The new Audi RS3 has been unveiled in both hatchback and sedan guises, and it looks more aggressive than ever.
It sports a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder, turbo-petrol engine that has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row – and offers class-leading handling and acceleration thanks to a new torque splitter, said Audi.
The Audi RS3 Sportback and RS3 Sedan will be available in Europe from mid-July, and has a European starting price of €60,000 (R1,023,432).
Powering the new Audi RS3 is the 2.5-litre motor paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The set-up generates a maximum of 294kW between 5,600rpm and 7,000rpm, and 500Nm between 2,250rpm and 5,600rpm.
This allows the RS3 to sprint to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.
“With the RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes, they can even reach a top speed of 290km/h,” said the company.
“This makes the Audi RS3 the best in its class in terms of acceleration and top speed.”
For the first time on an RS3, the exhaust also features a fully variable flap control system that can be adjusted via the Dynamic Drive select programme.
This provides a different exhaust note for every drive mode.
Furthermore, this Audi is the first model from the brand to feature a standard-fitted torque splitter.
This feature sees electronically-controlled, multi-disc clutches installed to ensure that torque is optimally distributed between the wheels – working alongside Audi’s Quattro drive system.
“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,” said Audi.
The company even developed an “RS Torque Rear” driving mode specifically for this purpose, and added a new “RS Performance Mode”.
This uses a specific engine and transmission configuration tailored for semi-slick tyres – the latter of which are available as factory options on the RS3 for the first time.
The standard RS suspension then received newly-developed shock absorbers and valve systems, and the wheels are angled more towards the road to deliver more precise steering response and increased cornering force.
“Another new addition to the RS3 is the modular vehicle dynamics controller,” said the company.
“The mVDC synchronizes the torque splitter, adaptive dampers, and wheel-selective torque control for precise steering and handling.”
The new Audi RS3 features a more aggressive front bumper with larger air intakes, a redesigned honeycomb grille, and new wedge-shaped LED headlights.
It also gets flared wheel arches, redesigned black side sills, 19-inch Y-spoke wheels, and a new air-outlet behind the front wheels to enhance the vehicle’s athletic stance.
Moving inside, the RS treatment continues with the multifunction steering wheel, sports seats, carbon-fibre instrument panel, and anthracite contrast stitching.
The Audi virtual cockpit plus infotainment system is fitted, too, which includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch infotainment display.
This enables Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an “RS monitor” that shows the car’s coolant, engine, and transmission oil temperatures.
“In addition, the 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,” said Audi.