The new Audi RS3 Sportback and Sedan twins have made their official debut, boasting bolder exterior styling, fresh tech and more torque.
The most distinguishable exterior revisions come in the shape of a more pronounced single frame front grille, complete with a fresh honeycomb structure, flanked by updated headlamps featuring RS3-specific daytime running lights, and flared wheel arches. The rear is accentuated by an RS-specific bumper with integrated diffuser. The RS sport exhaust system features large oval tailpipes.
Inside, the new RS3 features, among others, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit driver’s display and a 10,1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both operated via the RS steering wheel. Like other RS models, the steering wheel features an “RS” button to switch between the RS modes.
Under the bonnet, Audi’s familiar (and nine-time International Engine of the Year award-winning) 2,5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine remains, but with power now directed to the Ingolstadt manufacturer’s quattro all-wheel-drive system earlier in the rev range. The full complement of 294 kW is now available from 5 600 r/min to 7 000 r/min. Although power output is unchanged, torque has been increased by 20 N.m to 500 N.m, which is available from 2 250 r/min to 5 600 r/min. Audi says the RS3’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission now features sportier gear rations.
Audi claims these changes have resulted in quicker acceleration from low in the rev range. The German manufacturer says the pair of new RS3s can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in “just” 3,8 seconds before reaching an (electronically limited) maximum speed of 250 km/h. However, select the RS Dynamic package and the latter figure is increased to 290 km/h. As standard, stopping power is provided by “newly developed” six-piston steel brakes. Carbon ceramic discs, weighing 10 kg less than the steel items, are available as an option.
The new RS3 is the first Audi model to come with a torque splitter, which replaces the rear axle differential found on its forebear, as standard. This new technology, Audi says, makes controlled drifts on closed-off racetracks possible. Developed specifically for this purpose, the RS3 features a drift mode. Sport suspension, complete with newly developed shock absorbers and an RS3-specific valve system, and 19-inch alloy wheels are standard.