By Otsile Kadiege
Audi’s hotly-anticipated Audi RS 3 range has officially arrived in South Africa. The potent newcomer boasts a more aggressive design, Audi’s legendary and award-winning five-cylinder engine, new technologies and premium interior appointments.
Attention grabbing looks
The new RS 3 boasts an expressive and unmistakable exterior styling. Up front, the RS 3 features a wide RS bumper, the redesigned Singleframe with its distinctive honeycomb grille, and the large air intakes. The RS 3 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 RS 3 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 RS 3 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 motor sport-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 RS 3 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.
Sporty yet premium interior
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 RS 3 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 RS 3 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 RS 3 for this purpose – “RS Torque Rear” – as a drift mode with its own characteristic curve for the torque splitter. As standard, the RS 3 is equipped with RS sports suspension which features newly developed shock absorbers and a valve system both specific to the RS3.
Availability and pricing
Local market introduction of the RS 3 model range takes place today with prices starting at R1,215,000 for the RS 3 Sportback and R1,245,000 for the RS 3 Sedan (inclusive of VAT and all taxes).
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