“The RS 3 Sportback represents the entry point to the RS world and, thanks to its renowned powertrain and new torque splitter, the ultimate in performance in the compact market,” said Dean Sheed, General Manager, Audi New Zealand.
“New Zealand is the number one market in the world for Audi RS product, with Kiwis showing a great fondness for its useable, outstanding performance. The third generation RS 3 Sportback will be our most accomplished edition of this model – and I’m sure Kiwi performance fans are looking forward to its arrival.”
Unmatched acceleration: the 2.5 TFSI
With its five-cylinder, high-performance engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback is one-of-a-kind in this segment. The 2.5 TFSI has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row. In the latest generation of the compact sports car, the engine is now more powerful than ever before. The new RS 3 Sportback sprints from zero to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h, however with the RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes it can even reach a top speed of 290 km/h. This makes the Audi RS 3 Sportback the best in its class in terms of acceleration and top speed – primarily due to the increased torque (up 20Nm to 500Nm), available between 2,250 and 5,600 rpm.
The engine's maximum power of 294 kW is available earlier at 5,600rpm, and extends over a broad plateau to 7,000 rpm. A new engine control unit also increases the speed at which the drive components communicate with each other.
A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission puts the power to the road – with short shifting times and a sportier gear ratio spread. The engine’s unique 1 2 4 5-3 ignition sequence, and the incomparable sound make the driving experience an exhilarating one. For the first time, the exhaust system features a fully variable flap control system that supports intermediate positions, thus broadening the sound characteristics even further. It can be adjusted via the Audi drive select system. In Dynamic and RS Performance modes, for example, the flaps open much earlier and the emotional elements of the sound are even more pronounced. In addition, the unmistakable five-cylinder soundtrack can be further enhanced by the RS sports exhaust system.
Maximum agility: RS Torque Splitter and specific RS 3 modes
The new Audi RS 3 Sportback is the first Audi model that comes standard with a torque splitter. It replaces the rear axle differential and the previous multiple disc clutch package on the rear axle. Instead, an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch is used on each of the drive shafts. This ensures that the right amount of torque is optimally distributed along the rear axle. During more dynamic driving, the torque splitter increases the drive torque to the outer rear wheel with the higher wheel load, which significantly reduces the tendency to understeer.
The new technology also makes controlled drifts on closed circuits possible – in this case, the torque splitter directs all of the power to only one of the rear wheels, with up to 1,750Nm possible per wheel. Audi has also developed a driving mode specifically for this purpose – “RS Torque Rear” – as a drift mode with its own characteristic curve for the torque splitter. The RS Performance mode, created specifically for the racetrack, is another never-before-seen innovation. It uses a specific engine and transmission configuration and is precisely tailored to the semi-slick tyres that will be, for the first time, available for the RS 3 as a factory option. In this case, the torque splitter delivers a particularly dynamic, sporty ride along the longitudinal axis with as little understeer and oversteer as possible. These modes can be selected via the Audi drive select system, which also offers five different profiles: comfort, auto, dynamic, RS Individual, and efficiency.
More dynamic with greater precision: RS sports suspension and larger wheel camber
The standard RS sports suspension features newly developed shock absorbers and a valve system both specific to the RS 3 Sportback. The valves ensure that the shock absorbers exhibit a particularly sensitive response as part of the rebound and compression characteristics. This allows the suspension to respond to the respective driving situation even faster and more effectively. The RS sport suspension plus with adaptive damper control is available as an option. It continuously and individually adjusts each shock absorber to the road conditions, the driving situation, and the mode selected in Audi drive select. The three characteristic curves; comfortable, balanced, and sporty, provide a clearly perceptible spread of the shock absorber characteristics.
The larger wheel camber (the wheels are angled more toward the road), results in a more precise steering response and increased cornering force. Compared to the Audi A3 Sportback, the wheels on the front axle of the new RS 3 Sportback have just under one degree of additional negative camber. To achieve this, the pivot bearings were modified and the lower wishbones were equipped with stiffer bearings, subframes, and stabilisers. A rear axle features a four-link design with separate spring/damper arrangement, subframe, and tubular stabiliser bar. The wheel carriers, which are stiffer than those of the Audi A3 and S3, absorb the increased lateral forces generated by the torque splitter. The negative wheel camber here is almost half a degree more compared to the A3. The RS specific progressive steering varies the gear ratio depending on the steering angle – as the steering angle increases, the gear ratio becomes smaller and steering more direct. It also assists based on speed and can be varied via Audi drive select. The setup of the springs and shock absorbers is markedly stiff, and the body is ten millimetres lower than on the S3, and 25 millimetres lower than on the A3.
Another new addition to the RS 3 Sportback is the modular vehicle dynamics controller (mVDC). This central system captures data from all components relevant to lateral dynamics, thus ensuring that they interact more precisely and more quickly. The mVDC synchronises the torque splitter, adaptive dampers, and wheel-selective torque control for precise steering and handling. All in all, it increases the vehicle’s agility, especially on winding roads.
