At next month's Geneva Motor Show, the Audi RS 3 Sportback will stage its comeback featuring the latest 400PS five-cylinder TFSI engine and a range of design and connectivity upgrades. The newest member of the new A3 range will become available to order in the summer and will arrive towards the end of the year.
“The Audi RS 3 Sportback offers our customers an attractive introduction to the RS world,” said Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH. “Since 2011 the sporty compact model has proved itself extremely successful on the market. And with the new five-cylinder engine, the Audi RS 3 Sportback is at the head of its class and continuing that strong track record.”
The new RS 3 Sportback features the worlds most powerful five-cylinder engine - the 2.5 TFSI. Although it is 26kg lighter than its predecessor, it still delivers 400PS, an increase of 33PS. The maximum torque of 480Nm is available from 1,700 rpm and remains available right through to 5,850 rpm. This wide tract of torque allows the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 62mph in just 4.1 seconds, the effect of which is heightened by the five-cylinder unit's unmistakable sound.
Dual injection into the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers allows for better mixture preparation while on the exhaust side the Audi valvelift system controls the duration of the valve opening depending on the throttle and engine speed. In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test the RS 3 Sportback returns 34.0mpg – a creditable figure considering its performance capabilities which equates to 189 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
The engine's output is channelled through an S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and quattro permanent all-wheel drive based on an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch which distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The share it allocates to the rear axle normally varies depending on speed and cornering forces, however it can be influenced by the driver using the Audi drive select system which features as standard. This system can also influence the response of the steering, transmission, engine management, adjustable exhaust flaps and optional RS sport suspension with adaptive damper control. Cornering is also enhanced by the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC) with wheel-selective torque control and the sport mode specially tuned for the RS.
On the outside, the flared front arches that link the RS 3 Sportback with the Eighties quattro coupe continues to lend just the right feeling of power and purpose to the latest model along with styling revisions based on the recent updates across the A3 range. A singleframe grilles with a gloss black honeycomb mesh is flanked by large air inlets and angular sill trims and is complemented by a redesigned blade in the bumper which makes the vehicle appear more broad-shouldered. LED headlights are available as standard with matrix LED headlights as an option. On the rear is an elongated RS roof edge spoiler, a diffuser insert and an RS exhaust system.
Inside the car, instrument dials sit either side of the drive information system which includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and lap timer. Alternatively,this can be replaced by the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit. 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 S tronic 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.
Sport seats in black fine Nappa leather with RS seatback emblems are available as standard, however seats with more contoured profiles and integrated head restraints for the driver an front passenger are available as options. The flat bottomed steering wheel features buttons for operating the infotainment system, however the main control element comes in the form of a rotary/push button control of the centre console. A touchpad can be integrated to allow 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 and a voice control can process user questions and commands formulated in everyday language.
Audi Smartphone Interface now comes as standard allowing users to access selected apps on their handsets via Apple Car play and Android Auto. The MMI connect app allows users to transfer their smartphone calendars to the MMI system or send destinations from Google maps and special destinations to the navigation system.
Other features include Audi phone box for wireless connection to the car's antenna and inductive charging is equipped as standard, a Bang & Olufsen sound system and driver assistance systems. Among these systems are traffic jam assist which keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front and can briefly take over the steering in slow-moving traffic, emergency assist which automatically stops the car if required and cross traffic assist rear which looks out for crossing vehicles when the driver is pulling out of a parking space.
The Audi RS 3 Sportback will open for ordering from the summer with deliveries expected towards the end of the year.