[VIDEO] Audi RS3 Sportback, sportiest at Mugello: With the RS Torque Splitter it also goes sideways!

We tested the new Audi RS3 Sportback on the track at Mugello: five cylinders, 400 horsepower, 500 Nm of torque. But the best part is another, it’s called the RS Torque Splitter. Which along with Pirelli’s semi-smooth tires certainly turned our day around

The new Audi RS3 Sportback, minus possible evolutions during its life cycle, it is the last of its kind before an inevitable transition to electrification. When you see it, you think it’s a shame, but after you drive it, it becomes so almost a drama. Her pga.

Audi has chosen to let us try the new one RS3 Sportback on the Mugello track, because if you present a car with the statement “The track, by default”, you must be able to prove it. The Audi Sport series consists of 16 different cars, pure electric and hypercars included, but the RS3 is still something special. It is no coincidence that it represents 65% of its market segment, that of high-performance C-segment cars. A result that does not leave much room for interpretation if we think of the type of Audi RS3 Sportback customers who are notoriously looking for a product to tick three rather distant fields with: taste in driving, comfort in everyday life and track day power. Specifically at the heart of the project is still the nine-time in-line 5-cylinder winner of the Engine of the Year award, a 2.5-liter TFSI that in this configuration offers 400 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque maximum. Side note for mechanical lovers, the irregular ignition of cylinders with 1-2-4-5-3 pattern: it sounds loud, it sounds good.

Time attack set-up for Audi RS3 Sportback

Audi RS3 Sportback Mugello

There, on Mugello’s hills, we drove the new RS3 Sportback in its maximum expression, ie with package RS Dynamic Plus and tires Pirelli PZero Trofeo R, new semi-slick tires with asymmetrical tread from the Audi catalog. In this configuration, the machine covers “zero to one hundred” in just 3.8 seconds with start control before it reaches one self-limiting maximum speed of 290 km / h. To bring the sport with the four rings closer to running on the track, we find a wide list of first fruits: setup lowered by 25 mm, DCC adaptive adjustment suspension, an extra degree of camber, extended track and, for the first time on RS3, carbon ceramic brakes.

But on closer inspection, it’s all the details that hit the new generation of the quattro drive, controlled by two electro-hydraulic clutches with what Audi calls RS Torque Splitter. It’s one of the ways in which the Audi RS3 Sportback stands out from the competition, and one of the reasons why the car can be both fun and efficient. The small understeer that could have been noticed earlier therefore makes room for a strong tendency for controlled oversteer, thanks to the active (and variable) distribution of torque between the rear wheels. In three words, drift on request. The car then adds new driving modes (RS Performance, RS Individual and RS Torque Rear), which can be reached via a magic button that allows the car to drive down into corners with smoking wheels. It is certainly easier (and in a sense safe) than a rear-wheel drive, but nonetheless satisfactory.

On the track with the Audi RS3 Sportback

Audi RS3 Test Mugello

If you like racing, Mugello is a special place. It is a circuit born in the hills, which means that there is not ten meters of asphalt on the plains, and it is also an extremely fast circuit. And not just for the straight stretch of over a kilometer leading to San Donato, the first turn: Mugello is all a dance, soft but crucial, which requires respect and the foot well away from the accelerator. Above all, the circuit was born exactly for what we went to do, which is to test fast cars. Horses are tasted at Mugello, but also stability. You try the changes of direction, the bends in the support, the braking system. We have three shifts with the car. The first to get acquainted with the circuit, the other two took time.

We tell you about it based on the sensations: this Audi RS3 Sportback is almost maternal, so sure it gives you a confidence you did not know you had, and so efficient that it makes you feel like a driver. It’s a machine that allows you to make mistakes and find the speed step by step, which is what it takes to go fast: you go too high, she forgives you, because the engine is always full, but if you get in too hard in the corners, it stays planted without breaking. The RS3 Sportback is beautiful to drive, perfect for Mugello who ends up shrinking in an instant like cashmere in the washing machine. It requires a little psychological commitment at the entrance to Casanova-Savelli and the Arrabbiat, otherwise a round of speed and ease. A great help, in this sense, is given to us semi-smooth tires: The Pirelli PZero Trofeo Rs gives us deadly brake safety back, even after several laps. And at the end of the day, with the cars passing through the hands of a dozen heavy-footed journalists, the tires are still there, exploited, but not destroyed, capable of still giving so much. With a different car, Mugello is scary, with it it becomes a game.

Technically compared to before, the car has changed a lot both in the approach to the corner and in the exit. In the first case, the front comes in precisely and responds in an instant to the steering wheel controls, in the second, there is much less understeer. On the contrary, if you ask him with bad manners, the car tends to turn backwards. The 7-speed S Tronic gearbox makes driving fast, intuitive. Everything is easy, even lowering the times. The first stage of braking, with straight wheels, is also impressive when I 380 mm front washers they nail the car: The braking force does not lose power as the revs go, and modulation with the brake is simpler than you might imagine. The new Audi RS3 Sportback is refined, has plenty of electronics, four-wheel drive and automatic transmission, but if you think that means you have to give up driving pleasure, you are clearly mistaken. Try it, try to resist it.

Equipment, versions and prices of the Audi RS3 Sportback

Audi RS3 Sportback has a list price of 61,700 euros in the Sportback version which becomes 64,800 euros with sedan body. The setup (for all details we refer to our price list) is in both cases extremely complete. Among the many options available, we then point to the package RS Dynamic Plus for € 7,850 euros, most of which is due to the carbon ceramic plant that can be purchased alone for 5,980 euros. The car has been on Audi’s price lists since July 2021, with the first deliveries – due to the delicate global situation – expected in about three hundred days.

Finally

It is not a limited edition, otherwise this Audi RS3 would have everything to become a cult car for enthusiasts. She is aggressive in her lines, very fast, nice to drive. More than anything else, however, it manages to restore the versatility that is increasingly difficult to find in a car these days: then take the kids to school, go shopping there and then drive on the track. And not on a map track, in a Formula 1 circuit.

Audi RS3 Sportback series

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