Big performance in a small package - the Audi RS3 Sportback is the newest member of the dynamic Audi RS family. Its turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine pumps out 250 kW (340 hp) and delivers 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) of torque. The unit accelerates the Audi RS3 Sportback into the league of powerful sports cars while consuming just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km on average (25.85 US mpg).
Audi RS3 Sportback
Power from the 2.5 TFSI is transmitted to the road via a seven-speed S tronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. 19-inch wheels and fenders made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the Audi RS3 Sportback's position of distinction.
Audi RS3 Sportback
Mighty five-cylinder gasoline engines have a long legacy in the service of the four rings. In the 1980s, they gave many Audi cars an edge on the competition. The brand is now carrying on the classic line: The 2.5-liter with FSI direct gasoline injection and turbocharging technology gives the Audi RS3 Sportback its blazing performance.
Audi RS3 Sportback
Named "Engine of the Year" in 2010, the 2.5 TFSI delivers 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc. Its specific output is 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter. The peak torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is continuously available over a broad rev range between 1,600 and 5,300 rpm.
Audi RS3 Sportback
The Audi RS3 Sportback accelerates from a standing stop to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds - a best-in-class performance figure. The limited top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) is merely the official figure. Even so, the dynamic compact car uses on average just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg) and emits 212 g CO2 per km (341.18 g/mile). This efficiency is due in large part to a delivery-on-demand oil pump and a recuperation system that recovers energy as the car decelerates.
Audi RS3 Sportback
The powerful five-cylinder unit is extremely compact and lightweight. Its large turbocharger compresses the intake air at pressures of up to 1.2 bar, and an intercooler lowers its temperature at full load. When the driver pushes the standard Sport button on the center tunnel, a flap installed in the left exhaust tailpipe renders the characteristic growling of the exhaust even more intense while allowing the engine to respond with even more punch.
Dynamic par excellence: the drivetrain and suspension
A seven-speed S tronic comes standard in the Audi RS3 Sportback. The compact dual-clutch transmission shifts gears almost imperceptibly, with extreme speed and comfort. Seventh gear is very tall - a measure that reduces fuel consumption. In addition to two automatic programs, a manual mode is available, which can be controlled with optional paddles on the steering wheel. The launch control system manages maximum acceleration from a standing start.
Audi RS3 Sportback
quattro permanent all-wheel drive grants the Audi RS Sportback outstanding traction, fascinating dynamics, and superb stability. Its centerpiece is an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, mounted at the rear to achieve a favorable weight distribution. If the situation calls for it, the clutch diverts torque from the front axle to the rear axle within a few milliseconds.
Audi RS3 Sportback
The chassis of the powerful compact car has an extremely sophisticated design. A four-link suspension capable of handling longitudinal and lateral forces separately is used at the rear. With a gear ratio of 16.2:1 the electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering is extremely direct, combining fine precision with highly efficient operation. The stiff sports suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in) compared with the A3.
Audi RS3 Sportback
The Audi RS3 Sportback has 19-inch wheels. The front tires are size 235/35, whereas the tires at the rear are 10 millimeters (0.39 in) narrower to further enhance handling. The internally ventilated brake disks measure 370 millimeters (14.57 in) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.20 in) at the rear. The front friction rings are perforated.
They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake disk covers and gripped by four-piston fixed calipers painted in black. The electronic stabilization program (ESP) has a sport mode and can be switched off partially or entirely.
The Audi RS3 Sportback hints at its enormous potential from the very first glimpse. Its front and rear aprons have been prominently modified, and a large roof spoiler sits atop the rear end. The flared front fenders are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) - an expression of Audi expertise in lightweight design.
The dynamic style is matched in the interior, entirely black and sporting a number of RS3 logos. Sport seats with Fine Nappa leather upholstery are standard; the inlays sport a Piano finish. A boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and the lap timer are all included in the driver information system. The instruments and the selector lever are specially designed.
