Conor Mills | Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

News: Audi RS3 on the road!

Posted by Admin On April - 28 - 2010

Spies snare storming new flagship A3 testing at Nürburgring, Aggressive nose, big alloys set sizzling hatch apart.

The potent Audi RS badge has been shrunk! For the first time since its launch in 1993, the A3 is finally being given the full RennSport treatment – as these exclusive spy shots show.

The prototype was spotted testing at Germany’s Nürburgring race circuit, and is disguised with the body of an S3 Sportback. But giving the game away are the rear wheels – borrowed from the RS6 – and a front bumper with gaping air intakes, similar to that on the A3 TDI Clubsport Concept, revealed in 2008.

Yet the real transformation takes place underneath the bright orange bodywork. The RS3 has been developed by Audi’s Quattro performance arm, and will be powered by the 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine found in the TT RS.

This delivers 335bhp and 450Nm of torque – exactly the same as the hot M-badged 1-Series Coupé being readied by BMW (see below) – to all four wheels through Audi’s S tronic twin-clutch transmission. As a result, engineers are promising class-leading handling.

Acceleration will be equally impressive, with an anticipated 0-62mph sprint time of less than five seconds putting the fiery hatch in contention with the Ford Focus RS and VW Golf R.

New technology likely to be offered on the RS3 includes the option of Audi’s torque vectoring sport rear differential, which keeps understeer to a minimum. As with the larger RS5, the model is expected to be available with the new Quattro centre differential, which shifts up to 85 per cent of power to the rear wheels. Magnetic ride adjustable dampers will also be on the options list.

As in the TT RS, there will be a Sport button which sharpens throttle response, firms up the steering, stiffens the dampers and gives a louder exhaust note.

Plus, the car will be equipped with Recaro RS bucket seats, a sports steering wheel and pedals, as well as the RS Driver Information System. The latter incorporates a boost gauge for the turbo and a lap timer. From the outside, there will be plenty to mark the RS3 out from lesser versions of the A3.

Along with special 18-inch alloys, it gets a more aggressive bodykit – this comprises flared wheelarches, a large rear spoiler and a deep front bumper.

With BMW’s flagship 1-Series not scheduled to debut until early 2011, Audi should win the race to dealer forecourts. The RS3 is expected to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October, before going on sale in the UK at the end of the year, priced from around £38,000.

Original publication: Auto Express

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