My drive in the Audi RS3 was pretty awesome on many levels and not much to find fault with. One or two things we will touch on later. It comes with a new 5-cylinder engine with awesome performance and sharper looks as well. I drove the Sportback and loved its compactness, but actually I like the sedan version as well.
The Audi RS 3 Sportback has enjoyed a successful history in South Africa. The first generation redefined the segment, having been produced in limited numbers for global distribution, Audi South Africa managed to obtain and deliver 174 of those units in the local market. It was followed by the second generation in 2015 and sold 265 units.
The RS brand is the ultimate in performance for Audi, even more so than the S brand. And performance accents abound everywhere.
The sporty character of the RS 3 Sedan and RS3 Sportback is visible at first glance: the front, sides and rear boast new, striking design details. It sports a black gloss, three-dimensional honeycomb grill and the quattro logo on the sloping lower segment accentuate the vehicle’s dynamism. A frame with a matte aluminum look further emphasizes the grill. The newly designed blade in the bumper is also particularly noticeablel. The housing of the exterior mirrors on both RS models has a matte aluminum look.
It has very sporting headlights, that form a striking light graphic. LED units are standard and Audi also optionally offers precision-controlled Matrix LED headlights. 15 precisely controllable LEDs on each side shine through three reflectors to generate the high beam
At the rear, the RS3 Sedan looks the part with a distinctive diffuser insert,and large elliptic tailpipes of the RS sports exhaust system round it out on either side. A RS roof edge spoiler, with RS-specific spoiler lip on the trunk lid which improves the break-away of the air flow. Both models are available in eight colors, including the RS-specific tones Nardo Grey and Catalunya Red.
Interior & Infotainment
Into the cabin and the RS 3 captivates immediately with illuminated door sills bearing the RS 3 logos as a standard feature. It has fine materials inside, which exude a cool, sporty character.The RS sport seats with sharply contoured side bolsters and integrated head restraints are also available, and the nappa leather seats on the sedan are great.
Also available on the RS3 is the optional Audi virtual cockpit, optimised to the RS model by shifting the rev counter to the centre. The optional RS design package emphasizes the air vents with red accent rings and creates further visual highlights using contrast stitching. The door trim inserts are made of Alcantara whilst the pedals and footrest are in stainless steel.
All controls are easily reachable, courtesy of the round rotary/push-button control on the console of the center tunnel which also has an additional joystick function in conjunction with the MMI navigation. It is used for changing between the individual menus.
Smart phone integration is avalable for Apple Carplay and Android. Attractive supplementary components complete the infotainment line-up. The Audi phone box wirelessly links the smartphone to the vehicle’s antenna, guaranteeing optimum reception. It also charges the mobile phone inductively using the Qi standard. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System fills the interior with 705 watts of music power using 14 loudspeakers. Anodized aluminum elements decorate the bezels of the woofers, while LED light guides emit white light.
The new 5-cylinder power unit is a turbo engine and is the most powerful series-production five-cylinder engine on the world market.
An output of 294 kW results to an increase of 24 kW versus the previous model RS3 Sportback. With the displacement of 2,480 cm3 remaining unchanged, its maximum torque of 480 Nm is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. The five-cylinder engine thus catapults both the RS3 Sedan and Sportback from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds . On request, Audi can increase the electronically limited top speed from 250 km/h to 280 km/h.
It is mated to a 7-speed Stronic dual-clutch auto gearbox thaat is the thing of legend in Audi, the problem is that there seems to be an inordinate amout of turbo-lag in pull-off. I drove the car for seven days and it happened a fair amount, this is strange as the Golf R does not do this. However the performance is great, and once you have it in 2nd gear its all systems go.
With quattro the performance is phenomenal as well. It corners like a dream. It has great sound, and is aan intimidating presence on the road. The new five-cylinder engine is 26 kilograms lighter than its predecessor which is of considerable advantage to the RS models with regard to the axle load distribution and gross weight. The start-stop and recuperation systems also contribute towards improving efficiency. In the NEDC cycle, the both models consumed 8.3 litres of fuel per 100km.
The following equipment will be offered on the Audi RS 3 Sedan and RS 3 Sportback as standard:
• 19” alloy Audi Sport wheels
• 4-link rear suspension
• Acoustic windscreen
• Aluminium matt styling package
• Audi drive select®
• Audi music interface
• Audi sound system
• Bluetooth interface
• Brake pad wear indicator
• Cruise control
• Deluxe automatic air conditioning
• Driver & front passenger airbag with knee airbag & front passenger airbag deactivation
• Driver information system with colour display
• Electronic stabilisation program (ESP)
• Exterior mirror housings in matt aluminium look
• Fine Nappa leather trim with contrasting stitching
• Front seats with height adjustment and retractable thigh support
• Front sports seats
• Folding rear seat back
• Front centre armrest
• Front head restraints
• Headlining, cloth
• Indirect tire pressure monitoring system
• Inlays in 3D-design Optic titanium grey
• Interior mirror with automatic anti-glare action
• ISOFIX child seat mounting for outer rear seat & passenger seat
• LED headlights & taillights incl. dynamic indicators
• Leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheel, 3-spoke, flat-bottomed, with shift paddles
• Lighting package
• Parking system plus with selective display
• Sports suspension
• Start/stop system
• Storage compartment and luggage compartment package
• Tyre repair kit
• Pedals and footrest in stainless steel
• Progressive steering
• Rear fog lights
• Rear spoiler
• RS bumpers
• RS sports exhaust system
• Scuff plates in door apertures (illuminated)
• Separate daytime running lights
• Side airbags at front and head airbag system
The Audi RS3 range will be priced as follows, standard with the 5 year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan and inclusive of all taxes:
• Audi RS3 Sedan 2.5 TFSI quattro S tronic: R 925,500
• Audi RS3 Sportback 2.5 TFSI quattro S tronic: R 895,500
It is not a cheap car by any means, and the price tag is a sign that it will be bought by a well off person that likes a sporty and performance enhanced car. It is a pocket rocket in any sense, and would keep any petrol-head happy.