To be fair, few will have concerns about the new RS3’s powertrain or performance – it is exceptional already. Some may say, however, that they seek more chassis finesse. Audi is pinning its hopes in this direction on big changes underneath: gone is the familiar rear diff with its multiple-disc clutch and in has come an electronic clutch on each of the rear driveshafts, what Audi says is a “torque splitter”.
The firm says agility is the winner, especially in press-on driving. Increasing torque to the outside rear wheel significantly reduces understeer, says Audi. The system can also direct all the torque to one rear wheel for closed-road drifts, and there is now a special mode – RS Torque Rear – to facilitate such tyre-smoking antics.
Another new drive mode is RS Performance, created for the racetrack. Like the drift mode, it uses a specific engine and transmission configuration with a torque split calculated for maximum grip. Ensuring the torque splitter, adaptive dampers and other systems get on together is a new, faster acting central brain.
Adaptive dampers are in fact an option only with the RS sports suspension, but in standard form the RS3 promises improvements, to enhance cornering as well as ride, an area some may say Audi needed to concentrate on.
Widened tracks, a 10mm lowered body, more negative camber on the front axle and stiffer bearings and subframes are other ingredients in this extensive dynamic revamp. The brakes too have come in for work with newly developed six-piston steel brakes as standard as well as the optional ceramic front discs.