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Audi RS3 Sportback: Driving report!

Audi RS3 Sportback

Great driving report and awesome photos here of the Audi RS3 Sportback.

Word on the current A3 is that the United States will soldier on with the current car longer than Europe. In fact, sources suggest Americans won’t see the new A3 (expected to be revealed this year) until the 2013 model year. That’s a long wait and word is that Audi is evaluating the idea of bringing in the RS 3 as a way to keep up (pardon the pun) momentum in the current car. It seems the loss of those eagerly awaiting the new car may be a gain for Audi performance nutters wishing we had the 5-cylinder 5-door on this side of the pond.

For those who’ve missed the briefing, the RS 3 takes the venerable A3/S3 quattro platform and adds to it the vaunted turbocharged 5-cylinder engine sporting 335 bhp and 7-speed S-tronic drivetrain of the TT RS. The RS 3 skips the added design flare (and cost) of alloy box-flare fenders like the RS 6 and RS 5 though does get RS-specific kit like a angry front fascia, rear valance and some interior bits. More subtle but very effective are wider front fenders made of carbon fiber in order to shed weight and to accommodate a 22mm wider track. No bodywork change was needed at the rear, which simply has a more aggressive offset to achieve the wider stance. Tires also get a front bias, 10mm wider at the front, perhaps to better make use of the RS 3’s Haldex system that drives solely the front wheels until it senses slip.

And while kit is nice and all, the real story here is aboot the engine. As if adding a five-pot turbo and the mean growl that go with it wasn’t enough for Audi lifers the heady power figures are likely to win over nearly anyone with any taste for performance or sense of reality. In RS 3 guise this 2.5-liter turbocharged FSI engine throws down 335 bhp between 5400-6400 rpm and 332 lb-ft between 1600-5300 rpm.