Audi’s 5-cylinder engine recently celebrated its 45th birthday and although this original architecture has been used by many brands (Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, Mercedes, Rover, SsangYong, Volvo, VW, etc.), Audi is its most enthusiastic advocate. The brand has established a reputation for its Quattro system, which has been matched from the very beginning by its exclusive 5-cylinder turbo engine, a technology that has been transferred to the RS3.
The new RS3 is now the only vehicle in the world - and probably the last in history - to be equipped with the five-cylinder turbo engine, which is appreciated for its smoothness and distinctive sound, evocative of the World Rally Championship stages of the 1980s. As a final gesture, Audi has given the RS3 a more aggressive look than usual.
The front end is very expressive, with an enormous gloss black grille surrounded by functional air intakes to cool the brakes and radiators. This is complemented by wider fenders with genuine air extractors behind the front wheels. This display of testosterone culminates in the rear bumper, which features two oval tailpipes typical of RS products. Objectively speaking, this latest version of the RS3 is probably the most visually appealing of its lineage.
A challenging temperament
The driving position is ideal and the cockpit, organised around a combination of digital touch screens and physical buttons for the most common functions, is beautifully finished. This is a nice touch compared to the latest VWs, which are introducing touchscreen controls.
While no major changes have been made to the engine, this is not the case with the Quattro transmission, which has a new drift function and highly effective launch control, as demonstrated by the incredible 0-100 km/h time. The controlled suspension provides safe and efficient handling, but the car is too heavy to be really exciting in sports driving. All in all, apart from its amazing acceleration and despite the seductive sound of its 5-cylinder engine, the new RS3 left us with a taste of ‘too little’ in normal driving conditions, and it really needs to be pushed hard to show some character. Might this be the consequences of the continual search for perfection?
Image source : ©Audi