Audi’s upcoming RS3 will pack a new four-wheel-drive system and a dedicated ‘drift mode’ to ensure it’s as involving and exciting to drive as possible.
These are just two of a number of changes made to the popular performance saloon and hatch for its third generation and make up some of the details announced by Audi ahead of the RS3’s full reveal in the coming weeks.
The compact performance model gains a new torque splitter that replaces the old multi-plate clutch and rear differential found on previous RS3 models. This new system is able to divide power between the rear wheels ‘in a fully variable manner’ and helps to reduce understeer when cornering at high speeds.
The system also allows drivers to perform controlled drifts via the RS Torque Rear mode. In this setting, the engine is allowed to send maximum power to the rear wheels alone.
Audi has also reworked the RS3’s suspension, dropping it by 10 millimetres over the standard S3 and some 25 millimetres over the regular A3. A new damper setup has also been implemented, giving drivers the ability to customise the way the car rides. Upgraded brakes with 375mm discs and six-pot calipers at the front – with 310mm discs at the rear – provide plenty of stopping performance, too.
The engine itself is a 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine – the same as that found in the previous RS3 – and though its 394bhp output mirrors that of its predecessor, peak power is delivered 250rpm earlier. This gives a great sense of urgency to the acceleration and ensures a 0.3-second saving on the previous car’s 0-60mph time. It’ll now make the sprint in just 3.6 seconds.
The new RS3 is set to be revealed in full over the next few weeks.