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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Video: An 800HP RS3 May Be the Perfect Audi

An 800HP RS3 May Be the Perfect Audi

With so much power on tap, even quattro has a hard time controlling wheelspin.

At first glance, it’s the quintessential Audi. It’s got quattro all-wheel drive. It’s got a turbocharged five-cylinder engine. Heck, it’s even finished in Nardo Grey. This RS3 is about as perfect as it gets – it’s handsome and understated, while offering all-weather performance in a comfortable, luxurious package.

Below the surface, though, things get even better. As YouTuber ThatDudeinBlue demonstrates, this Audi RS3 has more than enough power to embarrass significantly more exotic hardware. Thanks to that inline five-cylinder engine, it sounds great doing it, too.

An 800HP RS3 May Be the Perfect Audi

This RS3 was modified by Eurofed Automotive with an IMS850S upgrade kit from Iroz Motorsport. At the heart of that kit, you’ll find a massive XonaRotor 8264S turbocharger. With supporting modifications, this setup is good for over 800 horsepower, delivered to all four wheels through the magic of quattro all-wheel drive.

Big Power in a Small Package

Keep in mind that that kind of horsepower lives in one of Audi’s smallest cars. A stock RS3 weighs in at just under 3,600 pounds. That’s certainly no lightweight, but it’s far from the heaviest performance machine in Audi’s lineup. For comparison, it’s about 300 to 400 lbs. lighter than an RS4, give or take.

An 800HP RS3 May Be the Perfect Audi

As we can see in the video, this much horsepower is nothing short of brain-melting, even from where we’re sitting. That’s especially true given the sort of hard launches on display. The only two things in this world that launch that hard are all-wheel drive sports cars and the space shuttle.

With the amount of thrust this turbocharged five-cylinder engine is capable of, it might as well be the space shuttle. Regardless of its prodigious power output, though, it still looks stealthy and largely stock.

Call us biased, but to our eyes, Audi sedans – especially the S and RS models – are among the most handsomely-styled machines you can buy. Why mess with perfection?

Speaking of perfection, let’s talk about that sound. There is simply nothing else in the world that sounds like an Audi five-cylinder engine. This RS3 sounds so good, that we’d still be showering it with praise if it made half the horsepower it does now. It’s just that good.

Go ahead and call us fanboys. We won’t mind. Your browser is, after all, pointed to a website called AudiWorld. With that said, it’s vindicating to see ThatDudeinBlue – a YouTuber best known for his Mustang videos – fall head over heels for, as he calls it, “the most Audi Audi that you can buy right now.”

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Family Squabbles: RS 3 vs RS 5 vs RS 6 Avant!

Audi RS 3 vs Audi RS 6 vs Audi RS 5

What was to have been a three-way drag and roll battle between RS trio goes astray when supposedly detuned RS 6 Avant arrives tuned to 11.

Which Audi RS is Best Audi RS? It’s a question that’s hard to answer. After all, some are happy with the RS 3’s small size and performance. Others, meanwhile, might need the room an RS 6 Avant or RS Q8 offer to go with the performance. Even the midsize RS 5 and RS 7 Sportback bring their own reasons for existing to the performance table. It’s truly hard to choose the overall best from the best.

YouTuber Sam CarLegion recently attempted to answer that question in a three-way battle between the RS 3, the RS 5, and the RS 6 Avant. However, the biggest of the bunch brought a shotgun when it was supposed to bring a knife to the fight.

Audi RS 3 vs Audi RS 6 vs Audi RS 5

“This one is quite interesting,” said Sam. “It’s a bit scary, too, because I haven’t done that many high-performance cars […] I kind of have an idea of who is going to win this, but I might be wrong, because I’ve been wrong before. We’re just here to have fun, but we also find out how these things are against each other.”

Sam’s bet, of course, is on the RS 6 Avant. After all, it packs 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque to the corners. However, you might’ve noticed the BHP stat on the Audi reading as “unknown.” That’s because the white whale had a tune, one that was supposed to be flashed back to OEM prior to the meeting.

About that…

Audi RS 3 vs Audi RS 6 vs Audi RS 5

“The reason the RS 6 is that fast is because it’s tuned,” Sam writes above. “I was told that the car would be returned to stock engine for this video, but it evidently wasn’t.”

