Audi RS3 Sportback 2017 review

Audi RS3 Sportback 2017

Faster, facelifted version of the already feverishly quick Audi RS3 Sportback continues to impress us with its sheer breadth of ability

Sister car to the mechanical identical RS3 saloon in an extended and what is described as a more globally relevant line-up of models from Audi Sport, the much anticipated 2017-model-year hyperhatch receives a number of key mid-life upgrades that are claimed to both enhance its dynamic prowess and, more crucially, make it a more entertaining car to drive.The big news with the newly reworked four-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG A45 4Matic rival revolves around its turbocharged five-cylinder direct-injection petrol engine, which has been thoroughly re-engineered by Audi’s performance car division in a move that not only raises its output but has also reduced the weight of the 2.5-litre unit by a credible 26kg over its successor – in the process serving to improve the new Audi’s power-to-weight ratio and weight distribution.It is the same transversely mounted engine brought to the second-generation TT RS in 2016, so it is not entirely new. Changes cited by Audi Sport development boss, Stephen Riel, include the adoption of an aluminium crankcase in place of the iron one used by the old RS3 Sportback powerplant. There is also a new dual injection process and Audi’s patented valve lift system in a combination claimed to increase combustion efficiency as well as a revised exhaust system with a larger volume muffler and adjustable flaps for an even more determined exhaust note.With a larger volume turbocharger providing a relatively low 1.35 bar of boost pressure, the new five-cylinder kicks out an added 32bhp at 394bhp between 5850 and 7000rpm. Torque is also up, but only marginally, rising from a previous 343lb ft to 354lb ft on a 225bhp wider range of revs between 1700 and 5850rpm.This endows the new RS3 Sportback with 180bhp and a scant 4lb ft more than the smaller turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that powers the A45 4Martic. It is also 29bhp and 11lb ft more than that delivered by the larger turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine used by the BMW M2.The increased reserves are channelled through an updated version of the earlier RS3 Sportback’s standard seven-speed S-Tronic transmission. It receives changes to the drive element at the propeller shaft in a move claimed to reduce its weight by 2.0kg over the earlier evolution of the dual clutch unit. Offering the choice of either manual or automatic modes, it gets remote steering wheel mounted shift paddles and a launch control function.The subtly altered dual clutch gearbox is allied to a lightly revised version of Audi’s electro-hydraulically operated multi-plate clutch quattro four-wheel drive system featuring new software mapping. It is now capable of delivering between 50 and 100% of drive to the rear wheels.Underpinning the new RS3 Sportback is a reworked version of its predecessor’s suspension, with MacPherson struts up front and an independent four-link arrangement at the rear. It is lowered by 25mm over lesser A3 Sportback models and can be optioned with a so-called RS Sport Suspension Plus package that brings magnetically operated variable damping. The standard 19in wheels come shod with 235/35 R19 Pirelli P-Zero tyres. Audi’s Drive Select system offers the choice of four driving modes: Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Independent.You’ll never confuse the latest RS3 Sportback for any lesser A3 Sportback model. Among its more distinctive styling touches is a uniquely designed front bumper with larger air ducts, a traditional high gloss black grille sporting a honeycomb themed insert as well as RS and quattro identification, flared front wheel arches, black mirror housings and wider sills. At the rear it sports a larger spoiler atop the tailgate and a new bumper featuring an integrated diffuser element and signature oval tailpipes

Source: Autocar Online

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