2023 Audi RS3 with its 5-cylinder turbocharged unit makes a glorious sound. Oftentimes a turbocharged car doesn’t offer a thrilling sound as the turbo muffles the exhaust. But that is not the case with the RS3.
Sound is subjective but speed is objective. And in the speed department the RS3 is also a strong performer. But is it strong enough to take on a legitimate supercar? And is it really that much faster than the less expensive Audi S3? And what about when you throw a highly modified 1991 Audi 200 Quattro in the mix? Where does the RS3 rank in this oddball mix of cars? Jason Cammisa breaks this down in a video posted to the Hagerty YouTube channel. For good measure the video compares the Porsche Carrera GT with the Lexus LFA as well. Let’s consider that a bonus but focus on the Audi models for now.
Unassuming 1991 Audi 200 features four tune maps, third of which sends the sedan flying with 640 ponies through stock transmission.
The third-gen Audi 100/200/5000 arrived with smoother, more aerodynamic styling to the three-box design, accented by pin-mounted windows. The result? A drag co-efficient of 0.30 on the base model alone. Thus, the Audi could slip past the gas stations for a while longer. And, once the 2.2-liter, 20-valve turbo-five arrived at the end of the Eighties, it could also slip by the competition.
“We’re just about go dyno my Mk 7 Golf,” said Swords, “which is going to Stage 2. And while we’re waiting, [Nick Mercadante is] like, ‘Let me see if I can find something for us to play with. So, he pulls out this.”
As 034Motorsport’s marketing director says, the Audi 200 features a 2.2-liter turbo-five which the owner may have bored out to an unknown displacement. Mercandante says it also sends at least under 640 wheel horsepower on “the higher file maps” to (thankfully) all four corners. But that’s not even its final form.
“So, that’s Map 1,” said Mercandante. “That’s lowest of boost, right around 28 pounds, I think. [The owner] has it wired through this switch right here. When I turn around, I’ll flip her up two maps above to Map 3.”
He says the Audi has four total maps, the third of which contains the aforementioned 640 ponies in the corral. However, the fourth map is where every bit of sanity is decimated in a blaze of turbocharged glory. Though un-dyno’d at the moment, he believes the 35 pounds of boost can take the sedan into the 700-horsepower range. And all on the stock manual transmission and shifter, too. As Swords says, the whole affair “was terrifying.”
“I like fast cars,” said Swords. “I have no issue with going fast in cars. That is insane. That might be one of the fastest-feeling cars I’ve ever been in […] I’m gonna go for a lie-down and change my underwear.”
Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.
Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.
From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.
Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.