I personally think the Audi RS 6 Avant is one of the most interesting cars on the market today, a larger car, with lots of interior space, even a lot of luggage space, and this beast pumps out 591 hp from a turbocharged 4-Liter V8 engine through an 8-speed automatic transmission, the result is an acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 305 km/h or 190 mph … that’s supercar territory in a car that can seat five people and take their luggage with them, but there is a downside too … she’s a large lady at 4,497 pounds with an overall length just shy of 5 meters or about 197 inches … but fear not, Audi has just unveiled a smaller sibling, the brand new Audi RS 3 Sedan.
While this is a much smaller model compared to the legendary Audi RS 6, the new RS 3 still comes with a respectable 401 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel this ‘pocket-rocket’ to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds while she doesn’t run out of breath until she reaches a top speed of 180 mph, compare that to the much larger RS 6 and she’s just 0.3 seconds slower to 60 mph and 10 mph slower at the top end … which let’s face it, is next to nothing and won’t be able to be really ‘felt’ by most of the people buying these cars … and another very noteworthy tidbit of information: the new Audi RS 3 managed to set the lap record for compact cars on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a time of 7 minutes 40.748 seconds, with an MSRP of $58,900 she’s a lot cheaper than the RS 6 too, sales will start by the Summer of 2022.
The engine under the front ‘bonnet’ is the legendary 5-cylinder unit that goes back to the Eighties when Audi pioneered this number of cylinders in the legendary Ur-Quattro coupe, also note the five-cylinder Audi engine achieved countless victories in motorsports, starting in the Group B rally courses around the world to continue on the track in the IMSA GTO and even at the Nürburgring in the legendary 24-hour race, this little beauty has earned the “International Engine of the Year Award” nine times in a row since 2010, so having this kind of engine in the new Audi RS 3 is just great, and the sound emitted from the large, dual, oval tailpipes sends chills down your spine.
Naturally, the exterior has been modified quite extensive compared to the regular Audi A3, with a specific RS front bumper complete with the Singleframe grille that features the famous honeycomb pattern, the front fenders even come with an air vent now, made possible thanks to a 33mm (1.3 inches) widened front track, so the fenders grew to cope with that, at the rear we find an amazing looking bumper with full-width inset making the car look even wider, the lower diffuser houses two massive, oval exhaust tips, the RS exhaust system comes standard with variable valve control, Audi has put together a palette of eight colors, including the stunning Kyalami Green and Kemora Gray which are bespoke to Audi Sport models.
Standard fitment is a set of 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels with staggered performance tires, as an option you can have Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires fitted for track use, and all this RS-specific stuff isn’t just on the outside, open the driver door and you are greeted with an absolutely stunning interior with the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus as standard fitment, a blinking shift indicator in manual transmission mode changes the RPM display from green to yellow to red, blinking in a manner identical to that used in motorsports, while the center 10.1-inch dashboard display can be configured to show coolant, engine, transmission oil temperatures, as well as the g-forces and tire pressure figures.
For the first time, an RS design package includes distinctive elements of green throughout including the seat shoulders finished in Micrommata green Dinamica, a center bar of air vents in Micrommata green, floor mats with RS logo and green stitching on piping, green edging on seatbelts, a carbon atlas matte inlay, and the center console trim in high gloss black. A standard black headliner frames the cabin with an additional element of sportiness.
The new Audi RS 3 comes standard with new and larger front steel brakes with integrated airflow guides in the bumper and undercarriage, these 6-piston fixed caliper front brakes come with 375mm (14.8”) brake discs, while the rear brakes use a single-piston caliper with 310mm (12.2”) brake discs, all calipers are painted red from the factory, but there is an optional ceramic brake upgrade available, the latter comes with 380mm (15.0”) front ceramic discs exhibits powerful braking ability, while reducing overall weight by 22 pounds, and remains more resistant to brake fade thanks to faster temperature reduction.
For the very first time on an Audi, the RS 3 comes with the RS Torque Splitter, this is one of the most significant performance innovations in the RS 3. Audi Quattro supports the rear-axle differential with an upstream multi-plate clutch package that has now been replaced by an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch on each driveshaft. This innovation enables the RS Torque Splitter to distribute the drive torque for the rear axle fully variably between the rear wheels. The result is better stability, especially on wet ground, and improved agility during fast cornering.