Two cars, one test track all to ourselves. The result? An afternoon of lateral Gs and tyre smoke.
With the 3rd generation of the Audi RS3 Sportback and the 2nd generation of the RS3 Sedan, Audi is hoping to claim back their top spot in the sports compact segment. The famed and adored 5-cylinder engine now has more torque, giving it even more character.
This in combination with the RS torque splitter first seen in any Audi, the RS3 offers performance and lateral dynamics on a whole new level.
And what better way to test this new technological wizardry, than to wring these new models round a makeshift test track, undisturbed by the public.
It’s got a nice engine, but is it quick?
With its new 5-cylinder high-performance engine, the Audi RS3 is now more powerful than ever before, thanks in part to the increased torque now standing at a boisterous 500Nm. Boasting 400bhp of power, the pair can sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds thanks to Launch Control.
The models’ top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h by default. However, if for some reason you want to go over the edge, the limit can be optionally increased to 290 km/h.
Plus, with a new exhaust system design the car sounds just as loud as its madness. For the first time in an RS3, the cars feature a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions, thus broadening the sound characteristics even further.
Not only fast, they are agile too
The new RS3 has the ability to dart into corners thanks to its newly developed RS torque splitter, installed for the first time in an Audi. An electronically controlled multiple disc clutch distributes torque between the rear wheels in a fully variable manner, resulting in monstrous amounts of grip.
During our “enthusiastic” test drive the RS3 never missed a beat, and the torque splitter made the car very forgiving in the corners each time our legs were a little too throttle happy.
An unmistakable exterior
Even standing still, these top-of-the-line models look menacing compared to their tamer A3 and S3 siblings.
Audi even offers them with brash and bold colours to complete the look, such as Kyalami Green and Python Yellow (anyone getting Mercedes A45 vibes from this?).
Audi Sport delivers the RS3 with 19-inch cast wheels in a 10-spoke design. Motorsports-inspired finishing touches include the redesigned RS-specific rear bumper with built-in diffuser and the RS exhaust system with a large oval tailpipe on both sides.
Some exterior peripherals such as the mirror caps, the inserts in the rocker panels, and the tailgate and roof edge spoilers are also available in carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic for an even sportier look.
Quintessentially Audi on the inside
(Photo Credit: Audi Singapore)
Complimenting the exterior, the interior houses many elements specific to the RS. The standard-equipped 12.3-inch 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. Things you really don’t need in Singapore but hey, they’re there if you need them.
A head-up display is now available for the first time, alongside an RS-specific blinking shift indicator. The 10.1-inch touch display in the instrument panel also displays the coolant, engine, and transmission oil temperatures, among other important vehicle stats.
(Photo Credit: Audi Singapore)
The seats are upholstered in fine Nappa leather with RS honeycomb stitching and contrast stitching. RS Design packages in red and green are available on request, if you wish to match and standardise the colour scheme on the inside.
Watch our host Jackie tear up the Audi RS3 on the track below!
Now you’re tempted, but are you willing to part with some cash?
Overall, the Audi RS3 is a well rounded package that demonstrates that you can have loads of fun round corners and still be safe doing it thanks to its advanced technological upgrades, albeit with slightly soiled pants.
All of this fun comes at a cost though, and as of writing the RS3 sedan will set you back a cool $365,395, while its sportback sibling is arguably the bargain of the two, coming in at $354,075. Still, this is not exactly pocket change.
But, if you have the cash to splash on a new sports car, the RS3 is definitely a tempting prospect. It’s compact enough that it's not a huge hassle to drive around, and it has enough power to keep you smiling throughout.
Head over to Audi Singapore today to learn more about the RS3!
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