Audi has upped the ante for its new RS 3, which now produces 395bhp.
EXPLOSIVE POWER FROM THE 2.5-LITRE
The 2.5-litre unit now produces its peak output from 5600rpm. A peak torque of 500Nm meanwhile, will propel the compact car from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
Power is put to the road via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
TAKING CONTROL: A NEW TORQUE SPLITTER
But there’s something else that’s new. This RS 3 is also the first Audi model that comes standard with what Audi calls a “torque splitter”.
Essentially an electronically controlled multiple-disc clutch used on each of the drive shafts, the torque splitter ensures that the right amount of torque is optimally distributed along the rear axle during dynamic driving.
More drive torque to the outer rear wheel with the higher wheel load in a corner will reduce the tendency to understeer.
Ken Block-wannabes will also be glad to note that the new system offers a “drift mode”.
Labelled as “RS Torque Rear” in Audi parlance, the torque splitter will make controlled drifts on closed-off tracks possible, as it can send all power to the rear axle, with up to 1750Nm of torque per wheel.
Then there’s also the “RS Performance” mode, which is the exact opposite – designed to offer as little understeer and oversteer as possible for quicker lap times.
The mode, Audi states, has been precisely tailored to the use of semi-slick tyres. Yowza.
EXPRESSIVE: THE AUDI RS 3
Design-wise, nobody will think you’re in a regular Audi A3.
Up front, the Audi RS 3 gets a wide RS bumper, redesigned Singleframe with honeycomb grille, and enlarged air intakes.
But from the flanks are where the RS really stands out, thanks to air outlets behind the front wheel arches.
19-inch cast wheels in a 10-Y spoke design are standard here, and Audi will mount Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres if desired.
An RS-specific bumper at the rear sports an integrated diffuser, and of course, you get two large oval tailpipes.
You can order your Audi RS 3 in two exclusive RS colors: Kyalami green and Kemora grey. Sedan buyers will also get the option to have their roof in Brilliant black.
THAT RACY FEELING: THE INTERIOR
Step inside the Audi RS 3 and a carbon-fibre instrument panel and RS sport seats will greet you. Those seats get the “RS” badge embossed and feature anthracite contrast stitching.
In addition, seats upholstered in fine Nappa leather with RS honeycomb stitching and glossy black, red, or for the first time, green contrast stitching is available as an option.
Also on offer are RS Design packages in red and green. They include special floor mats with contrast stitching and RS embroidery, as well as seatbelts with coloured edges.
The Design package plus includes seat corners in red or green and a coloured accents on the air vents.
If you’re into crazy-hot compacts, we also reviewed the spicy little Mercedes-AMG CLA 45S here!
Or maybe you’ll like the new Golf R, which also comes with a drift mode, more?
Too extreme for you? Click here to find out more about the “regular” Audi A3