audi rs 3 1

Yet another model joins the Audi RS series lineup, and this one is the big, bad version of the A3 called the RS 3 Sportback. There’s no shortage of pizzazz here, for sure, what with 340 hp and 450 Nm as well as a 0-100 kph sprint time of 4.6 secs kicking off this particular dynamic parade.

Styling-wise, the car, which is of course developed by Audi subsidiary quattro, gets the RS dress up treatment, and the front features an anthracite single-frame grill with diamond-patterned styling, new air intakes, a front apron, and front fenders made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).

Throw in prominent sill panels, exterior-mirror casings in matt aluminium, a large roof spoiler and a high-gloss black diffusor insert at the rear, along with two elliptical exhaust tailpipes and you’ve got the new clothes this one wears.

Oh, and RS 3 badging both front and rear, of course.

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The entirely black interior carries a number of RS 3 logos as well, in case you ever forget what it is you’re driving. The sports seats wear fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching, and you get Piano finish black or the new Aluminum Race look for inlay finishes. Elsewhere, the selector lever and instruments for the RS 3 are unique, and the vehicle’s driver information system can display the boost pressure and oil temperature as well as a lap timer.

As the heart of the all-wheel drive RS 3 is a 2.5 litre TFSI five-cylinder turbocharged pot, first seen on the TT RS, and the 340 horses (available between 5,400 and 6,500 rpm) translates into a specific power output of 137.1 hp per litre. As for the torque, the 450 Nm is available from 1,600 rpm right up to 5,300 rpm. The turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure, with an intercooler downstream efficiency rate of over 80%.

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The 183 kg block features a crankcase made of vermicular-graphite cast iron – Audi’s the first car maker to use this a high-strength, yet lightweight material in a gasoline engine, and helping to keep the weight in check means paying off big for the RS 3 in terms of axle-load distribution and handling.

The RS 3 features a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, with a operational choice of two automatic modes and one manual mode – paddle shifters and a launch control system round things off. Meanwhile, the quattro all-wheel drive features an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch mounted at the end of the propeller shaft to achieve a favourable axle load distribution.

Performance-wise, the 1,575 kg car manages an electronically-limited 250 kph top speed, and it growls all the way in that signature RS manner, with a sound flap in the exhaust branch intensifying the sound even further (the flap is controlled via the standard Sport button, which also varies the engine response). Despite it being a scorcher, it’s also very much a sipper – the claimed average consumption figure is a neat 9.1 litres per 100 km.

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As would be the case, the RS 3 Sportback gets a number of suspension and geometry revisions to help it handle like its life depended on it. The sports suspension on the RS 3 lowers it by 25 mm compared with the stock A3, and at the front the track has been widened, with the McPherson struts featuring a separate subframe; key components are made of aluminium. At the back, the four-link suspension is also anchored to a subframe and features high-strength-steel control arms that allow it to handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately.

Stopping power is through a brake system made up of four-pot calipers (finished in high-gloss black and bearing the RS logo) and 370 mm front and 310 mm rear ventilated discs. The car wears 19-inch cast aluminium wheels finished in machine-polished titanium as standard, with a black with a red rim flange available as an option – the wheels sit on 235/35 series front and 225/35 rear rubbers.

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In terms of kit, there’s a rear parking system, climate control, chorus radio system and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights as standard, among other things. Optional equipment includes front bucket seats, matt aluminium roof rails and styling packages in black or matt aluminium.

The car will be made at Audi Hungaria in Gyor, and deliveries are slated to begin in early 2011. Gallery after the jump.

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