Audi Debuts RS Torque Splitter on 2022 RS 3 (& There’s Drift Mode!)

2022 Audi RS 3 Prototype

We still can’t show you the entire 2022 Audi RS 3, but know this: the third gen’s faster, more powerful, and a better driver’s car than ever before!

It’s been a few years since the RS 3’s last refresh, but the great news is that we are on the precipice of a third-generation RS 3 that once again features a turbo-charged 5-cylinder engine born out of Audi’s Rally Car heritage. And in that regard, I have good news and bad news. Unfortunately, Audi swore us to secrecy for another month until we can show you photos and videos of the new RS 3.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

All Audi RS 3 images are Euro-spec prototypes.

Fortunately, we CAN show you pictures of the 2022 Audi RS 3 porotype as well as share the exciting news about the 2022 RS 3’s driving dynamics, newly developed RS Torque Splitter, two RS 3-exclusive driving modes, and interesting power figure news. Also, if you’d like to read an interview with the engineer and driver to helped develop all of the technologies we’re discussing today, click HERE.

Let’s dive in!

2022 Audi RS 3 Power Figures & Performance

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Again, while we can’t share everything about the 2022 Audi RS 3, we do know a good deal about its power and performance capabilities. First, Audi is retaining the RS 3’s unique turbocharged five-cylinder engine with its 1-2-4-5-3 firing order. The bad news is that it’s not a major upgrade over previous generations, but there is a slight power bump. More specifically, Euro-spec models will see 400 PS and 500 Nm of torque. And here in the US, our SAE-rated power figure is 401 HP and around 369 lb.-ft. of torque.

For those keeping track, yes, that’s 20 Nm (14.75 lb-ft.) of torque than the previous generation with a wider 2,250 to 5,600 rpm powerband. Peak horsepower arrives at 5,600 to 7,000 rpm. And, yes, US-spec cars do have a little more horsepower than Eurospec cars, which almost makes up for the fact that we don’t get the sportback model here.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

These new peak power ratings and wider powerbands run through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission,  hustling. the new RS 3 to 100km (62mph) in 3.8-seconds. That’s 0.3 seconds faster than the previous gen. On the other end of the speed spectrum, Audi limits the RS 3’s top speed to 250 km/h (155 mph). But with the optional RS Dynamic package and ceramic brakes, top speed rises to 290 km/h (180 mph).

RS Torque Splitter

RS Torque Splitter

Despite building all the hype for the new RS, Audi seems more excited about their new RS Torque Splitter debuting in the 2022 RS 3. To oversimplify a lot of smart engineering, the RS Torque Splitter is a fully variable torque-vectoring rear differential that allows the RS 3’s sensors and computers to control the amount of torque each rear wheel receives.

As an example, if you’re roaring through a set of high-speed twisties, the RS Torque splitter will apply more torque to the rear outer wheel. But if you ran down a straight drag strip, torque would split evenly between both. Or place the RS 3 car in drift mode (more on this below), and the RS Torque Splitter will apply up to 1,750 Nm (2,014 lb.-ft.!) of torque to just one rear wheel.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Basically, Audi describes the new RS Torque Splitter as being able to improve lap times, smoke shows, and even safety by reducing understeer and improving vehicle agility. And we can’t wait to drive one in person to test it out!

RS 3 Exclusive Driving Modes

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Many things separate the RS 3 from its A3 and S3 siblings. The engine. Visual elements. Optional Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires and carbon-ceramic brakes. But key to the 2022 model is two new driving modes the RS Torque Splitter makes possible: RS Performance and RS Torque Rear.

The 2022 RS 3 boasts seven driving modes, actually. comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency, as well as RS Individual, RS Performance und RS Torque Rear. As you would expect, each mode tailors throttle response, suspension (if equipped with the optional adaptive suspension), steering feel, and several other factors to give each driver the exact feeling they want. 

RS Torque Splitter

RS Performance mode is the RS 3’s racetrack mode. Where previous RS 3s were prone to understeer, RS Performance mode provides absolute neutrality around high-speed corners. No understeer. No oversteer. Just pick your line, attack it, and accelerate earlier than ever before.

RS Torque Rear is the RS 3’s drift mode. And Audi PR folks were adamant that this mode ONLY be used in secure off-street locations. And Mexico. Because, as describe above, in RS Torque Rear, the RS Torque Splitter sends tons of power to one rear wheel. Which means oversteer on demand whenever you want it. #SmokeEmIfYouGotEm #WeNeedABiggerTireBudget

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Sorry, America, no Sportback for you!

And that’s about all we can share now, folks. Stay tuned for fuller 2022 RS 3 details in about a month!

Photos: Audi

What do YOU think of the 2022 RS 3 so far?
Let us know HERE in the AudiWorld forums!