The Straits Times Car of the Year 2016

Audacious Audi

AUDI RS 3 SPORTBACK
AUDI RS 3 SPORTBACKPHOTOS: ST FILE

The new RS 3 is the most hardcore RS car from Audi yet. Not in terms of sheer output, but in the way it delivers speed, the way it handles and the way it makes you feel.

On the go, the compact hatch comes across clearly as being set up first and foremost for performance. Its ride is rock-hard, with a fixed-rate steel suspension calibrated for carving up the tarmac.

Its brakes exert the bite pressure of a T-Rex - great for bringing the 367bhp car from three-digit velocities down to single-digit in a jiffy.

Its 2.5-litre 20-valve five-cylinder engine wakes up with seismic blasts emanating from its bazooka- like tailpipes. Even with the windows up, they sound like cannon fire.

Pull its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission lever to D and the car catapults from its position with the gentlest throttle pressure.

 
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  • SPECS / AUDI RS 3 SPORTBACK

  • Price: $287, 800 with COE

    Engine: 2,480cc 20-valve inline -5 turbocharged

    Power: 367bhp at 5,550rpm

    Torque: 465Nm at 1,625-5,550rpm

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch with paddle shift

    0-100kmh: 4.3 seconds

    Top speed: 250kmh (electronically limited)

    Fuel consumption: 12.3 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Premium Automobiles

Acceleration is dished out by the bucket. If you are in possession of sufficient guts and road, maintaining pedal pressure will see the car relegating the scenery to a blur.

With 465Nm on tap (up from its predecessor's 450Nm), the beastly Sportback completes the century sprint in 4.3 seconds - 0.3 seconds quicker than the previous RS 3.

Besides the heightened output, the new RS 3 benefits from a 55kg weight loss. Its power-to-weight ratio improves from 203bhp a tonne to 230bhp a tonne.

For something so fast and furious, the car is surprisingly easy to drive. Yet, there is never a dull moment at the wheel. Its steering is super sharp and its chassis is balanced and planted, while at the same time affording the neutrality of an all-wheel-drive.

It is a rather well-furnished machine too. It has navigation, full LED headlights and tail lights, a partial Alcantara flat-bottom steering wheel, Nappa leather upholstery and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Audacious Audi'. Print Edition | Subscribe