Audi revealed some news on the new RS3 this morning confirming the hot hatch will get a new torque-splitting rear differential, which gives the compact car more agility and balance than before.
We are expecting the 2.5-litre turbocharged inline five-cylinder to deliver 394 hp (294 kW) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. The power rating is the same as the outgoing model but it’s available between 5,600 and 7,000 rpm, earlier than in the previous generation while torque goes up 20 Nm (15 lb-ft) as well. The new RS3 will be able to sprint to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds (0.3 seconds improvement) and will run to a top speed of 250 km/h. If you wish, you can go all the way to 280 km/h as an option and if you add both the RS Dynamic package and the ceramic brakes, the top speed is a crazy 290 km/h. These performance figures put it at the top of the pile in its class in terms of acceleration and top speed.
Audi is calling it the RS Torque Splitter and basically, it is to keep all the grunt under control. By using an advanced multi-plate clutch on each rear axle shaft, the RS3 can actively send power to the right or left, overdriving the outside wheel in corners to reduce understeer and improve manoeuvrability. What is pretty impressive is it can actually send 100 per cent of the torque to a single wheel in certain situations.
The Audi Drive select controller now comes with two dedicated sporty modes. In addition to Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Efficiency, there’s an RS Performance mode that delivers as much power as possible to the rear axle, balancing handling and reducing understeer for faster lap times. Meanwhile, a dedicated RS Rear mode maxes out the torque split to the back of the car, allowing the driver to execute some tyre shredding, controllable drifts.
This is actually quite funny because in 2017, the chief of Audi Sport Stephan Reil described the so-called drift mode as “a waste of time” and hinted the four rings brand would never equip its cars with such technology.
“No drift mode. Not in the R8, not in the RS3, not in the RS6, not in the RS4,” Mr Reil told Autoblog. “I don’t like them. I do not see the reason for them. We do not see the sense in sitting there burning the back tires. It’s not fast … The car is much faster the way we do it, and drifting also does not really suit the architecture of our cars.”
Be that as it may, the all-new 2022 Audi RS3 hatchback and sedan will be revealed in full on 19 July 2021.