sportback is capable of sprinting from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h, but with an RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes, it can even reach a top speed of 290km/h.

Available torque has been increased to 500Nm, which is 20Nm more than its predecessor. As a result, the car accelerates even faster from lower rev ranges and makes the Audi RS 3 Sportback the best in its class in terms of acceleration and top speed.

The award-winning engine's maximum power of 294kW is available earlier than before at 5,600 rpm and extends over a broad plateau to 7,000 rpm. A new engine control unit also increases the speed at which all drive components communicate with each other.

A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is what puts the power of the five-cylinder engine to the pavement, balancing short shifting times with a sportier gear ratio spread. The engine’s unique 1‑2‑4‑5-3 ignition sequence and the incomparable sound that comes with it make the driving experience that much more exhilarating.

For the first time, the exhaust system features a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions, thus broadening the sound characteristics even further. In Dynamic and RS Performance drive modes the flaps open much earlier – the emotional elements of the sound are even more pronounced.

The new Audi RS 3 Sportback is also the first Audi model that comes standard-equipped with a torque splitter. This replaces the rear axle differential and the previous multiple disc clutch package on the rear axle. Instead, an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch is used on each of the drive shafts. This ensures that the right amount of torque is optimally distributed along the rear axle. During more dynamic driving, the torque splitter increases the drive torque to the outer rear wheel with the higher wheel load, significantly reducing understeer. In left-hand curves, it transmits the drive torque to the right rear wheel, in right-hand curves to the left rear wheel, and when driving straight ahead to both wheels.

The new technology also makes controlled drifts on closed race circuits possible – in this case, the torque splitter directs all of the power to only one of the rear wheels, with up to 1,750Nm per wheel possible. Audi has even developed a driving mode specifically for the RS 3 Sportback for this purpose – “RS Torque Rear” – as a drift mode with its own characteristic curve for the torque splitter.

The RS Performance mode, created specifically for the racetrack, is another never-before-seen innovation. It uses a specific engine and transmission configuration and is precisely tailored to the semi-slick tires that are, for the very first time, available for the RS 3 as a factory option. In this case, the torque splitter delivers a particularly dynamic, sporty ride along the longitudinal axis with as little understeer and oversteer as possible. These modes can be selected via the Audi drive select driving dynamics system, which also offers comfort, auto, dynamic, RS Individual, and efficiency drive profiles.

With the RS 3 Sportback’s wheels expressing more camber being angled more toward the road, the car exhibits more precise steering response and increased cornering force. Compared to the Audi A3, the wheels on the front axle of the new RS 3 Sportback have just under one degree of additional negative camber. The RS‑specific progressive steering varies the gear ratio depending on the steering angle – as the steering angle increases, the gear ratio becomes smaller and steering more direct. It also assists based on speed and can be varied via Audi drive select. The setup of the springs and shock absorbers is markedly stiff, and the body is 10mm lower than on the S3 and 25mm lower than on the A3.

Another new addition to the RS 3 Sportback is the modular vehicle dynamics controller (mVDC). This central system captures data from all the components relevant to lateral dynamics, thus ensuring that they interact more precisely and more quickly. The mVDC synchronizes the torque splitteradaptive dampers, and wheel-selective torque control for precise steering and handling. All in all, it increases the vehicle’s agility, especially on winding roads.

The RS 3 Sportback also comes standard-equipped with larger and newly developed six-piston steel brakes to keep the power of the five-cylinder engine in check. A ceramic brake system measuring 380x38mm is optionally available. The internally ventilated high-performance brake system weighs 10kg less than the steel brake. Those who opt for the ceramic brakes can choose between grey, red, or blue brake callipers. Those who prefer the steel version can order red callipers instead of black ones.

The design of the new Audi RS 3 Sportback is even more dynamic and powerful than that of its predecessor. In the front, the wide RS bumper, the redesigned ‘Singleframe’ grille with its distinctive honeycomb design, and the large air intakes give the compact sports car an expressive appearance. The RS 3 Sportback comes standard-equipped with flat, wedge-shaped LED headlights and LED taillights including dynamic turn signal lights. Matrix LED headlights are available as an option, with darkened bezels that feature digital daytime running lights around their outer downturned angles.

There is also a new design element behind the front wheel arches: an eye-catching additional air outlet. The rocker panels with black trim have also been redesigned and, in combination with the flared wheel arches, contribute to the expressive look of the new RS 3 Sportback. The front axle track has been widened by 33mm compared to the previous model, while the rear axle track has increased by 10mm. The RS 3 Sportback is standard-equipped with 19-inch cast wheels in a 10-Y spoke design. The motorsports-inspired finishing touches include the redesigned RS-specific rear bumper with integrated diffuser and the RS exhaust system with two large oval tailpipes.

In the interior, too, many elements specific to the RS accentuate its sportiness. The displays appear in the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus, which comes standard. It displays the rpms in the form of a bar graph and shows power and torque as percentages. Optionally, the rpm display is available in the new “RS Runway” design. In this case, the values are displayed in the opposite direction in a manner that visually resembles an airplane runway – the highest speed in the foreground and the lowest speed in the background. In addition, the Audi virtual cockpit plus includes displays for g‑forces, lap times and acceleration from 0‑100 km/h, 0-200 km/h, quarter mile, and eighth of a mile.

The genuine racing feeling is further enhanced by the carbon-fibre instrument panel and RS sport seats with RS embossing and anthracite contrast stitching. The seat upholstery is optionally available in fine Nappa leather with RS honeycomb stitching and glossy black, red, or, for the first time, green contrast stitching.

The all-new Audi RS3 Sportback is currently due to arrive in New Zealand during the first quarter of 2022. Local pricing and further specification details will be available closer to the new performance model’s on-sale date.

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