"the latest RS3 will be one hell of a road car" and "Verdict: Discreet"


The Older I Get The Better I Was
Gold Supporter
In my opinion the most sensible report of the new RS3 I've read yet: well done Paul Hudson 10/10

See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/audi/rs3/

"In a world full of performance cars, Audi’s RS models invariably stand out as highly accomplished. The RS3, based on the A3 Sportback, with its larger-than-average hatchback boot and five doors, exemplifies the company’s approach to providing performance without sacrificing practicality.

The latest version of the RS3 gets its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March before going on sale in the UK in the summer at just under £40,000.

We had a sneak preview at Audi’s winter testing facility in northern Finland, where a daytime temperature of minus 22 C meant that conditions were perfect to assess its all-weather ability as much as its performance.

Chief among its attractions is a charismatic five-cylinder turbocharged engine, now delivering 367bhp and 343lb ft of torque to the tarmac (or ice, depending on location) via Audi’s quattro permanent four-wheel drive system.

It’s essentially the same engine as that used in the previous RS3, but reworked for greater power and torque. This was achieved with a higher turbo boost pressure, more efficient inlet charge cooling and an entirely new exhaust system with less back pressure (although it gains sound flaps to boost the five-cylinder engine’s characterful warble).

Fans of this unique engine can rest assured that it will be around for a good while yet, as Audi has made it comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations. The wise money is on its appearance in an RS version of the latest TT – the standard TT is such an accomplished car that it’s crying out for a high-performance version. I can’t wait, and I know I’m not alone.

The all-wheel drive has become an Audi staple – introduced in 1980 in the company’s rally cars (along with a five-cylinder engine), it has since become a tool for all-weather traction and stability as much as a means of going faster. It features an electronically controlled, hydraulically activated clutch in unit with the rear differential, which as well as constantly varying the drive to the rear wheels aids the car’s weight distribution.

The RS3 has custom software controlling its operation, the better to react to changing levels of grip. Otherwise, the hardware is the same as that used in the lesser S3, with its four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

Audi says that the set-up can direct up to 100 per cent of the engine’s prodigious torque to the rear wheels, but in practice this will rarely (if ever) happen because the system is constantly juggling torque front to rear for maximum traction. At least 50 per cent of the drive is directed to the rear, however.

Tobias Klatt, the technical project manager for the RS3, says that there was also a lot of work that you can’t see. Because of the five-cylinder engine, his team at quattro GmbH had to relocate the battery to the boot. Although this meant having to fiddle with the electrical system, true to form this committed bunch of engineers cited an advantage in that the move further improves the weight distribution.

Because the RS3’s platform is much stiffer than the previous version’s they were able to soften the suspension to provide a more compliant ride without sacrificing cornering ability.

As ever with RS-badged products, the car looks quite discreet, almost to the point of obscurity. However, those who buy into the badge tend to be confident that they don’t have to shout about their choice.

The interior features a lovely suede and leather, flat-bottomed steering wheel and RS-branded leather sports seats that lifts the usual Audi interior quality to another level.

Due to the nature of the weather it was impossible to get a full impression of the RS3, but an icy surface covered in a dusting of snow enabled us to gauge the car’s potential. On a treacherous circle, polished smooth in parts, it was possible to assess the agility and rapid turn-in. With the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) in Sport mode, the system diverts more power to the back wheels and it starts to drift wide, as would a rear-wheel-drive car. Then, when powering out of the corner, progressively more power is diverted to the front axle to haul it straight.

Such is the efficiency that we were unable to perform full-circle power slides, as the system recognises that the back is trying to overtake the front and brings it all into line. Fun, but safe, in other words.

It also serves as a reminder that everyone should have a session on a skidpan or low-grip surface.

On a similarly slippery handling circuit, with the ESC switched on the RS3 was extremely safe but very dull. Switching to Sport once again makes it far more entertaining, more responsive to steering and throttle inputs while still discreetly working away in the background to help keep you out of trouble.

The engine’s low-rev torque is particularly impressive, meaning that in low-grip situations you can use higher gears and still maintain rapid progress.

Much of the RS3’s ability on ice is down to its tyres. Audi is offering bespoke winter tyres for the RS3, and these were fitted to the cars we drove.

Stephan Reil, the technical director of quattro GmbH, explained that most of the winter testing for this model involved working closely with tyre suppliers, together with setting ESC, ABS and steering parameters. The early high-performance winter tyres were good for high speeds but not so good on grip, he said, but improvements to tyre compounds in particular have made them as good as any other winter tyre.

I could have sworn that the cars we were driving had studded tyres, the grip was that impressive. Minus 22 C, remember.

We’ll have to wait for a full road test to come up with a definitive verdict, but on first acquaintance – in treacherous conditions – we’ve seen enough to know that the latest RS3 will be one hell of a road car.


Audi RS3 Tested: 2,480cc five-cylinder petrol engine, seven-speed double-clutch S-tronic gearbox, permanent four-wheel drive

Price/on sale: From about £40,000/to order in March for delivery in the summer

Power/torque: 367bhp @ 5,550-6,800rpm/343lb ft @ 1,625-5,500rpm

Top speed: 155mph (electronically limited, but can be modified to 174mph on request)

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 4.3sec

Fuel economy: 34.9mpg (EU Combined) (yeh, right.... 45bvtc comment!)

CO2 emissions: 189g/km

VED band: J (£485 first year, £285 thereafter)

Verdict: Discreet, highly capable performance car that retains all the practicality of the standard A3 Sportback

Telegraph rating: Four out of five stars"


The Older I Get The Better I Was
Gold Supporter
I've been hugely fortunate to drive lots of (supposedly wonderful) cars over many years and every time my measure has been all-weather road-use and balance.

I'm not into track-use with a road car; if I want a track car I'll buy a track car.

As a road-car I find the RS3 unbeatable, a fabulous BUT discrete everyday piece of machinery.

Ok, I'd have an RS7 this afternoon if it would fit the garage, but it won't.

Thanks to "Princess" and "Stoke Audi" some of us again had the fabulous opportunity to evaluate on public roads (sorry Ben, I'm an OAP and I had warned you......) new Audi cars and I tried the RS5 convertible with it's wait for it, wait for it, naturally aspirated 4.2 litre engine to kick-in; and then the new TT - let's not noisily go there - and then the SQ5 which is a 'mega' road-tool - that I could well end up with, one day...................

But the drive home in my/an RS3 gave and ear-to-ear grinnnnnn!

If I got speed camerad on the way home I want the photo:

MY dentist wants the bl**dy photo....


Registered User
I've read a couple of these reviews on the Gen2 cars with the same glaring mistake that shows the journalists know f,all about the original version so I discount their comments. THE BATTERY IS IN THE BOOT OF MY CAR SO THATS HARDLY A FEATURE OF THE NEW CAR IS IT!!!!!

They banter on about better weight distribution due to this so therefore my car is the same.


THey might be good journalists but they clearly show they know ****** all about cars and driving. It is clear this review was based on the comments he got from the journo pack delivers to him by Audi..