Audi's hot compact returns next spring.
Unlike some automakers as of late, Audi is revealing its returning compact car from the bottom trims up. That means that instead of the Audi RS3 coming out before the A3 and S3, like a Mercedes-AMG, we were treated to info on its less expensive brethren before we got to talk about the new high-performance, track-ready version. The only thing we could talk about last month was the RS3's new "Torque Splitter," a new piece of tech that replaces the rear axle differential and the previous multiple disc clutch package.
It now uses an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each of the drive shafts to distribute the right amount of torque along the rear axle. During high-performance driving, the torque splitter increases the drive torque to the outer rear wheel, which reduces understeer. It can also be used for sweet drifts in RS Torque Rear mode.
The 2022 Audi RS3, available next spring, continues with its turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine, inspired by its rally cars of the last century. The firing order is the same, 1,2,4,5,3, as those championship-winning vehicles, and output is now rated at 401 metric hp (394 hp in our money), seven horses up from the previous model. Torque is rated at 369 lb-ft (an increase of 7 lb-ft). Torque maxes out at just 2,250 rpm and continues until 5,600 rpm, and max power comes in earlier too.
That's good for a supercar-like 0-62 mph sprint of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of either 155 mph or 174 mph, depending on options, but with the RS Dynamic package and composite brakes, 180 mph is possible too. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission distributes power to all four wheels and the RS3 now sports a variable exhaust control flap for a broader sound.
The standard RS suspension features new shocks and valve system that are both specific to the RS3. Audi says they respond faster and more efficiently. Adaptive dampers are optional, which continually adjust to the road and chosen drive mode. The wheels also have more camber than the previous model, which leads to a sharper steering response and increased cornering force, says Audi. The fronts have 1 degree of additional camber over the A3. The rear wheels have half a degree extra.
Audi had to modify the pivot bearings, and new bearings were equipped in the lower wishbones, subframes and stabilizers at the front. The four-link rear gets upgraded over the A3 as well. The RS3 sits about an inch lower than that car.
All of the suspension data is captured and analyzed by the new modular vehicle dynamics controller, which then synchronizes the Torque Splitter, adaptive dampers and wheel-selected torque control. It makes the car handle better, is the short version. The RS3 is offered with either steel or carbon ceramic brakes with six-piston calipers in several colors.
The new RS3 gets a more aggressive and futuristic look than its predecessor with slim daytime running lights and checkered flag lights below. Matrix LEDs are optional. The intakes are bigger as is the central opening. It gets a new air outlet behind the front tires and redesigned rocker panels on both sides. The rear sticks with two tailpipes but gets a black grille just above as opposed to the body color on the previous model. A new selection of 19-inch wheels are available and if ordered, Audi will mount semi-slick Pirelli Trofeo R tires.
Inside, the RS3 features the Audi virtual cockpit plus along with a 12.3-inch screen. In addition to your normal navigation and media function, it also has a selection of specific screens for things like power and torque percentages. You can also display the gauges in RS Runway mode, in which the values are displayed in the opposite direction resembling an airport runway with the highest speeds in the foreground and lowest in the background. It also can show your lap times, g-meter, acceleration. You can also put shift lights in the head-up display.
Elsewhere in the cabin, you get carbon fiber, sport seats and embossed stitching. Buyers can spec leather with contrasting stitching in black, red or green. RS Design packages are also available to match with seat corners, seatbelts and air vent accents.
Audi hasn't priced the RS3 in the US yet, but in Europe it will costs 62,000 euros, which converts to about $73,000, but usually there are price differences besides the conversion. The new color you see is called Kyalami Green. It will also be offered in Kemora Gray. Lastly, while Europe will get both the sedan and hot hatch, we'll only get the sedan.