Powerful deceleration: six-piston steel and ceramic brake system
The RS 3 Sportback comes standard with larger and newly developed six-piston steel brakes to keep the power of the five-cylinder engine in check. A ceramic brake system measuring 380 by 38mm will be available as an option on the front axle with a pedal characteristic curve specially adapted to the brake booster. The high-performance brake system weighs ten kilograms less than the steel brake. Its internally ventilated and drilled discs measure 375 by 36mm at the front and 310 by 22mm at the rear. This makes them larger and more stable than on the previous model. Air control elements improve the brakes’ cooling time by 20 percent. This reduces peak temperatures more quickly during hard braking while pedal feel is maintained. In addition, it also reduces brake pad wear, which are 15 percent larger and copper-free. The ceramic brakes will be available in grey, red, or blue.
Expressive and unmistakable: exterior and lighting
The design of the new Audi RS 3 Sportback is even more dynamic and powerful than that of its predecessor. In the front, the wide RS bumper, the redesigned Singleframe with its distinctive honeycomb grille, and the large air intakes give the compact sports car an expressive appearance. The RS 3 Sportback comes standard with flat, wedge-shaped LED headlights and LED taillights including dynamic turn signal lights. Matrix LED headlights are available as an option, with darkened bezels that feature digital daytime running lights around their outer downturned angles. With its pixel field of 3 x 5 LED segments, it provides an unmistakable look – a checquered flag appears in the left headlight as a dynamic leaving and coming home scene, and the RS 3 lettering appears on the driver’s side. When driving, the checquered flag lights up on both sides.
There is also a new design element behind the front wheel arches: an eye-catching additional air outlet. The rocker panels with black trim have also been redesigned and, in combination with the flared wheel arches, contribute to the expressive look of the new RS 3 Sportback. The front axle track has been widened by 33 millimetres compared to the previous model, with the rear axle track an extra ten millimetres wide. Audi will also mount Pirelli P Zero “Trofeo R” performance semi-slick tires for the first time, if desired. The motorsports-inspired finishing touches include the redesigned RS-specific rear bumper with integrated diffuser, and the RS exhaust system with two large oval tailpipes.
The new Audi RS 3 Sportback models can be ordered in two exclusive RS colors: Kyalami green and Kemora gray. Individual exterior features, such as the honeycomb grille in the Singleframe, come standard in black – either in a matte or high-gloss finish. The Alu-Optic Trim package is available as an option and accentuates the front bumper, diffuser insert, and window trim. For an even sportier look, the rocker panel inlays are also available in carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer. The same applies to the mirror caps and the roof edge spoiler.
Genuine racing feeling: the interior
The interior, too, features many bespoke RS elements. The displays appear in the standard 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus located in the dashboard behond the steering wheel. It displays rpm in the form of a bar graph and shows power and torque as percentages. As an option, the rpm display is available in the new “RS Runway” design, in which the values are displayed in the opposite direction, visually resembling an airplane runway – the highest speed in the foreground and the lowest speed in the background. In addition, the Audi virtual cockpit plus includes displays for g forces, lap times and acceleration from 0 100 km/h, 0-200 km/h, quarter mile, and eighth of a mile.
The RS-specific blinking shift indicator in manual transmission mode changes the rpm display from green to yellow to red, blinking in a manner identical to that used in motorsports, to indicate the ideal time to change gears. The 10.1-inch central touch display includes the “RS Monitor,” which displays the coolant, engine, and transmission oil temperatures as well as tyre pressures. Also available for the first time for the Audi RS 3 Sportback is a head-up display that projects relevant information onto the windshield in the driver's direct line of sight, in addition to the shift light indicator.
The genuine racing feeling is further enhanced by the carbon-fibre instrument panel and RS sport seats with RS embossing and anthracite contrast stitching. The seat upholstery is in fine Nappa leather with RS honeycomb stitching and glossy black, red, or, for the first time, green contrast stitching. RS Design packages in red and green are available to match. They include special floor mats with contrast stitching and RS embroidery, as well as seatbelts with coloured edges.
Everything under control: steering wheel with 12 o’clock stripe and RS Mode button
The RS 3 Sportback will come standard with a three spoke RS Sport multifunctional leather steering wheel with a flattened bottom. It features built-in, high-quality die-cast zinc shift paddles. Those who opt for the Design package get, in addition to the RS badge, a 12 o’clock stripe for faster indication of the steering wheel position during dynamic driving. Alternatively, a round RS steering wheel will be available with hands-on detection. Both have the new RS Mode button on the right-hand steering wheel spoke, which can be used to select the Audi drive select modes RS Performance, RS Individual, or the last mode used. In both RS modes, the display of the instruments and the head up display has a more sporty look with the blinking shift indicator.
The new Audi RS 3 Sportback is currently due to arrive in New Zealand during the first quarter of 2022. Final pricing and specifications will be released closer to the local launch.
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* As per global WLTP standard. Acceleration, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures depend on the individual vehicle specifications.
The Audi Group, with its brands Audi, Ducati and Lamborghini, is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the premium segment. It is present in more than 100 markets worldwide and produces at 16 locations in twelve countries. 100 percent subsidiaries of AUDI AG include Audi Sport GmbH (Neckarsulm), Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. (Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy) and Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. (Bologna, Italy).
In 2017, the Audi Group delivered to customers about 1.878 million automobiles of the Audi brand, 3,815 sports cars of the Lamborghini brand and 55,900 motorcycles of the Ducati brand. In the 2017 fiscal year, AUDI AG achieved total revenue of €60.1 billion and an operating profit of €5.1 billion. At present, approximately 90,000 people work for the company all over the world, more than 60,000 of them in Germany. Audi focuses on sustainable products and technologies for the future of mobility.