A flat-bottomed leather multifunction sport steering wheel, a two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioner, the chorus radio system and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights round out the array of standard equipment. Audi offers customers a range of optional features: black 19-inch alloy wheels with a red rim flange, bucket seats, inlays in the new Aluminum Race material and styling packages in black or matt aluminum.
Design and body
The new, dynamic top-of-the-line model in the A3 series reveals its potential from the very first glimpse. The single-frame grille, the defining element at the front of the car, features a high-gloss anthracite-colored insert with diamond-patterned styling. A frame in matt aluminum look encircles the grille, and an RS3 badge adorns it. Xenon plus lights are standard on the Audi RS3 Sportback, with integrated LED daytime running lights that form a striking contour.
The air intakes beneath the headlights have been significantly enlarged. Their boldly protruding edges direct air into the engine bay in a targeted manner - toward the seven-speed S tronic through the left intake, toward an additional radiator through the right intake. The turbocharger obtains its intake air through the upper part of the single-frame, and the intercooler sits behind the bottom segment of the grille. The fog lights are gone. The front apron also has a new look, with a horizontal splitter that raises the output shaft on the front suspension.
When viewed from the side, the broadly flared front fenders on the Audi RS3 Sportback immediately catch the eye. Made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), they provide a weight savings of 2.1 kilograms (4.63 lb) compared with standard steel-panel fenders. Chiseled side sills further accentuate the styling. The outside-mirror housings with integrated LED turn signals feature a matt aluminum look.
The redesigned rear bumpers on the RS3 Sportback include a high-gloss black diffuser insert that encircles the two large, elliptical exhaust tailpipes. Next to the license plate is an RS3 badge, and a long roof spoiler extends across the rear windshield. In perfect aerodynamic form, its middle segment is somewhat shorter than the two outside segments.
For customers who want even more ways to customize their car, Audi has put together two design packages. With the matt aluminum styling package, a number of parts - such as the rims around the air intakes and the upper edge of the diffuser insert - feature a matt aluminum look. With the black styling package from the Audi exclusive range, the Audi single-frame and the exhaust tailpipe trim come in high-gloss black.
The choice of finishes includes five exterior colors - Ibis White, Suzuka Gray metallic, Misano Red pearl effect, Daytona Gray pearl effect and Phantom Black pearl effect - in addition to an unlimited array of custom paints.
The Audi RS3 Sportback is 4.30 meters (14.11 ft) long, 1.79 meters (5.87 ft) wide, and 1.40 (4.59) meters high. It achieves a drag coefficient of cd 0.36 and has a frontal area of 2.16 sq m (23.25 sq ft). Its curb weight is 1,575 kilograms (3,472.28 lb). In its normal configuration, the luggage compartment has a capacity of 302 liters (10.67 cubic ft), but with the rear seatbacks folded down, it holds an impressive 1,032 liters (36.44 cubic ft). As options Audi also offers practical components, including a luggage compartment package and a load-through hatch with or without a ski bag.
A distinctive interior design with sporty circular air nozzles, perfect ergonomics and a no-holds-barred approach to quality in the selection and use of materials - these are all typical traits of the Audi A3 model line. In addition to these, the Audi RS3 Sportback comes with a host of special features.
The entire passenger compartment, including the roof lining, is a study in black. Inlays in Piano finish black are standard. Alternatively, the new Aluminium Race material and a selection of classy woods from the customization range are available as exclusive options. Silver piping borders the floor mats. The door sills, the tachometer, the seats, the steering wheel and the selector level for the seven-speed S tronic all feature RS3 badges. The pedals gleam with an aluminum finish.
The sport seats with prominent side bolsters provide excellent support for the body. They are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching. Featuring a heavily contoured rim, the triple-spoke leather multifunction sport steering wheel is flat-bottomed and wrapped in perforated leather complete with contrasting stitching. The shift paddles have a matt aluminum look.
