audi-rs3-sedan-04

Audi has revealed the new RS3 Sedan at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the first compact Audi sedan to wear the RS badge. The centrepiece here is without doubt the engine, a new 2.5 TFSI unit that’s the most powerful five-cylinder engine in the world.

The 2.5 TFSI now makes 400 hp (33 hp more than its predecessor) and 480 Nm of torque available between 1,700 to 5,850 rpm. With that much grunt on tap, the little Audi sedan does the 0-100 km/h sprint in just 4.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h but Audi will up this to 280 km/h on request.

With its light-alloy crankcase, the five-pot is 26 kg lighter than before. It employs a dual injection into the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers, as well as the Audi valvelift system for variable control of the exhaust valves. The result is optimal power development at a reduced consumption level. Also, one will get the unique five-cylinder sound that comes from having the ignition alternate between directly adjacent cylinders and widely spaced ones.

audi-rs3-sedan-09

The motor is paired with an S tronic seven-speed dual-clutch automatic that transmits power to the quattro permanent AWD. Its electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles. The electronic control combines superior stability with a high level of driving pleasure, Audi says. The sportier the driving, the faster and more often will a large share of the torque reach the rear axle.

Quattro management is integrated in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, as are the steering, S tronic, engine management and the adjustable exhaust flaps. The driver can choose between Comfort, Auto and Dynamic modes. The same is true for the optional RS sport suspension plus with adaptive damper control.

Wheel-selective torque control, an intelligent software feature of the ESC, rounds off the work of the AWD. In fast cornering it slightly brakes the inside wheels, which are under a reduced load. This way it can transmit greater lateral power, making handling more fluid and stable. In addition, the RS-tuned ESC comes with a sport mode for controlled drifting. It can also be fully deactivated.

RS3 Sedan owners also get to enjoy a chassis that has progressive steering, a four-link rear axle, a tight setup and 25 mm lower ride height. The front brake discs are 370 mm in diameter (310 mm at the back), while eight-piston calipers with large-area linings provide optimal deceleration. Carbon fibre ceramic front discs are optional. 19-inch wheels and 235/35 tyres are standard.

Visually, one can tell the RS3 Sedan apart by the Singleframe grille with its 3D honeycomb grille and quattro logo along the bottom. Underneath, a blade extends across the width of the front into the side air inlets, where it forms narrow funnels for better air flow through the wheel arches. LED headlights are standard, with matrix LEDs as an option.

The front track of the RS3 is wider by 20 mm over the regular A3 Sedan, and 14 mm wider at the back. A fixed spoiler lip on the boot lid, a diffuser insert with vertical struts and the large oval tailpipes are cues at the back. RS-specific paint colours are Nardo Gray and Catalunya Red.

audi-rs3-sedan-17

The dark interior welcomes occupants with illuminated door sills bearing the RS3 logo. Black Nappa leather sport seats with RS logos on the backrests are standard, but one can also opt for more contoured RS sport seats with integrated head restraints. Their covers are also diamond patterned and colour-perforated. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flattened at the bottom, while inlays at the instrument panel and at the doors complete the sporty atmosphere.

MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is available, along with an an electrically extending seven-inch screen. The centrally-positioned driver information system includes a boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and a lap timer. The fully digital Audi virtual cockpit with its 12.3-inch screen is optional. It comes with a special RS screen that moves the tachometer to the centre, flanked by tyre pressure, torque and g-force info.

In the entertainment column, one gets the Audi phone box, which inductively charges a smartphone and connects it to the car antenna via near-field coupling for optimal reception. The Bang & Olufsen audio is a 705-watt, 14-speaker item.