Sounds Like a Riot: 675-HP Audi RS3 Sportback

Audi RS3 Sportback

This Audi RS3 Sportback is almost a sleeper. But that impression vanishes as soon as it’s fired up.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of technical info on the built of this brutal Audi RS3 Sportback. But if the proof, as they say, is in the pudding, then Auto TopNL’s video is as loaded with pudding as an indulgent grandmother’s fridge. Because what we do know about this red rocket is super impressive. First off, the turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder has been stoked to a whopping 675 horsepower and 590 lb-feet of torque, which is a significant bump from the 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque it left Ingolstadt with.

As you’d expect, that makes for some seriously impressive numbers. According to the clip, the trip from zero to 60 mph happens in a lightning quick 3.2 seconds, which is almost a full second faster than stock examples can manage. And while there’s a fat graphic on the doors, I think this baby is still something of a sleeper. Well, I guess it’s a sleeper until you fire it up. Because the machine gun-style symphony from the fat exhaust pipes makes it pretty clear that machine has been under the knife.

The top speed governor appears to have been given the old heave ho as well, because in the clip, we see indicated speeds of over 180 mph, which is slightly north of the 174 mph a stock RS3 is capable of. Given all the extra poke on board, I would have expected higher speeds? But the wind can be a cruel mistress, and it’s entirely possible that the driver just ran out of road here. Because even on the Autobahn, which is where most of the company’s videos are shot, it can be a challenge to find places to fully open up the taps.

As enthusiasts now, we don’t actually get the hatchback body style of the RS3 here in the United States. The good news is that domestic buyers can opt for the sedan version. Audi dropped all the details on the latest version back in July, and as we described at the time, it’s a triple threat of power, style, and practicality. The schedule says we should expect to see the 2022 Audi RS3 in showrooms come spring, but given the chip shortage and ongoing pandemic, it’s unclear whether Audi will still hit that target.

Photos: YouTube

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Former S3 IMSA Car Becomes 550-HP RS 3 Pikes Peak Climber

Audi RS 3 Pikes Peak

Piloted by Robb Holland, RS 3 dubbed “The Sledgehammer” brings 550 horses to reclaim front-wheel drive record at Pikes Peak.

Audi is no stranger to Colorado’s Pikes Peak. After the end of Group B rallying in the mid-Eighties, the ur-Quattro and Sport Quattro both took on the 12.42-mile climb into the clouds, smashing records and scoring trophies along the way. Audi even sent up a TTS with autonomous technology in 2010 to prove such tech could make the climb up and down the famous course in the first place.

In more recent times, Robb Holland wields an Audi of his own for Pikes Peak, an RS 3 dubbed “The Sledgehammer.” Hoonigan AutoFocus‘s Larry Chen spent some time at this year’s gathering to learn more about Holland’s Audi, and all that goes into taking it up the mountain.

Audi RS 3 Pikes Peak

“It was an S3,” said Holland. “Full all-wheel drive; that’s how it ran in IMSA. Then, we converted it to front-wheel drive because we set the front-wheel drive record in the TT RS, the one that we won the 25 Hours of Thunderhill with. Brought it here, set the record. Then, two years later, Acura brought their full factory effort, and took the record from us by six seconds.”

The conversion to front-wheel drive also turned the now-RS 3 into an Unlimited-class car. Though it is outclassed by everyone else in said class, Holland’s main goal is to take back the record from Acura. In 2020, they fell three seconds short, due to the bumps.

Audi RS 3 Pikes Peak

“Right now, this is the two-liter motor,” said Holland. “We’d love to run the 2.5-liter […] But for right now, we’ve developed this as a 550-horsepower– it works. It’s designed to work at Pikes Peak. It’s designed to work at altitude.”

To put all the power to the ground, Pirelli Supersofts handle the task at hand. Since it’s already cool in the mornings, though, tire warmers bring them up to a piping hot 200 degrees. That said, the higher the elevation, the harder it is to keep the tires warm. Thus, the softer compound.

Audi RS 3 Pikes Peak

“The guys at Bluewater Performance, who built this car […] they wanted a car that was closer to their customer cars,” said Holland, “as opposed to some one-off prototype or whatever. It’s worked out really, really well. It just goes to show how far you can push a street car, and the level of performance you can get out of it.”

Images: Larry Chen (screenshots by author)

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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.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.

2022 Audi RS 3 Snatches Nürburgring Class Record from Renault

2022 Audi RS 3

In the sport compact class, the red-hot 2022 Audi RS 3 is the new king of the Ring — and it wasn’t even close.

