Your move, Mercedes-AMG.
The Audi RS3 in its latest incarnation has just been revealed with that signature five-pot engine, more power than ever before, and a drift mode. Its 2.5-liter turbocharged engine produces an impressive 400 metric horsepower - 394 hp in American terms - and 369 lb-ft of torque, enough for a blisteringly quick 0-62 time of just 3.8 seconds. With the right options, it'll even top out at 180.2 mph, although the stock model is limited to 155 mph. On paper then, the new RS3 looks like a winner, and as it turns out, it looks like a winner on track too. Audi took the all-new RS3 sedan to the Nurburgring and achieved a time of 7:40.748, earning the four-door the title of the fastest compact model at the Nordschleife.
Back in June, before the car had been fully unveiled, Audi Sport racing and development driver Frank Stippler was behind the wheel and beat the previous lap record for the class by a laudable 4.64 seconds. However, there's usually an issue with lap records as manufacturers tend to fiddle with the cars in ways that the average customer will never get to experience. Not so here. Before the record-setting lap, Audi says that it only adjusted the tire pressures in the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tires so that they'd be more suitable for track conditions. Sure, semi-slicks aren't the default choice for the average consumer, but they're a small change that remains street-legal. Furthermore, these tires are an optional extra for the first time, so this really is a factory-stock car.
Audi pins part of the success of the lap on the torque splitter, a first for an Audi model. This technology helps the car turn in better. "In general, the new RS3 is much more agile when driving from the middle of the curve to its end and when accelerating out of the curve," said Stippler. "For me, the torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving." The tires are also awarded some praise for the time achieved, as are the 19-inch ceramic front brakes, the adaptive RS sport suspension plus system, and the RS Performance mode.
In setting the new record, Audi beat the previous record holder, the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, which held the record with a lap time of 7 minutes and 45.389 seconds.