The Highest Arts: Audi RS 3 performance edition
- Faster: top speed set at 300 km/h (186 mph)
- Stronger: five-cylinder turbo engine with 299 kW (407 PS) of power
- Sportier: bucket seats, ceramic brakes, and adaptive chassis as standard
- Special: limited edition of 300 units with exclusive features
The RS 3 performance edition, the sportiest compact model from Audi Sport, is fast and a true street artist. Developed for maximum performance, the special edition boasts 299 kW (407 PS) of power and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). In addition to well-known top technologies like the RS torque splitter and ceramic brakes, it has RS bucket seats for optimized lateral support and a whole host of exclusive design elements.
With the third generation of the Audi RS 3 Sportback and the second generation of the RS 3 Sedan, high performance has reached a new level in the compact segment. Now Audi Sport GmbH is adding: the RS 3 performance edition is a limited edition of 300 units and is the pinnacle of its series both technically and visually. Available as Sportback and Sedan, the Edition guarantees driving fun and emotion across the board.
Five-cylinder turbo engine with increased performance
The RS 3 performance edition is more powerful and faster than any previous series RS 3. It is the first vehicle in its segment to achieve a top speed of 300 km/h (184 mph) and thus 10 km/h (6 mph) more than the standard version with RS Dynamics Package plus. In addition, the award-winning five-cylinder turbo engine with its characteristic sound, now delivers 299 kW (407 PS), 100 revolutions later, between 5,700 and 7,000 revolutions per minute on a high plateau. The torque plateau is also wider: maximum torque of 500 Nm is now available 100 revolutions longer, between 2,250 and 5,700 revolutions per minute. This is achieved through higher charge pressure: the large exhaust turbocharger generates 1.6 bar relative, which corresponds to a plus of 0.1 bar. Power is transmitted by the 7‑speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Short shifting times without interrupting traction, a sporty gear ratio, and launch control ensure top driving performance. The RS 3 performance edition accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds.
The power is complemented by the unmistakable and emotional sound of the five-cylinder engine with its characteristic 1-2-4-5-3 firing sequence. The standard RS sports exhaust system with a modified center silencer and glossy black, oval tailpipe trims gives a sporty, robust sound to the outside. The fully variable exhaust flap control, which broadens the sound spectrum, has been adapted slightly for the RS 3 performance edition: in Audi drive select’s Dynamic, RS Performance, and RS Torque Rear modes, the exhaust flaps open further when the car is stationary, which makes the sound even more present.
Top chassis technologies in series production
Negative wheel camber, stiffer wishbone, RS-specific tube stabilizer with a higher spring rate – all these measures already ensure high driving dynamics and stability in the standard RS 3. The RS 3 performance edition features RS sports suspension with adaptive damper control as standard equipment. It continuously and individually adjusts each shock absorber to the road conditions, the driving situation, and the mode selected in Audi drive select. Pressure and rebound damping have been increased in comparison with the previous generation RS 3, meaning that the shock absorber takes up more of the force that is passed from the chassis. The result is tighter handling. Electromagnetically actuated valves, which regulate the flow of the hydraulic fluid, provide the necessary amount damping power within ten milliseconds of the precise moment the driving situation requires. To do this, sensors measure the vertical acceleration of the body and the movement of the individual wheels relative to it. This information is processed simultaneously in the damper control unit and the modular vehicle dynamics controller, which means that each individual wheel optimally takes the car’s performance to the road. This includes supporting the body during fast cornering as well as braking and acceleration, for example with launch control.
With the RS Torque Splitter, the RS 3 performance edition uses technology that, on the one hand, increases stability – for example in wet conditions – and, on the other hand, increases agility and reduces understeer during dynamic driving. This is achieved through two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches that actively distribute the drive torque with full variability between the rear wheels. A maximum of 50% of the driving power is directed to the rear axle; in RS Torque Rear mode all of the rearward drive torque is intermittently transmitted to the wheel on the outside of the curve. This enables drifts on closed-off routes. In combination with RS Performance Mode, the torque splitter distributes torque between the rear wheels in such a way that almost neutral handling is achieved with little understeering and oversteering, ensuring optimum performance on the racetrack. This allows you to accelerate earlier at the end of the curve for faster lap times.