The displays on the instrument cluster - black dials, white numbers and red needles - are designed with the RS styling. When the ignition starts, the needles on the speedometer and tachometer rise up briefly to their highest position, then fall back into place. The standard driver information system features an exclusive RS menu, with digital displays for the boost pressure and oil temperature, along with a lap timer for timing laps on the racetrack.
For decades, gasoline engines with turbocharging technology have been the domain of Audi - the five-cylinder TFSI in the Audi RS3 Sportback carries on the tradition of high-performance engines. From 2,480 cc of displacement, it draws 250 kW (340 hp) of power, which is available between 5,400 rpm and 6,500 rpm. Its specific output is 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter of displacement. The maximum torque is 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) - it is readily available at the low end of the rev range, around 1,600 rpm, and remains constant up to 5,300 revolutions.
The strengths of the five-cylinder engine, which celebrated its debut in the TT RS in 2009, have impressed expert audiences. Last year, a jury of 71 international journalists named the 2.5 TFSI "Engine of the Year" in the 2.0 to 2.5-liter category, giving Audi its sixth consecutive category win in the competition. In the five previous years, the 2.0 TFSI had taken the award.
A five-cylinder unit is an exceptional engine from its very concept. It has a firing interval of 144 degrees and a firing order of 1-2-4-5-3, with widely spaced cylinders firing in alternation with adjacent cylinders. This, supported by the intake and exhaust system, creates the unique rhythm and sound of the engine - the guttural roar that is the legendary spine-tingling sound of an Audi.
Located at the front end of the crankshaft is a torsional-vibration damper containing a viscous fluid. It compensates the "free moments" produced by the unit.
The 2.5-liter engine is ultra-compact. Just 494 millimeters (19.45 in) in length, the long-stroke unit (bore x stroke 82.5 x 92.8 millimeters (3.25 x 3.65 in) is ideally suited for transverse installation. Its features an 88-millimeter (3.46-in) spacing between cylinders, and of the six crankshaft main bearings, the ones on the outside have been offset slightly toward the inside. The engine's weight of 183 kilograms (403.45 lb) also sets a record. It keeps the Audi RS3 Sportback's total weight in check and pays off big in terms of axle-load distribution and, ultimately, handling.
The crankcase in the five-cylinder engine is made of vermicular-graphite cast iron. Audi is the first carmaker in the world to use this high-tech material, which is otherwise used only in diesel units, in a standard gasoline engine. The graphite included in this material, known as GJV-450, forms wormlike (vermicular) structures that increase the tensile strength. This enables the walls to be made thinner than with conventional gray cast iron, resulting in a lower weight. Reinforcements on the main-bearing pedestal and main-bearing cap further enhance the block's loadability.
The pistons in the 2.5 TFSI are made of cast aluminum with a heat-resistant alloy. Each weighs only 492 grams (17.35 oz), including the rings and pins. The pistons are designed for maximum loading. Tiny, perfectly arranged asymmetries on the barrels and slightly sloped skirt walls further increase their strength. The connecting rods are forged components. Sodium-cooled exhaust valves and hardened valve seat inserts are located inside the cylinder head, which is cast from an aluminum alloy.
Blazing acceleration: 0 - 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds
The Audi RS3 Sportback accelerates from a standing stop to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds - faster than any competitor in the compact category. Its superb pulling power allows it to pass other cars without the slightest effort. Top speed electronically is limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Underneath the hood lies the engine with its red cylinder-head cover exposed - a fascinating piece of technology and a treat for the eyes.
In terms of fuel consumption, the powerful five-cylinder engine is frugal, using on average just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg) and emitting 212 g CO2 per km (341.18 g/mile). This efficiency, which puts the Audi RS3 Sportback clearly ahead of its main competitors, can be attributed to the combination of FSI direct injection and turbocharging, two core competencies of the brand with the four rings. In motorsport, the toughest test laboratory in the world, TFSI technology has powered the Audi R8 to five final wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The injection system in the 2.5 TFSI is state-of-the-art. In a highly precise measuring method, the pressure sensor in the intake manifold performs load sensing for the control unit. Five individual flaps, which are actuated by negative pressure, mix the incoming air in a calculated configuration in the combustion chamber.
