December 2015

Audi is well known for their sporty cars and have motorsport in their bloodline when looking at Le Mans and other events. No wonder then that this technology find its way into their production models and one such model is the Audi RS3.

Most of the Audi production vehicles get sporty models throughout their life and the first step is the S-Line models that have cosmetic extras, lowered suspension and sometimes some tweaks to the power supply. Then there are ‘S’ models, which have definite sporty genes, are much faster and more powerful than the normal “goody two shoes” models and more than ample when it comes to sportiness. Then you get the “in your face” RS models and just by looking at them you know they mean business and the owner just have to start it up for you to rather approach another vehicles for that “street race” you intend having.

Now you know what the RS badge means and you know where we are heading with this RS3 model. What I like about it is that it is the Sportback 5-door model, so it can actually be practical too. Not that there are much space for passengers in the back of any Audi 3 model, but still.

The current RS3 model is the most powerful hatchback from Audi and one of the fastest Audis available locally. Audi claims a 0-100km/h time of 4,3 seconds, which we can go along with, seeing that it has the perfect power-to-weight ratio and is also equipped with launch control that assists immensely in a standing start. The 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbo engine supply 270kW and 465Nm to all four wheels via quattro drive – a power boost over the previous, first-generation RS3, which delivered only 250kW and 450Nm respectively. All this power is only available through a seven-speed S-tronic auto transmission. As usual in SA cars the top speed is governed at 250km/h, but the limiter can be optionally lifted to 280km/h.

To put all that power safely on the road the RS3’s quattro drive is an active system that can send all the engine power to the rear wheels if necessary, helping to reduce the understeer mostly found in all-wheel-drive cars. This car sticks to the road, but also keeps the driver on his toes, because it can bite you in the back-side if you don’t concentrate. It is ‘oh so easy’ to throttle earlier out of corners with the new torque vectoring system that limits wheel-spin when accelerating.  Ride quality can be a bit bumpy as expected, even with the optional Audi Magnetic Ride suspension fitted.

Not the car for the introvert, because when set to sport mode people will hear you a mile away with some back-firing and loud blips when gearing down. Then again if you buy this Audi you want people to notice you. This is quite easy as we can vouch for during our five days of testing, yes only five days and not the usual seven, as it was the end of the year and the cars had to be returned for the festive break. Cindi Harding felt it was an excellent last vehicle for the year and I totally agree with her. Now we can dream about what’s in store for us for the new year.

The Audi RS3 comes standard with all the add-ons that you need and just to mention a few you get a black honeycomb grille, big air intakes, large oval tailpipes and widened front fenders. Inside the cabin’s spiced up with RS badges, an RS steering wheel that’s flattened at the bottom, and Nappa leather sports seats with classy diamond-stitching and embossed logos. Our test car came in a very peculiar colour called Nardo Grey, which actually looks like just the primer painted onto the car, but I must say it suits this little racing hatch to a tee.

Not that it would be of any interest, but our fuel consumption came to 16,2 litre per 100km and I am sure you will be able to bring this figure down to around 12 litre per 100km, once you are over the initial playfulness of the car. I am sorry but I will not get over that easily, so I will have to pay the cost of a high fuel bill.

You get all of this fun for around R710 000, so start saving if you want one of these über hot hatches. What a nice car to end the year off with … now we must wait to see what happens in the new year.

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