SHARP-SUITED SPEED (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Couch
Audi's RS 3 model also comes in saloon form and with 400PS beneath the bonnet. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 28
The first Audi RS saloon since 2010 features the world's most powerful five-cylinder engine, rated at 400PS. This RS 3 Saloon is very subtle and very, very quick.
Backgroundword count: 127
We're used to sharp-suited super-fast RS-badged Audi sports saloons - but we've never seen one based on the A3. The brand has long offered us the four-door S3 of course, a car that now puts out 310PS, but enthusiasts wanting something even faster in a three-box bodyshape have had to wait until the launch of this RS 3 Saloon to get Ingolstadt's ultimate compact super-sedan. In creating this variant, the company has taken the opportunity to include all the features lately added to the standard A3 range - which primarily means extra media connectivity options and the extra cost Virtual Cockpit instrument display. There's still a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine driving all four wheels but now you get a power boost to 400PS. More is better, right?
Driving Experienceword count: 203
This 400PS, 174mph RS 3 makes history as the first saloon in the brand's history to use a transversely mounted configuration for its evocative powerplant. The 2.5 TFSI unit delivers 400PS and 480 Nm of torque. Such firepower allows the this compact RS model to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.1 seconds. It can attain a maximum speed of 155mph and, upon request, Audi will increase the electronically limited top speed to 174mph. The unique sound of the five-cylinder unit intensifies an already emotionally charged driving experience originating from the ignition alternating between directly adjacent cylinders and widely spaced ones. The sound can be modified via the standard 'Audi drive select' drive dynamics system. With its light-alloy crankcase, the five-cylinder engine is 26 kilograms 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. Maximum torque is readily available across a broad plateau, which means that you'll rarely be caught off boost. A widened track, bigger brakes and tyres, retuned ESP stability control and a sharpened suspension setup lowered by 25mm distinguish the RS3 from a standard A3 Saloon.
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