The common-rail system injects fuel into this tumble at pressures of up to 120 bar. The fuel swirls intensely in the combustion chamber, which in turn cools the walls. This solves an old problem with turbo technology - the tendency toward early spontaneous ignition of the mixture at hot spots in the combustion chamber. This "knocking" combustion is brought about by strong heat build-up at high compression. The cooling effect of the direct injection facilitates a high compression ratio of 10 : 1 along with a correspondingly high efficiency ratio.
The two camshafts in the head of the five-cylinder unit also enhance the efficiency of the filling. Each one is adjustable by 42 degrees of crankshaft rotation. They are driven by a two-stage chain drive consisting of an extremely quiet inverted tooth chain, a roller chain and an idler gear.
Turbo throughput: 335 liters (11.83 cubic ft) of air per second
The large turbocharger is generously sized, with a compressor wheel that measures 64 millimeters (2.52 in) in diameter at the outlet. At full load, the charger is able to compress up to 335 liters (11.83 cubic ft) of air and generates boost pressures of up to 1.2 bar. Its housing has a separate oil supply, and a dedicated water pump provides cooling. The intercooler lowers the temperature of the compressed air at full load, thereby achieving an efficiency of over 80 percent. Much effort has gone into optimizing the entire intake path to minimize pressure loss.
In the twin-scroll exhaust branch, development engineers focused on achieving low exhaust gas back pressure. The left tailpipe has a flap built into it. When closed, it forces the exhaust gas to take an alternate path, flowing over the rear muffler and exiting through the right tailpipe. It opens when the driver accelerates in higher load and rpm ranges. Now the exhaust takes a direct route to the outside, creating an even more robust, intense sound.
The driver can actuate the flap at any time by pressing the standard Sport button on the center console, thereby boosting or relaxing engine responsiveness.
The Audi RS3 Sportback is fitted as standard with a recuperation system that significantly lowers fuel consumption. During the coasting and braking phases, an intelligently regulated alternator converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy by increasing its secondary voltage. Then, when the Audi RS3 Sportback accelerates again, current flows out of the battery and back into the onboard electrical system. This relieves the load on the alternator, which can now operate at a lower voltage, and the engine doesn't have to sacrifice as much power for it.
Another efficiency technology in the 2.5 TFSI is the regulated oil pump. Smaller in terms of delivery rate, the volumetric-flow-controlled oil pump operates only as needed, and no longer needs to circulate oil continuously.
Audi delivers the Audi RS3 Sportback with the seven-speed S tronic as standard. The high-tech gearbox transmits power via three shafts: one drive shaft and two output shafts. This layout results in a short construction - a prerequisite for interaction with the transversely mounted engine.
Like all dual-clutch transmissions, the seven-speed S tronic in the Audi RS3 Sportback comprises two transmission structures. The shifting process takes place in hundredths of a second as the clutches switch. Shifts are fluid and extremely smooth, with no perceptible interruption of traction.
The S tronic operates with two multi-plate clutches. The large K1 clutch located on the outside conducts the torque from the engine via a solid shaft to the gear wheels for the odd gears 1, 3, 5 and 7. A hollow shaft rotates around the solid shaft. It is connected to the second, smaller K2 clutch, which is located inside its larger sibling, and which controls the gear wheels for the gears 2, 4 and 6, as well as reverse gear.
A carbon coating makes all of the synchronizer rings extremely durable. Gears one through three and reverse gear are switched via a triple-cone synchronizer. Housed on the outside of the transmission, the mechatronics module joins the control unit and the control and positioning valves into a compact, robust block. The mechatronics is capable of varying the shifting speed.
