By Otsile Kadiege
After countless online teasers, Audi has officially unveiled the third-generation RS3 Sportback and second generation RS3 Sedan. The range-topping duo bears a dynamic and powerful new look with a potent 5-cylinder engine, as well as a new drift mode feature to list a few.
The new RS3 boasts an expressive and unmistakable exterior styling. Up front, the RS3 features a wide RS bumper, the redesigned Singleframe with its distinctive honeycomb grille, and the large air intakes. The RS3 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.
The side-profile of the new RS3 features an additional air outlet behind the front wheel arches and redesigned rocker panels. The front axle track has been widened by 33 mm compared to the previous model. On the Sportback, the rear axle track has increased by 10 mm. The RS3 is standard-equipped with 10-Y spoke design 19-inch cast wheels. Customers can opt for 5-Y spokes with RS branding. Audi will also mount Pirelli P Zero “Trofeo R” performance semi-slick tires for the first time, if desired.
The motorsports-inspired rear-end include the redesigned RS-specific rear bumper with integrated diffuser and the signature two large oval tailpipes with RS exhaust system. The new Audi RS3 models can be ordered in two exclusive RS colors: Kyalami green and Kemora gray. The roof of the Sedan can also be ordered in the contrasting color Brilliant black for the first time.
Inside, the potent duo features many elements specific to the RS like the flat-bottom steering wheel with 12 o’clock stripe and RS Mode button, sports seats, red detailing throughout the cabin, a standard 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus with RS specific graphics, a head-up display, a 10.1-inch touch display with RS menus like “RS Monitor,” which displays the coolant, engine, and transmission oil temperatures as well as tire pressures.
Powering the RS3 Sportback and Sedan is a 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine with a unique 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence. The turbocharged engine develops 294 kW and 500 Nm. Power is sent to all wheels via the automaker’s Quattro AWD system allowing the RS3s to sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. Their top speed is limited to 250 km/h, but 280 km/h is also available as an optional upgrade. With the RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes, they can even reach a top speed of 290 km/h.
The new Audi RS3 is the first Audi model that comes standard-equipped with a torque splitter. It 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, according to Audi, 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, which significantly reduces the tendency to 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-off tracks possible – in this case, the torque splitter directs all of the power to only one of the rear wheels, with up to 1,750 Nm per wheel possible. Audi even developed a driving mode specifically for the RS3 for this purpose – “RS Torque Rear” – as a drift mode with its own characteristic curve for the torque splitter. As standard, the RS3 is equipped with RS sports suspension which features newly developed shock absorbers and a valve system both specific to the RS3.
The new Audi RS3 Sportback and RS3 Sedan are expected to debut on the 2nd quarter of 2022.
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