Having detailed the new RS3 almost in full less than a month ago, Audi has now officially revealed the newcomer in Sportback and Sedan guises ahead of their anticipated local market launch next year.
Going on sale in Europe from August, the most powerful derivative of the A3 Sportback and Sedan retains the five-cylinder 2.5 TFSI engine, but despite previous rumours hinting at a power war with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, Ingolstadt has kept output unchanged at 294 kW with torque increasing from 480 Nm to 500 Nm.
The latter now available from between 2 250 rpm and 5 600 rpm, the inclusion of launch control with drive going to all four corners as usual through a seven-speed S tronic gearbox will see the RS3, regardless of bodystyle, sprint from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds with the top speed limited to 250 km/h or 280 km/h with the RS Driver’s Package selected.
Aside from the performance figures, the RS3 debuts an Audi first torque splitter system known as RS Torque Splitter that eschews the rear axle differential of its predecessor for an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch that is said to provide a better even distribution of torque between the front and rear axles.
The inclusion of the setup, together with the rear biased quattro all-wheel-drive system, has effectively resulted in Audi making the RS3 available with a drift mode known as RS Torque Rear that has been designed for the racetrack. In this regard, the majority of the 500 Nm is directed to the rear wheels to allow for “controlled drifts on closed-off tracks”.
As before, the RS3 comes with four driving modes via the Audi Drive Select system; Efficiency, Comfort, Auto and Dynamic as well as the renamed RS Individual that allows for the driver to dial in their preferred RS settings.
Compared to the S3, the RS3 sits 10mm lower and receives new shock absorbers for the standard RS suspension with the adaptive RS setup available from the options list, revised electric power steering and stiffer dampers, model specific wishbones and stabiliser bars, a stronger subframe and widening of the front track by 33 mm and by 10 mm at the rear.
In standard form, stopping the RS3 comes courtesy of newly designed ventilated brakes comprising a five-piston red or black painted caliper setup at the front with the discs measuring 375 mm at the front and 310 mm at the rear.
Optionally available are the carbon ceramic stoppers identified by their grey, red or blue calipers, which Audi claims are 10 kg lighter than the steel ones with those at the front being five millimetres wider.
Externally, the RS3 builds on the S3 by additionally receiving a blacked-out Singleframe honeycomb pattern grille, RS bumpers with larger air intake on the flanks of the front, black foglight surrounds, standard Pixel LED headlights with a checkered flag indicator arrangement, wider wheel arches and door sills, new dual oval exhaust outlets integrated into the equally new diffuser and standard 19-inch ten Y-spoke RS alloy wheels with a five Y-spoke design optional.
Added to the colour palette are two new hues; Kemora Grey and Kyalami Green with the Sedan sporting the option of a Brilliant Black contrasting roof when specified with the optional carbon exterior package.
Inside, specific graphics and readouts adorn the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit Display and 10.1-inch MMI infotainment system, with other RS3 bespoke touches consisting of a new Heads-Up Display, leather or optional Nappa leather RS sport seats, the RS Sport steering wheel with 12 o’clock marking and RS Mode buttons, die-cast zinc gear shift paddles, real carbon fibre inlays, anthracite stitching on the seats, red or green accents as part of the optional RS Design interior package and a real carbon fibre instrument panel.
Going on sale in Europe from next month as mentioned, pricing for the RS3 kicks off at €60 000 (R1 022 860) for the Sportback and at €62 000 (R1 056 956) for the Sedan in Germany with local availability and pricing only expected next year.