The seven-speed S tronic in the Audi RS3 Sportback has an oil volume that lubricates and cools - as well as drives - the wheel sets, clutches and components of the mechatronic system. A positioning valve regulates the oil flow to the clutches as needed, keeping it low in most situations. The transmission is designed for high efficiency in every range. Its seventh gear is very tall - a measure that lowers rotational speed, which in turn reduces consumption. The overall gear spread is 6.6 : 1.
The seven-speed S tronic can operate automatically in the two basic modes, D and S, or the driver can take control via a selector lever or with the paddles on the steering wheel. The launch control mode facilitates explosive sprints from a dead stop. By managing the interplay between the engines and clutches to perfection, it ensures ideal tire slip.
The added advantage: quattro permanent all-wheel drive
Like every RS model, the Audi RS3 Sportback has quattro permanent all-wheel drive as standard. Its characteristic strength is an extra measure of slip-free acceleration, vehicle dynamics, driving safety and directional stability. The powerful compact car delivers a dynamic, stable performance under any driving style, even in difficult winter conditions. When exiting corners, it transmits its power to the road even in situations where the competition is still struggling just to get a grip with its two driven wheels.
The central component of the quattro drive in the Audi RS3 Sportback is a multi-plate clutch that is controlled electronically and actuated hydraulically. In order to achieve a favorable axle load distribution, it is mounted at the end of the propeller shaft upstream of the rear differential. Located in the interior of the clutch is a plate package bathed in oil. The metal friction rings are arranged in sets of two, one behind the other. One ring in each set is permanently engaged with the housing that rotates with the propeller shaft, while the other is permanently engaged with the output shaft to the rear differential.
Under normal driving conditions, the clutch directs the majority of the engine power to the front wheels. If a loss of traction occurs there, the clutch is able to continuously redirect the torque input toward the rear by pressing the clutch plates together within a few milliseconds. A pressure accumulator helps the electric pump build up the oil pressure required for this process, which can exceed 100 bar. If a wheel on a given axle begins to spin, the electronic differential lock (EDL) brakes it as necessary.
The Audi RS3 Sportback is a consummate driving machine. It takes to curves eagerly, almost voraciously, and moves through them with supreme agility. Its stability limit is extremely high. The responsive steering grants the driver precise control of the car.
The front suspension is a MacPherson strut construction with lower wishbones. The pivot bearings, axle support and transverse links are made of aluminum. The subframe, also made of aluminum, is bolted to the body at six points, providing added stiffness. The front suspension has a 1,564-millimeter (61.57 in) track.
The rack-and-pinion steering has an electromechanical drive. Its power assist is based on the driving speed, with reworked characteristics that underscore the dynamic character of the Audi RS3 Sportback. Because the system consumes no energy when driving straight ahead, it is extremely efficient, lowering fuel consumption by roughly 0.2 liters per 100 km. A steering ratio of 16.2 : 1 was chosen for sporty-direct handling.
Integrated with the sensors of the ESP stabilization program, the steering automatically makes slight corrections whenever the Audi RS3 Sportback deviates from a straight course, due to crosswinds, for instance. A second function intervenes when the car is on the verge of skidding: It stops the driver from making steering corrections that would make the situation worse by temporarily reducing the power assist, making it harder to steer in effect. Accurate corrections, on the other hand, are facilitated with increased servo power - a measure that significantly enhances safety.
The four-link rear suspension is capable of handling longitudinal and lateral forces separately. The longitudinal links absorb drive forces and braking forces. For the sake of ride comfort, they are relatively resilient. The three transverse links at each wheel - the spring control arm, the upper transverse link and the track rod - are stiffly joined to the axle support, however, in the interest of vehicle dynamics. Structurally separated coil springs and shock absorbers provide the vertical support.
The rear axle, whose control arms are made of high-strength steel, has a track measuring 1,528 millimeter (60.16 in). A subframe is used at the rear as well.
