Audi is to launch the RS3 Sportback with the latest 400PS version of its famous 2.5 TFSI engine at the Geneva International Motor Show later this month.
With the same engine as features in the new TT-RS and RS3 Saloon, the new RS3 Sportback has 33PS more power than before and is 26 kilograms lighter thanks to its aluminium crankcase, among other features. Its maximum torque of 480 Nm is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. That’s how the RS 3 Sportback is able to sprint from 0 to 100 kmh in 4.1 seconds. On request, Audi will increase the electronically limited top speed from 250 kmh to 280 kmh .
In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) the RS 3 Sportback uses 8.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres , which equates to 189 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive transfers the power of the five cylinders to the road. And the electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The sportier the driving, the faster and more often a large share of the torque reaches the rear axle. quattro management is integrated as a standard feature in the dynamic handling system Audi drive select, as are the steering,
S tronic, the engine management, the adjustable exhaust flaps, and the optional RS sport suspension with adaptive damper control. The driver can individually vary the operation of these components between three modes – comfort, auto and dynamic. Handling is perfected using the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) with wheel-selective torque control and the sport mode specially tuned for the RS.
Together with progressive steering, the four-link rear axle, and the tight suspension setup lowered by 25 millimetres relative to the A3, the RS 3 Sportback combines dynamism with stability. Compared to that production model, the track at the front axle of the RS 3 Sportback is wider by 20 millimetres – and the wheel arches are accordingly flared wider. As standard, Audi includes 19-inch cast wheels and 235/35 tyres, and brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimetres. Carbon-fibre ceramic disks wil be avaialbel as an option for the front wheels only.
On the exterior, the RS 3 Sportbackfeatures a striking Singleframe with a gloss black honeycomb grille, large air inlets and angular sill trims. The redesigned blade in the bumper gives the front end an even wider look. At its ends it forms narrow, upright funnels. LED headlights with their distinctive lighting signature are standard, and Audi offers matrix LED headlights as an option. In the rear a stylish RS roof edge spoiler, a diffuser insert and the RS exhaust system’s large oval tailpipes are sure to turn heads everywhere. A quattro logo at the bottom of the Singleframe is a finishing touch to the dynamic appearance, as are the RS 3 emblem on the honeycomb grille and on the tailgate.
The two circular instrument dials are black with red needles and white scales. The centrally positioned driver information system includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and a lap timer. The fully digital Audi virtual cockpit displays the infotainment system data and is available as an option. A special RS screen shifts the tachometer to the centre, displaying on either side the readings for torque, g‑forces and tyre pressure. When the transmission is operating in manual mode, a scale with a colour background prompts the driver to use the steering wheel paddle or selector lever to upshift when approaching maximum rpm.
The RS 3 Sportback is equipped with sport seats in black fine Nappa leather as standard. RS sport seats with more contoured profiles and integrated head restraints for the driver and front passenger are available as options. RS emblems are emblazoned on the seatbacks of both seating variants. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flat-bottomed and features buttons for operating the infotainment system. The main control element is the rotary/push-button control on the console of the center tunnel. A touchpad can be integrated in its surface as an option, enabling the driver to scroll, zoom and enter text. Also included is a free text search feature that automatically completes the user’s input after just a few letters have been entered. The voice control can process user questions and commands formulated in everyday language.
An LTE module brings the Audi connect services on board, including navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, as well as information on fuel prices, weather, travel and traffic. The Audi MMI connect app lets users transfer their smartphone calendars into the MMI system. Drivers can also send destinations from Google Maps and special destinations to the navigation system, and also stream music from the internet. Apple Car Play and Android Auto can be used to immediately bring selected apps to the onboard screen, for telephone, navigation and music needs. In addition, the navigation system includes a Wi-Fi hotspot that enables passengers to connect their mobile devices to the internet.
Other highlights include the Audi phone box, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 705 watts of power, and many driver assistance systems. In slow-moving traffic up to 65 kmh, for example, the traffic jam assist keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can briefly take over the steering. Also new in the Audi RS 3 Sportback are the emergency assist, which automatically stops the car if required, and cross traffic assist rear. The latter system looks out for crossing vehicles when the driver is pulling out of a parking space.
Audi says it will start taking orders for the Audi RS3 Sportback in April with market launch due in August. UK prices are yet to be announced, but Europeans will pay 54,600 euros, slightly less than for the saloon version.