Audi is adding a new model to its dynamic RS series: the RS 3 Sportback. It is powered by a five-cylinder turbocharged engine with a displacement of 2.5 liters, an output of 250 kW (340 hp) and torque 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft). A seven-speed S tronic and the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system deliver the power to the road. 19-inch wheels and fenders made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the exceptional position occupied by the Audi RS 3 Sportback.
Audi has a long tradition of powerful five-cylinder engines extending back to the late 1970s. The 2.5-liter unit in the RS 3 redefines the state of the art and was recently named International Engine of the Year by an illustrious panel of automotive journalists.
Developed by quattro GmbH, the RS 3 Sportback rockets to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) from a standing start in 4.6 seconds – the best in its class. Top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h. Weighing just 1,575 kilograms (3,742.28 lb), the compact Audi’s average fuel consumption is just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg), which corresponds to 212 g/km (341.18 g/mile) of CO2. A demand-regulated oil pump and a recuperation system that recovers energy during braking play a major role in this efficiency.
The 2.5 TFSI produces its 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc: a specific output of 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter. Its peak torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is already available at 1,600 rpm and remains constant through 5,300 rpm. The engine elicits goosebumps with its awesome pulling power and the way it eagerly revs up to 6,800 rpm. The throaty roar over the special rhythm of the five-cylinder firing sequence is the classic Audi soundtrack. A sound flap in the exhaust system further intensifies the sound. This flap can be controlled manually via the standard Sport button, which also varies the engine’s throttle response.
Just 49 centimeters (19.29 in) in length, the 2.5 TFSI is very short and weighs only 183 kilograms (403.45 lb). Its crankcase is made of vermicular graphite cast iron, an extremely strong yet lightweight material. Audi is the first carmaker to use this material in a gasoline engine. Perfectly placed reinforcements enhance the block’s loadability. The lightweight construction concept keeps the weight of the Audi RS 3 Sportback low and also offers significant advantages for the distribution of axle loads and thus for the car’s handling.
The large turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure; the intercooler achieves thermal efficiency above 80 percent. As with all turbocharged gasoline engines from Audi, the 2.5 TFSI combines forced induction with FSI direct fuel injection. The interplay of the two technologies enables a high 10.0:1 compression ratio and correspondingly good efficiency. Flaps in the intake manifold cause the incoming air to rotate. The two camshafts, each of which can be adjusted through 42 degrees of crankshaft angle, also contribute to the formation of a good mixture.
The compact seven-speed S tronic transfers the engine’s power via three shafts – one drive shaft and two output shafts. Like all dual-clutch transmissions, it comprises two partial gearboxes. Shifts are completed within just a few hundredths of a second by changing clutches. Shifts are very comfortable, with no perceptible interruption of power. Seventh gear is tall to reduce fuel consumption. The driver can choose between two automatic modes for the seven-speed S tronic or shift manually using shift paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever. The launch control system manages full-throttle acceleration from a standing start.
The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system of the RS 3 Sportback smoothly delivers the power to the road and provides for traction, dynamics and stability. Its central component is an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch mounted on the end of the prop shaft. The multi-plate clutch distributes the torque to the axles as needed.
The rigid body forms the basis for the precise handling abilities of the RS 3 Sportback that stem from its chassis. The four-link rear suspension is mounted on a subframe. Its control arms made of high-strength steel enable the suspension to absorb longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The front suspension is a classic McPherson design and also has a separate subframe. Key components are made of aluminum. The rack-and-pinion steering is highly efficient thanks to its electromechanical drive and features a sportily direct 16.2:1 ratio.
The standard sports suspension lowers the body of the RS 3 Sportback 25 millimeters (0.98 in). The new top model in the A3 line rolls on 19-inch cast aluminum wheels shod with 235/35 tires up front and 225/35 tires at the rear. The internally ventilated brake discs measure 370 millimeters (14.57 in) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.20 in) at the rear. The front friction rings are drilled for maximum heat dissipation. They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake caps, and four-piston brake calipers clamp down on the rings.
The RS 3 Sportback turns almost reflexively into corners and powers through them in a solid, composed manner, guided with the utmost precision by its sensitive steering. The effortless manageability of the car’s extremely high limit rounds out the character of the powerful compact car.
Exterior and interior
A series of exterior modifications reveal the awesome potential of the new top model of the A3 line at a glance. The front fenders are made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The dynamic flair is carried through to the interior, which sports an all-black color scheme and several RS 3 logos. Audi can supply features such as front bucket seats upon request.
The new top model of the A3 line is the brand’s fourth model now to be assembled at Audi Hungaria in Györ. The RS 3 Sportback rolls off a line there next to the TT Coupé, the TT Roadster and the A3 Cabriolet. Delivery is scheduled to begin in spring 2011.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.