Audi 2015 RS3 Sportback review

Audi 2015 RS3 Sportback review

If ever there was a car that brought back the spirit of the burbly, noisy, character-filled five-cylinder Audi Quattro coupe from the 1980s, it is the new 2015 RS3 Sportback.

The classic Audi soundtrack of the 1-2-4-5-3 five-cylinder ignition sequence has returned in the 270kW/465Nm 2.5-litre petrol turbocharged engine found under the bonnet of the RS3.

In old school parlance, thats 367 horsepower from a compact five-cylinder engine which is 49cm in length and has a weight of 180kg. A small team of specialists hand build the RS3’s power train at the Audi engine plant in Hungary.

2015 Audi RS3 front grille detailAudi says that the power to weight ratio plays a key role in a sporty car, and because the new RS3 sits on the new MQB platform it is 55kg lighter than its predecessor. Hence each horsepower has only 4.14kg of RS3 to move.

It will accelerate from a standing start to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds and yet combined fuel consumption is rated at 8.1L/100km. For the record during our test week, we 2015 Audi RS3 side profile detailvaried between 8.5L/100km to 10L/100km in mixed urban and motorway running.

Hop into the snug leather-clad driver’s bucket seat, press the stop/start button and Gees Wayne, its a LOUD beggar. This car is absolutely a wolf in wolfs clothing.

2015 Audi RS3 Rear three quarter profileThe RS3 exhaust note has more snap, crackle, and pop than a herd of kids munching on their morning cornflakes…it’s uncouth, obnoxious, and wonderful. Finally the four-ring German brand have grown some testicular fortitude and given us a vehicle that sounds as hard out, as well as it goes hard out.

And it is hard sometimes, those gorgeous looking 19-inch alloy wheels coupled with 2015 Audi RS3 Front seatslow profile Pirelli Supersport tyres provide plenty of grip, but also plenty of bump and thump into the cabin over road undulations.

Audi offers a sports exhaust as standard on the RS3. Two flaps in the exhaust pipes downstream of the muffler control the exhaust flow to provide an intense sound which varies with engine load and speed.

Drivers can control the level of exhaust sound through the Audi Drive Select system, which is quite possibly a good thing if you live in an apartment building or complex of flats and don’t want to irritate the neighbours when leaving early or coming home late.

All of the five-cylinder engines power and torque is coupled to the road through a seven-speed S-Tronic dual clutch transmission and a quattro all-wheel-drive system which can send between 50 and 2015 Audi RS3 MMI system100% of the available torque to the rear axle if required, depending on the driving style and coefficient of friction.

On first appearance the RS3 Sportback looks fairly benign, it sits 25mm lower on its sports suspension than a standard A3 Sportback, and the front grille and spoilers look purposeful, and there is a discreet RS3 badge on both the radiator grille and tailgate.

There is a wider front and rear track than a standard A3 Sportback fitted to the RS3 for improved response and handling, and the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damper system is also fitted as standard equipment.

The management of the dampers is integrated into the Audi drive select system which provides individual, comfort, auto and dynamic driving modes. For the city commute you would choose auto or comfort mode, but everywhere else you will want to use dynamic to enjoy the breadth of performance and handling this car has to offer.

For track day adventures the RS3 Sportback offers a driver information system (DIS) which includes an oil temperature gauge and a lap timer, while a boost pressure display for the turbocharger is located in the rev counter dial.

There is even a launch control function in the RS3, should the mood take you.

More importantly the RS3 is also very comfortable long distance cruising car, thanks to the RS Sports seats upholstered in Fine Nappa Leather with rock grey contrast stitching. These are complemented by the flat-bottomed RS multifunction sport steering wheel wrapped in leather and a very tactile alcantara trim.

Parking system plus and MMI Navigation Plus are also standard equipment in the RS3, but the Ausi Assistance package with Adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and high beam assistant is available as an option.

We took the RS3 for a run down the Hauraki Plains from Auckland to the Te Aroha for the town’s annual classic and muscle car and motorcycle gathering known as the ‘Aroha Cruise in.’

Due to the heavy presence of the Police in panda and mufti cars en route to the event in the historic Spa town, we stayed well with the legal speed limit, but the handling and grip of the RS3 is such that corners can be taken at much greater velocity than the signposted speed advisory.

To my delight the members and visiting supporters of the classic and muscle car fraternity at the Cruise In weren’t dismissive towards to the interloping RS3 in their midst.

Indeed when the Red beast whomped-whomped into a parking space in town a number of people were keen to have a look under the bonnet to see where the noise came from!

It doesn’t matter what sort of machine you drive to a classic and muscle car gathering, so long as it makes the right sound I guess. In time I think the RS3 Sportback will become a classic in its own right, just like the classic quattro coupes from the 1980s did.

Price: $99,900

Pros:

  • Loud, proud, fast, capable,
  • Somewhat practical for a sporty car
  • Great fun to drive.

Cons:

  • Might be too loud and too harsh for the missus (mine did not like it one bit)

Words and local pictures:

Supplied press shots: Audi New Zealand.

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