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!

INTERVIEW: Audi Test Driver Dubs RS Torque Splitter ‘A Quantum Leap for Agile Driving’

RS Torque Splitter

Audi’s new RS Torque Splitter “gives the car lots of variations in combination with the driving modes and that elevates the driving dynamic to a higher level.”

We’re still a month or so out from seeing and learning every new detail about the 2022 Audi RS 3. But, while we wait, Audi was generous to brief AudiWorld about the turbocharged RS 3’s core new technologies — the RS Splitter and drive modes. You can read the full details HERE. But the quick version is that this new torque splitter changes the driving characteristics on demand, allow the RS 3 to drift or attack road courses without any sense of under or oversteer.

For this post, we wanted to share an interview with Audi racing and development driver Frank Stippler as well as Audi chassis engineer, Meic Diessner. In preparing for the third RS 3 generation, Audi engineers conducted two 8,000 km (~4,971 miles) test runs on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, using a combination of driver feedback and test data to tune the new system.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Mr. Diessner, Mr. Stippler, what was the process for you to work together on the development and tuning of the RS torque splitter?

Meic Diessner: Frank is incredibly important to us in this process. He has a lot of experience, especially on the Nürburgring. That makes feedback from him decisive for the tuning and especially for the torque splitter. I’m there on site for the tests and I also drive myself as part of the three-week continual run. I equip the vehicle with measuring technology and compare the data with the feedback we get from Frank so that we can make changes if needed.

Frank Stippler: In addition to my experience and my ability to drive cars fast, my training as an automobile mechanic and my degree in mechanical engineering also help, of course. This allows me to make sense of the feedback from the car immediately so I can pass it on to Meic. At the same time, he understands what I mean when I’m talking about the feedback the car is giving me on the track.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

What’s more important: the measurement data or the feedback from the development driver?

Meic Diessner: The data and the impressions from Frank are used equally in tuning the torque splitter. The feedback from a racing driver is very important because he is at the upper limits out on the racetrack. The measurement technology helps me to change certain parameters based on Frank’s descriptions. The one does not work without the other.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

What does the torque splitter feel like in the RS 3 prototype? And why was it put in?

Frank Stippler: In general, the car is much more agile in its driving from the middle of the curve to the end and also when accelerating out of the curve. All-wheel drive cars have great tracking stability, but they tend to understeer at the very upper limits. We were looking for a solution that would minimize that behavior. The torque splitter distributes more weight onto the rear axle. With it, the car develops a driving dynamic that oversteers. And that’s where the Audi drive select system comes in, which helps meter that tendency based on use, road conditions and individual preferences. We can get really fast in RS Performance mode, the mode for circuit driving that is designed especially for semi-slick tires. For me, the RS torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving.

RS Torque Splitter

How exactly did Frank Stippler’s findings flow into the tuning?

Meic Diessner: That is of course mostly during the two continual runs of 8,000 kilometers each on the Nürburgring. These extended test runs play an important role during development in practicability – and thus also the serial roll-out of the torque splitter.

Which parameters can still be changed during these tests?

Meic Diessner: In general, the software gets more and more complex during development. This has to be adapted for the available driving modes – from auto to RS Torque Rear, which allows controlled drifting on closed circuits. In practice, that means Frank drives, gives us feedback. We adjust and take turns driving – until it’s just right.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

When is it determined to have reached series-production readiness?

Frank Stippler: You develop a sense for that over time. I bring in my opinion, because I’m at the absolute upper limit with the car and have an idea of what customers want from this car. When Meic and I are on the same page after test drives, then that reinforces an overall picture that we have made of the characteristics of the torque splitter. And that has to be consistent for everyone involved in the development. The North Loop testing grounds are especially important in this process. The RS 3 prototype covers a broad spectrum that appeals to sporty drivers. Customers who don’t drive on the racetrack or only do so seldomly are also taken into consideration.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

How intelligent is the torque splitter?

Meic Diessner: It recognizes, for example, if the road is wet or dry. So the driver doesn’t have to change the mode. That means that the car automatically reacts differently in RS Performance mode it the road is wet than it would when it is dry. The driver also benefits from the variability of the
RS torque splitter all the way to the top speed. So they always have quattro drive when it is needed.

Why is it important in the vehicle tuning not just to be fast?

Frank Stippler: Because we want to understand how the hardware and electronics work together in any possible driving situation. In short, to have an eye on the overall technical image of the vehicle. It’s not about me or about tuning the car to be as fast as possible on the racetrack. To live up to the wishes of customers in terms of dynamics and driving comfort, it probably helps that I don’t just drive fast in a loop, but that I can also classify technical correlations.

RS Torque Splitter

What can Audi fans look forward to?

Frank Stippler: A car that covers a broad spectrum: comfortable in city driving and top speeds on the racetrack. A car that is one-of-a-kind in its class and makes hearts beat a little faster.

Meic Diessner: We’re talking about a well-made car with a five-cylinder motor and a great sound that will certainly give you goosebumps. On top of that, a sporty, balanced chassis with the torque splitter, which gives the car lots of variations in combination with the driving modes and that elevates the driving dynamic to a higher level.

2022 Audi RS 3 prototype

Stay tuned for more 2022 Audi RS 3 news and more right here at AudiWorld! And don’t forget to —

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