Audi unveiled second generation 2022 Audi RS3 on Monday, a car with a 5-cylinder engine that provides 401 horsepower and has a mode especially for drifting, together with all kinds of bells and whistles for track use. This track ready, gas combustion, Audi hot hatch certainly feels like it could be among the last of its kind.
Audis press release may just as well be from earlier days when car manufacturers competed fiercely with each other on performance petrol cars. It’s the number of horsepower, it’s the time zero to 62 km / h (3.8 seconds), it’s top track speed (up to 180 km / h depending on trim), it’s a flap system on the exhaust to modulate the RS3 sound , and it’s one PTU type rear diff, which changes the amount of power sent to each rear wheel to maximize grip, allowing for operating mode. Semi-smooth tires are a factory option, and an engine and gearbox configuration designed specifically for them. By the way, the gearbox is a seven-speed dual-clutch.
Round times, zero to 62 km / h times, quarter mile times and g-force are displayed in the virtual cockpit. When driving in manual mode, there is a green-to-yellow-to-red indicator that tells you when the optimal time is to shift. There is comfort and efficiency mode in addition to automatic, RS Torque Rear (for drifting), dynamic and RS Individual, but let’s be serious, comfort and efficiency are not the point here.
Has Audi also thought possible too much on suspension and steering? It certainly has!
Standard sports suspension RS has newly developed shock absorbers and a valve system that are both specific for RS 3. The valves ensure that the shock absorbers have a particularly sensitive response as part of the rebound and compression properties. This allows the suspension to respond to the current driving situation even faster and more efficiently. RS sports suspension plus with adaptive damper control is available as an option. It continuously and individually adjusts each shock absorber to the road conditions, driving situation and mode selected in the Audi drive select. The three characteristic curves are comfortable, balanced and sporty which helps to give a clearly noticeable spread of the shock absorber properties.
The larger wheel chamber, ie the wheels are angled more towards the road, provides a more precise steering response and increased turning force. Compared to the Audi A3, the wheels on the front axle of the new RS 3 have just under a degree of extra negative camber. To achieve this, the swing bearings were modified, and the lower bottom legs were equipped with stiffer bearings, subframes and stabilizers.
A rear axle has a four-coupling design with a separate spring / damper arrangement, subframe and tubular stabilizer bar. The wheel carriers, which are stiffer than the Audi A3 and S3, help absorb the increased lateral forces generated by the torque divider. 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 the steering more direct. It also helps based on speed and can be varied via Audi drive select. The setup of springs and shock absorbers is markedly rigid, and the body is ten millimeters lower than on the S3 and 25 millimeters lower than on the A3.
For the steering wheel itself, Europeans have three choices: one with a 12 o’clock stripe, one that does not have a 12 o’clock stripe, and one that works with what must be an optional driver assistance system to detect the presence of a hand. You can expect this car to start at around $ 60,000, although Audi has not announced prices for the US yet. Deliveries are scheduled to begin early next year, and while Europe will have both the sedan and hatchback versions, only the sedan will be sold in the United States. Audi also said that apart from horsepower, the specifications for the US RS3 may be a little different, but I do not expect any radical changes.
We can just as well enjoy these cars while they last, as the fourth-generation A3 – RS3’s sibling car, introduced in 2020, but not coming here until next year – is also non-hybrid, petrol-powered. The next generation of both cars will undoubtedly not continue like this.