Take that, Europe!
It wasn't so long ago when Audi kept the majority of its high-performance RS models Europe-exclusive, offering Americans just a small taste of its impressive Audi Sport division. In 2022, US shoppers now have the choice of several RS-branded models, including the RS5 Coupe, RS5 Sportback, RS6 Avant, RS7, RS e-tron GT, and RS Q8. The 2022 Audi RS3 will rejoin the lineup later this year producing more power than the previous generation. In fact, this new RS3 demonstrates that the US market no longer plays second fiddle to Europe when it comes to performance.
Speaking with Anthony Garbis, Senior Manager, Product Planning for the RS3, at the car's launch in Las Vegas, CarBuzz learned the US-spec RS3 is superior to its European counterpart in more ways than one.
"America has the loudest and most powerful RS3 because of various European restrictions," Garbis explained.
As a reminder, the new RS3 employs the same 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine found in the previous model. There are no mechanical changes but Audi squeezed more power via software tweaks. The European model produces 400 metric horsepower, which equates to 394 mechanical horsepower (the unit used in the US). Our RS3 produces 401 hp with the 369 lb-ft of torque. That's the same amount of torque as the European model but 7 more horses!
Not only is our RS3 a bit pokier than Europe's, but it also sounds a bit better going down the road. The US car is available with a $1,000 RS sports exhaust system, which includes black tips and a louder growl. You can hear how the new car sounds on the track in the video above.
Our First Drive of the RS3 goes live on Wednesday, June 1 at 9 am EST, at which point we can reveal what the car feels like on the road. If you want to have a guess, the RS3's compact car record at the Nurburgring should give some indication. The new RS3 includes more drive modes than ever, including the standard Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic plus model-specific modes such as RS Individual, RS Performance, and the RS Torque Rear drift mode.
These settings let drivers change elements of the steering, suspension, exhaust, and more, though the suspension has fewer settings (three total) than the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R. But there's a reasonable explanation. "If you can't feel a difference in the modes, we won't include it," says Garbis. Click back in a few days to find out if we can confirm that statement.