The Audi RS3 has been around for a while now. The first s3 came out in 1999, which was something out of this world at the time. The s3 evolved over the years, but so made the craving and demand for a higher performance hatchback. It wasn’t until 2011 when Audi launched the first RS3, which was packed with a mighty 2.5-litre engine, that accelerated to 60 mph in around 4.6 seconds. It meant that it sparked a new era of high-performance hot hatches, where the likes of BMW, Mercedes and even VW coming to do battle.
Those who know the history of Audi know full well that the legendary Audi Quattro that dominated the rally world in the 80s had a 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine. Ironically enough, the RS3 also shares that same pedigree. The all-new 2022 RS3 is no different, armed with a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine producing a whopping 401 bhp and 500 Nm of torque. Ensures that 0-62 mph is achieved in 3.8 seconds, almost a whole second quicker than its last-gen sibling. Unfortunately, it is the German way to restrict the top speed to 155 mph, but pay extra for the optional performance package, and it’ll top out at 180 mph. This brave, lightweight and entry RS model can toe to toe with Porsche, Ferrari, and other powerful supercars of the world and starting price are around £50,000. Its competitors from BMW and Mercedes don’t even come close to this level of performance, and when it does come out, it is bound to sound as good as it is aggressive to look.
As ever, the RS3 can be purchased as both a sedan or hatchback, but I favour the sedan more. The striking grille and angled arches give a pronounced mean look; it makes this pocket rocket look severe and ready to pounce. There are some excellent gimmicks and homages too, the box-style flares over the wheels add a bit of visual testimony to the original Audi Quattro. The matrix headlights do a light show display, whereby one side of the LED headlights displays a chequered flag and the other spells out RS3 within the matrix corner light. Other fancy gimmicks are drift mode; yes, you read that correctly, this four-wheel-drive monster can drift. Thanks to a clever differential, torque vectoring, and a completely new four-wheel-drive system mean that you can throw this car about in the corners at a push of a button.
The interior is as mean, aggressive and gorgeous to look at as the exterior. You can tell Lamborghini, and their lunatic division inspired it. It features Audi’s latest virtual cockpit, super fast and super responsive infotainment display where you can do everything that you would possibly need in a car. Heads up display and, of course, carbon fibre galore. The sports seats look comfortable and tight, and overall the coloured accents separate the dark interior with some colouring.
Fair to say, I’m genuinely pleased with the new Audi RS3. Their current line-up is a bit bland and dull, to be honest, and I think this car right here is what will bring them back in the game and triumph once again, just like they did in the 80s. With vehicles becoming evolved, economical and more powerful, we’ll soon reach the pinnacle of automotive technology whereby we can’t develop these cars and engines any further. Does this mean we are approaching that stage, knowing full well that we are now coming close to the end of an era for combustion engines? Mainstream automotive manufacturers are giving one last hooray before the final send-off to which the combustion engine as we know it is buried into the pages of history.
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