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AUDI: RS 3 2022 Sportback & Saloon unveiled Hero

AUDI: RS 3 2022 Sportback & Saloon unveiled

Audi has unveiled its updated RS 3 for the car’s 2022 model year. It has received a series of chassis upgrades and wears an all-new exterior design. The new RS 3 will be available as a five-door Sportback model or as a four-door saloon and goes on sale in August priced from £50,900.

The RS 3 features angular flared wheel arches that give the car a wide and bullish stance. In total, the lateral distance (known as the ‘track’) between the wheels is 33mm greater than it is on the regular Audi A3.

At the front, the now-familiar black single-frame honeycomb grille is fitted, along with a redesigned front bumper boasting larger air intakes than the regular car. Other changes to the nose include a pair of LED headlights, which can be upgraded to matrix LED versions that add a small chequered flag design in the lower part of each headlight unit.

The side of the car gets deeper side skirts with a gloss black insert, along with black 19-inch alloy wheels. At the back, the bumper is more prominent, and features a full-width black trim piece sporting a honeycomb design and a gloss black diffuser housing a pair of large oval exhaust pipes. The Sportback version gets a large rear spoiler across the roofline, while the saloon has a smaller lip aero on the boot lid.

Buyers will be able to spec an RS 3 with several styling options, including a carbon fibre pack that replaces the wing mirror caps, side skirt inserts and rear spoiler with carbon versions. There’s also a pair of new paint colours exclusive to the RS 3 line-up, called Kyalami Green (saloon as pictured) and Kemora Grey.

The RS 3’s interior will be marked out from the standard A3 with Alcantara suede-like upholstery, contrasting stitching, RS-specific graphics for the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital dial cluster. The 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen features Audi’s RS Monitor, which provides data on tyre pressures, as well as engine, gearbox and brake temperatures.

Audi has revealed that the RS 3 Sportback starts from £50,900, while the RS 3 Saloon is priced from £51,900. We expect full specifications to be revealed in the coming weeks but a range of trim levels similar to the Audi RS Q3 SUV is likely, which would mean a standard base model, as well as Audi Sport Edition, Vorsprung trims and perhaps Edition One models.

Audi’s latest iteration of the RS 3 is powered by the same 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine as its predecessor, which produces 395bhp. This engine already features in the spectacular Cupra Formentor VZ5 and Audi TT RS.

While this power figure is the same as the old RS 3, Audi’s engineers have reworked the engine so it delivers more pulling power across the rev range. As before, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox sends power to all four-wheels via a quattro all-wheel drive system.

With ‘launch control’ activated, the new RS 3 sprints from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds flat, which is 0.3 seconds quicker than the old car. Top speed is 180mph with the optional RS Dynamic package, which adds carbon ceramic brakes that save 10kg in weight.

Other new chassis features include the RS Torque Splitter, a new rear differential setup that can divert all of the engine’s power to the rear wheels or to just one individual wheel if needed. The RS 3 also rides lower than an S3, with a 10mm reduction in ride height thanks to new suspension.

Five driving modes are available, with the Comfort/Efficiency sending the majority of power to the front wheels for normal driving. Above this, the Auto setting automatically splits power evenly between the front and rear wheels based on which axle has the most traction. The Dynamic setting sends more power to the rear wheels to make the car more playful.

The two remaining modes are designed for track use, with the RS Performance setting utilising the RS Torque Splitter rear differential to minimise oversteer and understeer in faster corners. The final setting is the RS Torque Rear, which is capable of sending all of the engine's power to the outside rear wheel in corners, meaning the driver can perform tyre-smoking drifts. The car’s electronic stability control can also be adjusted to one of three settings as well, which determines the angle of drift allowed.

When the RS 3 arrives in showrooms, it will count the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S hatchback and the CLA 45 S coupe as its closest rivals.

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By Wayne Gorrett

Wayne has been covering developments in the UK's automotive sector for over 10 years, providing news, reviews, first-drive impressions and opinion pieces for a number of print and web outlets in the UK and South Africa. A former marketing director, Wayne is based in a rural village near Winchester, Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter: @WaynesWorldAuto Facebook: WaynesWorldAuto Instagram: WaynesWorldAuto