Audi Launches The RS 3 Sportback

BY Burnpavement

Small, practical and fast. Sounds like the perfect family car!

As the cars roared around the Sepang Circuit during the 2011 Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race, Audi launched the latest addition to the Audi RS stable. It has some serious numbers to shout about: 340 hp, 450 Nm of torque, 7-speed S tronic and quattro all-wheel drive. Add all of these to a relatively light 1,575 kg body and you'll have some serious performance figures.

The RS 3 Sportback differs from its S3 cousin with flared front fenders made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), prominent sill panels, exterior-mirror casings in matt aluminium look and a large roof spoiler. A high-gloss black diffuser insert and two elliptical exhaust tailpipes on the left accentuate the styling at the rear.

Under the hood beats a 2.5-litre TFSI heart that delivers (we repeat) 340 hp and 450 Nm of wide-band torques. The transversely mounted five-cylinder engine is fitted with a large turbocharger - good for up to 1.2 bars of boost.

The power is shifted through a seven-speed S tronic box with a very tall seventh gear to reduce fuel consumption for road cruising. If you don't fancy a cruise, the gearbox offers two automatic modes and one manual mode. One has a choice for shifting in manual mode: Shift paddles on the steering wheel or the gear lever itself. And to really get away quickly, a launch control system will handle the turbo-boosted power with minimal tire slip.

Power is sent to all four wheels with Audi's signature quattro permanent all-wheel drive system which can vary control the power balance with an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch, mounted at the end of the propeller shafts. Whenever slip occurs at one of the axles, the system can direct power to the wheels with grip in a matter of a few milliseconds, thanks to a powerful accumulator.

As a result, the RS3 Sportback dashes from 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds and onwards to a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Without being rushed, this car can still return 10.9km/l if you are gentle on the accelerator. This efficiency is due in large part to a delivery-on-demand oil pump and a regenerative system used when slowing down.

Of course, for that special moment when one finds a quiet stretch of road and presses the sport button, a sound flap in the exhaust flicks open and intensifies the sound even further. The same button also sharpens up the engine response. Brake duties are handled by a ventilated discs with four-piston calipers in the front.

Keeping the RS3 hugging the bends are a wider track, a sport steering rack, coil springs and redesigned shock absorbers. The new range-topping model in the A3 series boasts 19-inch cast aluminium wheels fitted with fatter tyres at the front than the rear. The wheels come standard with the titanium-look, but they are optionally available in black with a red rim flange.

Inside the new car is entirely black, but it does sport a few RS 3 logos. The sports seats are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching. The interior inserts can be had in Piano finish black or the new Aluminium Race look. More sporty details: The flat-bottomed leather multifunction steering wheel and specially designed selector levers and instruments. The driver information system can display the boost pressure and oil temperature as well as a lap timer.

The RS 3 Sportback comes with an array of standard equipment including the rear parking assist system, climate control, radio symphony, and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights. Audi does offer several optional features: Front bucket seats, styling packages in black or matte aluminium as well as customised paint finishes

The Audi RS 3 Sportback is now available in Singapore at S$259,888, inclusive of COE.