Compared with the A3 Sportback, the elastokinematics of the rear control arms has been modified slightly, and the shock absorbers have also been reengineered. The body of the new top-of-the-line model has been lowered by 25 millimeters (0.98 in).
Style writ large: standard 19-inch wheels
The Audi RS3 Sportback is fitted with series 8 J x 19 cast aluminum wheels in 5-arm "Rotor" design. The wheels come standard with machine-polished titanium-look styling, but are optionally available in black with a red rim flange. The front tires are size 235/55, whereas the tires at the rear are 10 millimeters (0.39 in) narrower. This gives the handling an even more dynamic character when the driver accelerates out of corners. A repair kit comes standard. Audi also offers optional factory-installed 18 or 19-inch winter tires.
The large wheels have powerful brakes behind them. All four disks are internally ventilated and measure 310 millimeters (12.20 in) in diameter at the rear axle and 370 millimeters (14.57 in) at the front axle. The 32-millimeter (1.26 in) front friction rings are perforated to further increase heat dissipation. They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake caps. Four-piston calipers, painted black and adorned with RS badges, grip the front disks. The calipers are also made of aluminum, a measure that reduces the unsprung masses.
The ESP stabilization program is configured for sporty driving and can be deactivated in two stages. In the first stage, Sport mode, engine interventions cease to occur, and brake interventions are deferred. In the second stage, ESP is fully deactivated - ideal for skilled drivers who want to put the Audi RS3 Sportback through all its paces on a racetrack.
Equipment and trim
Audi has given the RS3 Sportback an extensive array of equipment and trim. The standard-package highlights include quattro permanent all-wheel drive, 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, the RS3 leather multifunction sport steering wheel and sport seats in Fine Nappa leather. A two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioner, the Sport button, a hill-start assist feature, a rear parking system, an anti-theft system, the chorus radio system and a sun shield for the rear windshield round out the portfolio.
The dynamic compact car is equipped with front airbags that deploy in two stages, according to the severity of the crash. Belt tensioners and force limiters protect the driver and front passenger. Even the outboard rear seats are fitted with belt force limiters. During a rear impact, the integral head restraint system supports and protects the back of the head; front side airbags and the Audi head airbag system are at the ready in the event of a side impact.
Numerous extras have been designed especially for the Audi RS3 Sportback, including bucket seats with integrated headrests, for example. Their Fine Nappa leather covers are black, with silver stitching for a contrasting effect.
The Audi exclusive range includes a special design package for this seat version, in which the inside sections of the side bolsters and the upper part of the backrest are adorned with diamond stitching in crimson red. The steering wheel, selector lever gaiter, and parking brake lever have matching red contrasting stitching. A coordinated color is used for the piping on the floor mats.
For the standard sport seats, special upholstery is available in an Alcatara/leather combination or in Audi exclusive Fine Nappa leather. Audi also offers a coordinated, extended leather package for the armrests on the doors and the knee pads on the center console. The front seats can be made even more sophisticated with power-adjustment, lumbar support and heaters. A center armrest complete with a storage compartment and heaters for the outer rear seats complete the seating amenities.
Audi also offers a broad portfolio of additional equipment options. They include two radio systems and two navigation systems, a Bose sound system with ten speakers, cruise control, an automatic anti-dazzle interior mirror with a light/rain sensor, a lighting package for the interior, a high-beam assistant and the dynamic adaptive light curve illumination system. An acoustic windshield, tinted rear windows and sun blinds round out the range on offer.
Like its sibling model from the RS lineup, the Audi RS3 Sportback was developed by quattro GmbH. It is already the fourth model to be built at Audi Hungaria and is rolling off the assembly line at the Győr plant alongside the TT Coupé, the TT Roadster and the A3 Cabriolet. Deliveries of the Audi RS3 Sportback are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2011. Prices in Germany will start at 49,900 euros.