The RS 3 performance edition runs on semi-slick Pirelli P Zero “Trofeo R” tires as standard equipment – 265/35 on the front axle, 245/35 on the rear. Due to their specific rubber compound and asymmetrical tread, these performance tires offer particularly high grip in dry conditions, thus increasing stability and lateral grip. In keeping with their characteristics, the semi-slicks are mounted on cast aluminum wheels in motorsport design. The 19 inch rims in dark gray matte, exclusively available on the special model, have a striking design with ten cross‑spokes and display the RS branding. Behind it, the standard six-piston ceramic brake takes a firm grip. Their discs on the front axle measure 380 x 38 mm (15 x 1.5 in.). The high-performance brake system, with a specially adapted pedal curve on the brake booster, is ten kilograms (22 lbs) lighter and more heat-resistant than the steel brakes. The reduction in unsprung masses brings advantages in highly dynamic applications. The rear axle has a floating caliper with 310 x 22 mm (12.2 x 0.9 in.) single-piece steel discs. The brake calipers are painted blue to match the specific interior.
Exclusivity and dynamism made visible
The special model shows its leading position in the RS 3 portfolio with a wide range of new design‑elements and equipment: in addition to the motorsport-design wheels and the RS‑sports exhaust system with black tailpipe trims, the Audi rings and the RS 3 badge on the front and rear are also black. This is in perfect harmony with the particular finishes on the RS 3 performance edition: these include the pearl-effect colors Nogaro Blue, Arrow Gray and Daytona Gray as well as Sebring Black Crystal Effect and Glacier White Metallic.
Perfection down to the smallest detail is also visible in the light. The standard Matrix LED headlights with darkened bezels and the LED taillights feature a dynamic flashing light and RS‑specific staging when unlocking and locking. When the RS 3 performance edition is opened, the digital daytime running light, consisting of 15 LED segments, displays the “checkered flag” on the passenger side and the “3‑0-0” on the driver side – based on the limited number of units and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). Upon closing, “R-S-3” lettering appears in the pixel field below the main headlight instead of the “3-0-0.” While driving, the checkered flag lights up on both sides as a daytime running light. Another distinguishing feature is an entrance LED in the front doors: it projects “#RS performance” onto the ground next to the car.
The special model also shows its exclusivity in the interior. For the first time in the RS 3*, bucket seats are available as standard equipment, ensuring outstanding lateral support during dynamic cornering. Like the outer rear seats, the seat center panel also has contrasting blue honeycomb stitching. The material used for this is Dinamica microfiber fabric, which is combined with pearl Nappa leather on the side bolsters. Below the headrest, the black funnel aperture incorporates large RS lettering and, like the Carbon matte back of the seat back, emphasizes the sporty character of the special model. In addition to the full-surface blue belt straps, the contrast stitching on the center armrest, the door armrests, and the steering wheel are also in blue. The same applies to the floor mats and the trunk mat in black Velour, which also features RS lettering. For better orientation during sporty driving, the Alcantara steering wheel, which is flattened at the bottom, features a 12 o’clock marking – also in blue.
Specifically in the special model, the background image on the 10.1 inch touch display has a carbon look and shows the characteristic 2.5 TFSI 1-2-4-5-3 firing sequence. The RS monitor also integrates displays of coolant temperature, engine and transmission oil, g-forces, and tire pressures. At the same time, the Audi virtual cockpit plus provides information on performance-related data, such as lap times, g-forces, and acceleration in seconds from 0‑100 km/h (62 mph), 0‑200 km/h (124 mph), quarter mile, and eighth mile.
The RS 3 performance edition is limited to 300 units – as illustrated by the carbon decorative inlay on the passenger side with the badge “1 of 300.” The price for the model starts at € 75,000 as a Sportback and € 77,000 as a sedan. The edition will be delivered from early 2023.