Audi's new RS 3
23rd November, 2010
- Five-cylinder turbo delivering 250 kW and 450 Nm of torque
- Zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds
- Seven-speed S tronic, quattro drive and 19-inch wheels
Blazing performance, compact size ..... Audi has added a new model to its dynamic RS series: the
RS 3 Sportback. In the tradition of the brand, its engine boasts five cylinders and turbocharging
technology. From a displacement of 2.5 litres come 250 kW (340 hp) of power and 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft)
of torque, with an average fuel consumption of 9.1 litres of fuel per 100 km.
Power is transmitted to the road via a seven-speed S tronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Nineteen-inch wheels and mudguards made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the Audi
RS 3 Sportback’s position of distinction.
Power and sound: the engine
Each Audi RS model represents the pinnacle of its model line – the RS 3 Sportback, developed by
quattro GmbH, now brings this dynamic philosophy to the compact category. It rockets from a standstill
to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds – a performance figure unrivaled by the competition. Top speed
is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Even so the compact car, weighing in at only 1,575
kilogrammes (3,472.28 pounds), uses on average just 9.1 litres of fuel per 100 km and emits 212 g CO2
per km (341.18 g/mile). This efficiency is due in large part to a delivery-on-demand oil pump and a
regenerative system that recovers energy as the car decelerates.
The 2.5-litre engine in the RS 3 Sportback will thrill passengers thanks to its tremendous pulling
power and its voracious revving up to 6,800 rpm. The guttural roaring and growling, backed by the
signature rhythm of the five-cylinder firing order make up the classic Audi soundtrack. A sound flap
in the exhaust branch intensifies the sound even further. The flap is controlled via the standard
Sport button, which also varies the engine response.
Powerful five-cylinder engines have a long legacy at Audi. In the 1980s, racing cars and production
cars used them to edge out the competition. Even the first Audi RS model, the 1994 RS 2, had a
five-cylinder engine. The 2.5-litre unit, already part of the TT RS specifications, now redefines the
state of the art.
The 2.5 TFSI delivers 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc: a specific power output of
100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per litre. The maximum torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is readily available at the
low end of the rev range, around 1,600 rpm, and remains constant up to 5,300 revolutions. These general
parameters yield excellent acceleration and elasticity values.
Just 49 centimetres (19.29 inches) in length, the five-cylinder unit is ultra-compact, tipping the
scales at a mere 183 kilogrammes (403.45 pounds). The crankcase is made of vermicular-graphite cast
iron, a high-strength yet lightweight material. Audi is the first car maker to use this material in a
petrol engine. Perfectly placed reinforcements further enhance the block’s loadability. The
lightweight-design concept keeps the Audi RS 3 Sportback’s weight in check and pays off big in terms
of axle‑load distribution and, ultimately, handling.
The large turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure. The intercooler downstream achieves
an efficiency rate of over 80 per cent. Like all Audi petrol turbos, the 2.5 TFSI combines turbocharging
technology with FSI direct injection. The combination of these two technologies facilitates a high
compression ratio (10.0:1) along with a correspondingly high efficiency ratio. Flaps in the intake tract
mix the air as it flows in. The two camshafts, each adjustable by 42 degrees of crankshaft rotation,
also enhance the efficiency of the mixture formation.
Speed and grip: the drivetrain
The compact seven-speed S tronic transmits power from the five-cylinder engine via three shafts: one
drive shaft and two output shafts. Like all dual-clutch transmissions, it comprises two transmission
structures. The shifting process is extremely smooth, taking place in hundredths of a second as the
clutches switch, with no perceptible interruption of pulling power. Seventh gear is very tall – a measure
that reduces fuel consumption.
The driver can operate the seven-gear S tronic in two automatic modes and one manual mode. Gears are
shifted using the paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever. The launch control system manages
the sprint from a standstill, furnishing 'explosive' turbo power with minimal tyre slip.
Delivering power to the road with effortless ease, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive grants the RS
3 Sportback traction, dynamics, and stability. Its central component is an electronically controlled
multi-plate clutch, mounted at the end of the propeller shaft to achieve a favorable axle load
distribution. Located in its interior is a plate package bathed in oil.
Thanks to quattro, the propulsive power can be distributed to each axle as needed. Whenever slip occurs
at one of the axles, an electric pump intervenes at 'lightning' speed to increase the oil pressure. The
pump presses the clutch plates together in a continuous fashion, thereby permitting the torque to be
redirected accordingly. Thanks to a powerful accumulator, this process takes just a few milliseconds.
Dynamics and safety: the chassis
The stiff body lays the cornerstone for the RS 3 Sportback’s precise handling; the chassis is what
makes it happen. The four-link rear suspension – with a track measuring 1,528 millimetres (60.16 inches)
– is 'anchored' to a subframe and features high-strength-steel control arms that allow it to handle
longitudinal and lateral forces separately.
Widened to a 1,564-millimetre (61.57-inch) track, the front suspension is a McPherson strut
construction, also with a separate subframe. Key components of the construction are made of aluminium.
Thanks to its electromechanical drive, the rack-and-pinion steering is highly efficient, with a
sporty-direct gear ratio of 16.2:1.
Coil springs and redesigned shock absorbers provide the vertical support. The sports suspension lowers
the body of the RS 3 Sportback by 25 millimetres (0.98 inch) compared with the A3. The new range-topping
model in the A3 series boasts 19-inch cast aluminium wheels fitted with 235/35 series tyres at the front
and 225/35 at the rear. The wheels come standard with machine-polished titanium-look styling, but are
optionally available in black with a red rim flange.
The internally ventilated discs measure 370 millimetres (14.57 inches) in diameter at the front and 310
millimetres (12.20 inches) at the rear. The front friction rings are perforated for maximum heat
dissipation. They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminium brake disc covers, which are encircled by
four-piston fixed callipers painted a high-gloss black and bearing RS logos. The electronic stabilisation
programme (ESP) features a Sport mode and can be switched off entirely.
Precisely guided by its responsive steering, the RS 3 Sportback eagerly takes to curves and exits them
with agility, stability, and serenity. The stability limit is extremely high, an effortless mastery that
rounds off the 'character' of this powerful compact car.
Interior and exterior: dynamic styling
The new top-of-the-line model in the A3 series hints at its 'explosive' potential from the very first
glimpse. Together with the xenon plus headlights, the front apron, the anthracite single-frame grill with
diamond-patterned styling and the air intakes cut a distinctive figure.
The side view is dominated by the flared front guards made of carbon-fibre-reinforced
plastic (CFRP), prominent sill panels, exterior-mirror casings in matt aluminum look and a large roof
spoiler. A high-gloss black diffusor insert and two elliptical exhaust tailpipes on the left accentuate the
styling at the rear. RS 3 badges adorn the single-frame grille and the rear hatch.
The dynamic style is matched in the interior, entirely black and sporting a number of RS 3 logos. The
sports seats are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching; the inlays gleam in
Piano finish black or the new Aluminum Race look; the leather multifunction sports steering wheel is
'flat-bottomed'. The selector lever and instruments are specially designed. 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 Sport button, rear parking
system, climate control, chorus radio system, and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Audi offers customers a range of optional features: front bucket seats, roof rails in matt aluminium
look, and styling packages in black or matt aluminium. Five exterior colours are available, plus an
unlimited selection of custom paint finishes.
The new top-of-the-line model in the A3 series is already the fourth Audi model to be built at Audi
Hungaria in Győr, where it is rolling off the assembly line alongside the TT Coupé, the TT Roadster
and the A3 Cabriolet.
European deliveries of the RS 3 Sportback will begin in early 2011.