Given everything we’ve heard about the 2022 Audi RS 3, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to predict it was going to be quick. Now, we know just how quick Ingolstadt’s new pocket rocket is. Because back in June, factory hot shoe Frank Stippler laid down a blistering time of 7:40.748 minutes, and smashed the compact car record. That beat the previous record — set by Renault using a Mégane R.S. Trophy-R — by nearly five seconds, so smashed is hardly hyperbole.

For safety reasons, the RS 3 in question was fitted with a roll cage and racing seats, which likely made it slightly heavier than bone stock versions. But aside from those concessions to the dangerous beast that’s the Green Hell, the car was stock, down to the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slicks it was shod with for the lap. For track rats, they’ll be a must-have option, and according to Stippler, ensuring the proper pressures in the super-sticky rubber was key to the victory.

In the official press release, Technical Project Leader Marvin Schwätter didn’t specify exactly how tweaked the PSI was from the standard settings. For new owners headed to the circuit, that’d be a handy piece of info, so perhaps it’ll come out in the wash. Another key to the run was the trick torque splitter at the rear, which during corners, pipes twist to the outer wheels. This is the first time such a system has been employed on an Audi, and the distribution of power ensures both understeer and oversteer are kept in check.

According to Stippler, the multi-disc clutch system is “a quantum leap in terms of agile driving,” and given its success on the circuit, something we’re sure to see on future Audi models. Of course, other go-fast bits like adaptive dampers, ceramic brakes, and aggressive RS Performance modes were part of the package too, and help demonstrate just how potent the new RS 3 is when the gloves comes off. Watch the video below, and remember that buyers in the States aren’t left out of the fun. So stay tuned for info on when this record-beating sport compact will be available on our shores!

Photos: Audi

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The New Audi RS3: Specs and Gallery

2022 Audi RS 3

The new Audi RS 3 has been revealed — and it’s a triple threat of power, style and practicality.

Ingolstadt just dropped all the information on the new Audi RS 3, so hang on to your pants, because this baby sounds like a total blast. Power comes from Audi’s award-winning 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder, which pumps out a whopping 394 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque. While the ponies are unchanged, the updated unit makes 14 more lb-ft of twist than the outgoing version, and full thrust is available earlier in the rev range, at 5,600 rpm.

Power is piped to the company’s famous quattro system through a wicked-quick seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which means the new RS 3 will make the sprint to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. Keep your foot in the carpet, and standard models will pull all the way up to 155 mph. But there’s an optional package, which includes track-ready carbon ceramic brakes, which allows for an even higher maximum velocity. So if you need to hit 180 mph, make sure to check that box.

There’s also a trick new torque splitter in place of the old model’s rear differential, and in turns the fully variable system ensures that power goes to the wheel which needs it most. If you’re looking for some sideways fun, the new RS Torque Rear drive mode will allow drivers to pull off sweet drifts. The fastest lap times, however, will be achieved with the RS Performance mode, which is specifically calibrated to make use of all the grip the optional semi-slick tires will provide.

Of course, the greasy bits aren’t the only areas of the RS 3 that have gotten an update. Up front, there are new Matrix LED headlights, along with fender flares that are 1.3 inches wider. To feed more air to the engine, the intakes flaking the grille have been enlarged, and feature a cool honeycomb pattern. On the RS 3 sedan, which is the one that we’ll see here in the States, the roof will be painted Brilliant Black — which looks killer against the RS-specific Kyalami Green exterior finish.

Along the side of the car, there’s a now a vent behind the front wheel arch to help funnel heat away from the brakes, plus an RS-exclusive side rocker panel with a gloss-black inset. The wheels a five Y-spoke design, sized 265/30 in the front and 245/35 at the rear, and I think they look particularly sharp. Out back, a bumper with an integrated diffusor sits above the oval-shaped dual exhaust pipes, and a variable flap further back in the system means drivers will be treated to distinctly different sounds depending on which drive setting they choose.

Inside the cabin, a flat-bottom, Alcantara wheel with a 12 o’clock stripe communicates the sport potential of the RS 3 even before the ignition is turned on. That sexy tiller sits in front of Audi’s 12.3-inch virtual cockpit display, which includes readouts on factors like g-forces, lap times, acceleration from zero to 60 mph, and quarter-mile times. Along with black or red stitching, buyers now have a green option, which in my opinion is hottest one by a country mile.

At press time, no information on pricing is available. But European buyers will be able to order their new RS starting in late summer, and deliveries will start in the fall. No specific timetable for American customers has yet been announced. There’s sure to be loads more information about the new RS 3 released in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more pictures and video of Audi’s latest high-performance daily driver!

Photos: Audi

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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?
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