Audi unveiled the Audi RS 3 saloon at this year’s Motor Show in Paris. With a 400 PS five-cylinder engine, groundbreaking efficiency and an even sharper look, it is the first compact Audi sedan to bear the RS label.
The new 2.5 TFSI outputs 294 kW (400 PS) – 33 hp more than its predecessor. That makes it the most powerful five-cylinder engine on the world market. Its 480 Nm (354.0 lb-ft) of torque is available at engine speeds between 1,700 and 5,850 revolutions per minute for outstanding tractive power. The compact RS model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in just 4.1 seconds. It can attain a maximum speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph); on request Audi will increase the electronically limited top speed to 280 km/h (174.0 mph). The unique sound of the five-cylinder unit intensifies an already emotionally charged driving experience. Its sound comes from having the ignition alternate between directly adjacent cylinders and widely spaced ones. The sound can be modified via Audi drive select.
With its light-alloy crankcase, the five-cylinder engine is 26 kilograms (57.3 lb) lighter than its predecessor. It employs a dual injection into the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers, as well as the Audi valvelift system for variable control of the exhaust valves. The result is optimal power development at a reduced consumption level.
With lightning-fast shifting, the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission transmits the power of the 2.5 TFSI to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Its electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The electronic control combines superior stability with a high level of driving pleasure. The sportier the driving, the faster and more often will a large share of the torque reach the rear axle. The result: especially agile driving characteristics.
quattro management is integrated as a standard feature in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, as are the steering, S tronic, engine management and the adjustable exhaust flaps. The driver can individually vary the operation of these components between the three modes comfort, auto and dynamic. The same is true for the optional RS sport suspension plus with adaptive damper control.
Wheel-selective torque control, an intelligent software feature of the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC), rounds off the work of the all-wheel drive. In fast cornering it slightly brakes the inside wheels, which are under a reduced load. In this way it can transmit greater lateral power, making handling more fluid and stable. In addition, the RS-specifically tuned ESC comes with a sport mode for controlled drifting. The ESC can also be fully deactivated for especially sporty driving characteristics.
Progressive steering, four-link rear axle, a tight setup and lowered by 25 millimetres (1.0 in) relative to the standard model – the chassis of the RS 3 sedan is the perfect partner for the powerful drive system. From its stable center position, the RS 3 sedan spontaneously steers into curves and follows through with superior precision. The front brake disks have a diameter of 370 millimetres (14.6 in), while eight-piston calipers with large-area linings provide optimal deceleration. Alternatively, Audi supplies carbon-fibre ceramic disks in front. At the rear axle there are brake disks with a diameter of 310 millimetres (12.2 in). Standard on the RS 3 sedan are 19-inch wheels and 235/35 tires. 255/30 tires are optionally available in front.
The new top athlete in the compact segment also expresses its sporty character visually. The Singleframe with its three-dimensional honeycomb grille bears the quattro logo along the bottom. Underneath, a blade extends across the entire width of the front into the side air inlets, where it forms narrow funnels for better air flow through the wheel arches. LED headlights with their distinctive daytime running light signature are standard; Audi also offers matrix LED headlights as an option. Compared with an A3, the front track of the RS 3 sedan is wider by 20 millimetres (0.8 in) – the front wheel arches are accordingly wider flared as well. At the rear axle the wheels are spaced 14 millimetres (0.6 in) further apart compared with the basic model.
A fixed spoiler lip on the luggage compartment lid improves the separation of air flow. A distinctive diffusor insert with vertical struts and the large oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system terminate the rear. Audi exclusively offers the RS-specific paint colours Nardo grey and Catalunya red as options.
The dark-toned interior welcomes the driver and passengers with illuminated door sills bearing the RS 3 logos as a standard feature. Black fine Nappa leather sport seats with RS logos on the backrests are standard. Optionally available are more contoured RS sport seats with integrated head restraints. Their covers are also diamond patterned and color-perforated. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flattened at the bottom. Inlays at the instrument panel and at the doors complete the atmosphere of sporty elegance.
The flat hierarchies and intelligently linked context menus make operation of the Audi RS 3 sedan intuitive and ergonomic. The main control element is the rotary/push-button control on the console of the center tunnel. With the top infotainment system MMI navigation plus with MMI touch, the terminal includes a touchpad for scrolling, zooming and writing. Additionally included is a free text search feature that automatically completes the user’s input after entering just a few letters. The voice control processes questions and commands formulated in ordinary language.
Standard is an electrically extending MMI screen with a 7-inch diagonal. 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 is optionally available. On its high-resolution 12.3-inch monitor the driver can choose between three display modes. They include a special RS screen that moves the tachometer to the center. On the left and right information appears on tire pressure, torque and g‑forces. 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 revs.
An LTE module gets the Audi RS 3 sedan online. It brings on board the various services of Audi connect, including navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View, as well as information on fuel prices, the weather, travel and traffic. The information is displayed directly in the MMI, and operation is by way of the standard-equipped RS multifunction steering wheel, the rotary/push-button control and touchpad or by spoken command. Data is transmitted via the new Audi connect SIM, which is factory-installed in the car. With the corresponding data flat rate the customer can immediately use the services for up to three years free of charge – even in other European countries. In addition, the navigation systems include a Wi-Fi hotspot enabling passengers to surf the web with their tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.
The free Audi MMI connect app offers many other features, such as transferring your smartphone’s calendar to the MMI. Through Aupeo! and Napster it affords access to countless music tracks and audio books. Destinations from Google Maps, points of interest (POIs) and the entries from the “Travel” service can be transferred from your smartphone to your car’s navigation system using the app. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple Car Play and Android Auto into the car.
Selected apps for the phone, navigation and streaming services, for example, are then directly displayed on the MMI screen. The driver can control the apps using the various operating options in the car.
Attractive supplementary components complete the infotainment line. The Audi phone box inductively charges the smartphone according to the Qi standard and connects it to the car antenna via near-field coupling for optimal reception quality. The Bang & Olufsen Sound System produces an excellent sound experience with 705 watts of power and 14 speakers.
Arrive safe and relaxed at your destination thanks to new assistance systems
The RS 3 sedan is also the top of its class when it comes to driver assistance systems. They keep the car at the desired distance from the vehicle in front, assist the driver when changing lanes and staying within the given lane, detect traffic signs and help avoid rear-end collisions and pedestrian accidents.
New are the traffic jam assist, which briefly takes over the steering in slow-moving traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the emergency assist, which automatically stops the car if required, and cross traffic assist rear. The latter system looks out for crossing vehicles when pulling out of a parking space.
The compact RS model will be launched in China and the USA from summer 2017 under the “Audi Sport” label.