In response to a comment, Sam says he didn’t know it was still tuned until the end of the day. Thus, the real battle was between the RS 3 and RS 5 Sportback. In normal mode, the lighter RS 3 pulls away on the first and second runs. Once Sam learns how to make the most of the RS 5, though, he takes the third run in full sport mode. The fourth drag and single roll runs, however, belong to the RS 3.

Audi RS 3 vs Audi RS 6 vs Audi RS 5

“Looking at the video and all that, I think the RS 6 is definitely tuned,” said Sam. “It makes a lot more horsepower than these two, which technically doesn’t make it a fair video. I wasted my money and my time […] people weren’t honest with me.”

We’d love to see this battle again, but this time with an honest RS 6 Avant owner. That guy didn’t need to flex so hard, after all; his rig would’ve been enough without the tune installed.

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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.

Aside from her contributions to Audi World, Aubernon can be found all through the IB Auto Group family, including 6 Speed Online, LS1Tech, and Team Speed. She also has her own independent automotive blog, Aubernon Highway.

Aubernon can be reached through her public Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. She is wary of those she doesn’t already know, though; thus, she may not respond to messages sent.

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

Salvage RS 3 vs Showroom S3 Duel Upon the Runway of Time

Audi RS 3 vs Audi S3

One packs a turbo-five and a salvage title. The other runs a turbo-four and a factory warranty. Both RS 3 and S3 put on a good show.

Here in the United States, the only S3 available to us is the sedan. Which is fine. However, the sedan’s trunk doesn’t offer the same utility as the hatchback on sale over in Europe. Throw on the power of its 2.0-liter turbo-four, and the only challenger to its throne is the hottest Audi hatch, the RS 3.

Even one nearly a decade older. Carwow‘s Mat Watson recently pitted a brand new S3 against a salvage 2012 RS 3 rebuilt by YouTube channel Saving Salvage. Though Audi fans come out on top of this intra-familial battle, let’s see if older or newer is better.

Audi RS 3 vs Audi S3

“What will happen in a drag race between the new Audi S3 and the old RS 3?” asks Watson. “We’re gonna find out by racing them over the standing quarter-mile.”

The new S3’s turbo-four delivers 310 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque to the corners via a seven-speed auto and the quattro system. The older RS 3, meanwhile, packs a turbo-five with 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Both weigh exactly 3,472 pounds, and both were priced about the same in their respective time periods. However, the S3’s engine sounds muted through its exhaust, while the RS 3 sounds more alive. A sign of what’s to come?

Audi RS 3 vs Audi S3

“Back in the day, cars sounded better,” said Watson of the RS 3. “Especially five-cylinder units, like in that car. It’s one win to that. Let’s see what happens in the drag race. Hopefully, I can restore some faith in modern cars.”

Nope. On the first go, Watson fluffs the gear change, allowing the RS 3 to soundly beat its younger S3 self. However, he returns the favor on the second run, just by moving off the muddy bits at the line. The final run saw both cross the finish in 12.7 seconds, though the older RS 3 beat the new S3 by a nose.

Audi RS 3 vs Audi S3

Next up: the rolls. The RS 3’s turbo-five pulls away to take the first win while the S3 was in comfort mode. The S3 wins the second roll after the RS 3’s gear changes didn’t work in the older car’s favor. The third and final roll is all RS 3, though, thanks to that turbo-five.

However, the final win would go to the S5. On the emergency stop, the newer Audi stopped in less distance than the older RS 3. As Watson says, “new car brakes better than the old.”

2012 Audi RS 3

“[The RS 3] was written off, and has been rebuilt,” said Watson. “And some of the horses may have escaped in that process, who knows. Whereas this [S3] is brand new.”

While the new S3 stops better, the RS 3’s extra cylinder means it can keep up, if not surpass the new machine. Time marches on, indeed.

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

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.

Aside from her contributions to Audi World, Aubernon can be found all through the IB Auto Group family, including 6 Speed Online, LS1Tech, and Team Speed. She also has her own independent automotive blog, Aubernon Highway.

Aubernon can be reached through her public Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. She is wary of those she doesn’t already know, though; thus, she may not respond to messages sent.

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