Audi's highly anticipated RS3 revealed as a 300kW drift-happy hatch
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After much anticipation, Audi has finally whipped the covers off its new RS3 Sportback and sedan models, and it looks like the pairing is everything that we had hoped they would be.
Despite tightening emissions standards around the world, it seems that Audi wanted to give its much-loved five-cylinder engine a (presumably) fitting send-off, and didn't add any hybrid tech, or extra power for that matter.
In terms of looks, this new RS3 isn't too different from the last, but everything seems to have a more chiselled look. At both ends are a pair of LED matrix lights, and the air intakes are a little bigger.
On the inside, it follows what we've come to expect from Audi's performance line, and there are a lot of Alcantara-covered surfaces. It also gets the questionably small gear selector that we first saw in the VW Golf 8.
In this new-generation RS3, the turbocharged 2.5-litre mill makes a hefty 299kW and 500Nm of torque. This power figure remains unchanged from the last gerenation, but it gets 20Nm extra.
As with all new Audi RS models, power is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch 'S-Tronic' transmission.
While it isn't as powerful as AMG's A45 hyper hatch with its 310kW, Audi claims that the RS3 will hit 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, making it faster than its German rival by just 0.1 seconds.
This makes it the quickest vehicle in the hot hatch segment, and it also features a top speed of 290km/h when fitted with the optional RS Dynamic package.
The biggest news on the performance front is arguably the fact that Audi has replaced the traditional differential on the rear axle with an RS Torque Splitter. This reportedly allows for much more control.
On top of reducing understeer and making the hot hatch faster around corners, this new unit allows for a 'drift mode', where 100 per cent of the power can be sent to the rear wheels.
In terms of suspension, this new RS3 sits around 10mm lower than the S3, and 25mm lower than the A3. In standard form, 375mm and 310mm brake rotors are fitted, but these can be changed to 380mm ceramic rotors at the front if customers want.
Local pricing and specification is yet to be announced by Audi New Zealand, but we can imagine that we'll be seeing this new RS3 land in the early months of 2022.