Audi's 2022 RS 3 will get more torque and quicker acceleration, but it's at the back that things get really interesting. A new RS torque splitter rear differential can send nearly all of the car's power to just one rear wheel to do things like tighten the cornering radius in a high-speed bend or give you armfuls of opposite lock drifting on demand.
RS fans rest easy, the 2.5L five-cylinder with its wonderfully unique exhaust note returns. 401 hp is on tap, up from 394 in the previous car, while torque increases by 15 lb-ft to 369 lb-ft. Of more importance than the figure is the new power band, with all of that torque available from 2,250 rpm all the way to 5,600. Maximum power starts at 5,600 rpm and is delivered all the way to 7,000 rpm, and that cuts the 0-100 km/h time from 4.1 to 3.8 seconds. It should also have a big impact on acceleration and feel during in-gear passing and acceleration.
This will be the first Audi with the torque splitter rear diff. It uses two separate multi-disc clutch packs on the rear axle to engage and disengage the rear driveshafts. It can vary torque to each rear wheel almost infinitely to improve agility and to offer that closed-course drift mode.
New shock absorbers come with RS 3-specific valving Audi says offers a more sensitive and thus faster response. The body is lowered 10 mm compared to the S3 for a lower centre of gravity. RS Sport suspension with adaptive dampers is available, continuously adjusting the car and offering multiple dynamic modes, while a new dynamics controller computer is said to work more quickly and with more precision.
Audi has increased the negative front camber for better steering response and to use more of the tire in corners. The extra degree comes from modified bearings and stiffened lower wishbones. The wheel carriers are also stiffer than the standard A and S3.
Six-pot brakes are standard, and Audi offers a ceramic front brake system as an option. They're larger than the previous RS 3 offered and have better air control for improved cooling. Audi says pad wear is reduced as well.
The bodywork is typical Audi, widening the single-frame grille and adding more aggression through a new honeycomb mesh and larger air intakes. LED front and rear lights are standard with a chequered-flag LED accent in the left headlight on the optional Matrix lamps.
Audi has added a new air outlet behind the widened front arches that hold the new optional Pirelli semi-slick tires. An RS rear bumper and diffuser with two large oval pipes complete the look, which can be highlighted in two RS exclusive colours.
The cabin showcases a new 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit plus display with a bar-graph tachometer and power and torque meters. A new RS runway design can be selected instead that gives you a different spin on the figures. G-force gauges and performance timers are also offered, and in manual mode, Audi flashes up a large yellow to red shift light transition.
An RS Monitor screen on the 10.1-inch infotainment system gives you coolant, engine, and transmission temperatures as well as tire pressures for easy monitoring on track. If that's not enough, a head-up display projects that data onto the glass for the first time.
RS Sports seats get the usual RS embossing and honeycomb stitching with black or red stitching. Green contrast stitch is offered for the first time. Other highlights include special floor mats and seatbelts.
The Audi RS 3 sedan will be available to order starting next month for Europe, with deliveries starting this fall. We're still waiting for Canadian pricing and availability.