Audi South Africa have finally launched their all-new compact high-performance models - The RS3 Sportback and RS3 Sedan. Pricing for the RS models is set at R1,215,000 and R1,245,000 respectively.
Engine and Power
Powering the RS3 models is the familiar award-winning 2.5-litre TFSI 5 cylinder motor which boasts 294kW and 500Nm of torque (20Nm more than in the predecessor). With 'Launch Control' engaged, the RS3 is able to propel itself from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. An electronically limited top speed of 250km/h is achievable however customers may opt for the optional RS Dynamic package Plus which results in a top speed of 290km/h.
Noteworthy, Audi has now fitted for the first time in an RS3, a fully variable flap control system which will essentially allow for the flaps to open much earlier in the vehicles Dynamic and RS Performance modes, resulting in more pronounced exhaust notes.
A first-ever in an Audi model is the RS Torque Splitter which replaces the previous rear axle differential with an upstream multiple disc clutch package. An electronically controlled multiple disc clutch is used on each of the drive shafts that distribute torque between the rear wheels in a fully variable manner. What this results in is improved stability and agility.
During spirited driving, the RS torque splitter increases torque delivered to the outer rear wheel which has a higher wheel load, thus greatly reducing understeer. Whilst tackling left-hand curves the torque splitter transmits the drive torque to the right rear wheel and in right-hand curves it transmits the drive torque to the left rear wheel. When driving on straights, the drive torque is transmitted to both wheels.
Complimenting the RS Torque Splitter is the RS Torque Rear mode which in layman terms is a 'drift mode' . This mode enables the torque splitter to induce considerable oversteer by transferring all of the rearward drive torque to the wheel on the outside of the curve - up to maximum of 1,750 newton metres.
The all-new Audi RS3 looks more aggressive than before up front thanks to the redesigned single frame honeycomb, flanked by the wide RS grille with large air intakes. Noteworthy, the front axle track has been widened by 33mm, with the rear axle gaining 10mm in the RS3 Sportback.
19-inch cast wheels in a10-Y spoke design are standard fitment on the RS3, with 5-Y spoke design with RS branding alloy wheels optionally available. At the rear, the redesigned RS specific bumper houses the RS exhaust system with the familiar large oval tailpipe on either side. In addition to the standard Black Styling Package, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic is available for the mirror caps, inserts in the rocker panels, and the tailgate and roof edge spoilers for an enhanced sportier look.
Customers may choose from either the optional Black Styling Package Plus or the Aluminum Styling Package Plus. Eight exterior colors are available to choose from, with RS specific Kyalami Green and Kemora Grey being the standout options.
Greeting the driver behind the Alcantara-finished flat-bottomed steering wheel is the standard 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit Plus which includes the new RS Runway design. Different displays such as g-forces, lap times and various accelerations may be displayed here. Complimenting the Virtual Cockpit Plus is a 10.1-inch touch infotainment system which is able to display various types of vehicle information such as coolant, engine and transmission oil temperatures, g-forces and optionally, tyre pressures.
Carbon-fiber trim may be found in the instrument panel with the RS sport seats with RS embossing and anthracite contrast stitching finishing off the sporty look. Fine Nappa leather upholstery is optionally available with the RS honeycomb stitching and glossy black, red or green contrast stitching. Available to match are RS Design packages in red and green and they include special floor mats with contrast stitching and RS embroidery, as well as seatbelts with matching colored edges. In the RS Design package plus, the seat shoulders, stitching of the seat belt and floor mat as well as the accents around the air vents, all come in matching red or green.
A high-level of standard specification is available on the Audi RS3 and this includes Audi RS Virtual Cockpit, darkened Matrix LED headlights with dynamic light design, Black Styling Package, Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound, Audi smartphone interface, Audi connect e-call functionality, front sport seats, RS sports exhaust, rearview camera, park assist, comfort key with safelock, progressive steering and 19-inch wheels to mention a few.
We'll be sampling the new performance models at their media launch later in September and will bring first driving impressions.