Audi RS3 Evaluate 2022 | High Gear

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That is the third technology of Audi’s RS3 megahatch, and the second-generation of the saloon variant (which by the way holds the Nürburgring document for compact vehicles, if that floats your boat). The identical basic elements which contain the wonderful use of a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine driving via quattro all-wheel drive. At first, it appears to be like like a little bit of a therapeutic massage – no extra energy (394bhp), barely extra torque (369lb ft) – with each extra accessible than earlier than, however that is likely to be to promote the brand new model considerably quick, so extra on that in a minute. There are greater intakes, wider tracks and impressively boxy arches. The automobile itself is marginally longer, wider and taller than the earlier RS3 Sportback, however with the identical wheelbase, and comes geared up with much less baggage house (by about 50-litres).

The large information is among the different modifications that basically make a distinction. All vehicles within the UK get adaptive damping, plus what Audi calls the ‘RS torque splitter’ to distribute a most of fifty per cent of accessible torque between the 2 rear wheels. There are non-compulsory ceramic brakes (which save 10kg), an non-compulsory RS exhaust – commonplace on some fashions – and a brand new mVDC (car dynamics controller) which ought to enable for higher/quicker integration of the chassis methods. Oh, and configurable lights on some fashions (LEDs are commonplace) that may spell out ‘R… S… 3’ after which a chequered flag in 8-bit while you method the automobile. Nonetheless unsure whether or not that’s genius or totally appalling.

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Feels like there’s lots of stuff happening there?

And also you’d be proper. For instance, the Audi Drive Choose now options seven totally different settings (auto, consolation, dynamic, effectivity, RS particular person, RS efficiency and RS torque rear). After that, the ‘RS Particular person’ mode permits a triplet of changes to the drive system, suspension – the place ‘snug’ is a long-legged efficiency setting totally different to ‘consolation’ – steering, engine sound, and stability management intervention thresholds. And sure, whereas this presents a great deal of private fine-tuning, it’s additionally a bit annoying initially. Value persevering with although. Despite the fact that such positive tuning is a little bit of a faff, you possibly can arrange the related ‘particular person’ mode so that you just simply double-press the ‘RS’ button on the right-hand facet of the steering wheel to entry it (first press will get you the ‘RS Efficiency’ mode), and from then on in, it’s as you prefer it.

Do this, with the proper arrange, and the RS3 is deeply spectacular. The engine warbles away, grip is constant and powerful, physique management simply the best facet of telling you what’s happening with out leaning. However the very best bit is the damping, as a result of it makes all of the methods really feel remarkably pure – on a bumpy, unknown b-road, this may be the automobile to have. And we’d depend supercars in there, too. You don’t get knocked off line, the steering could be very correct – if not essentially the most conversational of methods – and nothing skips. If the tyres are involved with the ground, they’re working, and so they work laborious for the RS3. On very slick roads the automobile can really feel a bit bit too front-wheel drive if we’re being choosy – most likely the most secure choice, to be sincere – however when you begin to belief the automobile and provides it extra aggressive inputs, it turns into remarkably impartial. Weirdly, the Sportback hatch feels a bit keener on the twisty stuff, and the saloon a tad higher at excessive velocity stability, however that might be merely preconception – it’s the identical gear beneath.

The great factor is that the high-quality journey interprets when going slowly. Sure, the journey can nibble a bit at unhealthy surfaces, however you need to count on a minimum of a little bit of that from a automobile with such potential – in any other case it’s a pussycat, and you would completely have this as a each day driver with out compromising your spinal integrity.

Sounds fairly good…

It’s. However it’s not excellent. It’s not instantly intuitive, and you need to familiarise your self with the automobile to get the very best out of it. It additionally is definitely fairly quiet even with the non-compulsory RS exhaust system – you’d suppose Audi would discover a minimum of one mode the place the automobile was correctly foolish given all of the adjustment. And the exhausts will be seen hanging out behind these oval exhaust bumper trims. That’s an insurance coverage tweak – a nerf to the rear bumper received’t injury the exhaust – however nonetheless annoying.

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Our selection from the vary

Audi

RS 3 TFSI Quattro Vorsprung 5dr S Tronic

£57,250

What is the verdict?

The third technology of Audi’s five-cylinder megahatch – and the very best one but. Though you’ll have to spend a while getting the very best out of it

There’s an attention-grabbing factor happening right here, in that originally, the RS3 felt a bit bit far and wide. There’s a deeply spectacular automobile right here, buried beneath a landslide of information, adjustability, and the selection that it brings with it. Layers upon layers of individualisation, for each totally different floor, highway and want. And whereas it searches for perfection, what the RS3 does is put the onus on the driving force to choose the best mixture. However while you do, it’s good. A very good automobile on the proper of fallacious highway.

So is that this the very best megahatch available on the market? Properly, the principle competitors comes from the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, a similarly-speedy, similarly-priced 400-ish bhp AWD hatchback. However they’re truly fairly totally different. The place the Merc is indignant and pointy and laborious, the Audi is extra cultured, higher damped and far much less aggressive. It’s definitely not slower although – and particularly not on a bouncy b-road – that is most likely as quick an A to B level automobile down an unknown highway as you’re more likely to get in need of one thing with rally stickers and a ‘cage.

It’s not as visceral as one thing just like the Merc – regardless of being the identical energy and likewise AWD – however the truth that it feels prefer it’s extra in your facet makes it simply as fast. You’ll really feel such as you’re going quicker within the A45, however I doubt you may be. Greater than that although, the RS3 now feels prefer it’s beginning to get actually snug in its personal pores and skin; it’s a assured, worthwhile, succesful automobile, with a facet order of insanity not far off. Simply don’t spec it in Kyalami inexperienced.

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