FIRST DRIVE

POWER PLAY

The new Audi RS 3 Sportback delivers five-door practicality with a five-cylinder 400PS punch. We fire it up and go for a drive


WRITER Katie Johnstone

You know the new Audi RS 3 Sportback is something special as soon as you start the engine. Blip the throttle and the richly guttural exhaust note ripples through the cabin in rhythmic sonic waves. So you blip it some more, while your barely contained sense of anticipation builds at the thought of such performance set to be unleashed.

The spine-tingling introduction comes courtesy of the five-cylinder turbocharged engine. With a generous capacity of 2.5 litres producing 400PS, this is the most potent production five-cylinder engine in history. Back in the 1980s, Audi relied on five-cylinder turbocharged power to clinch four world rally titles.

Accelerate hard and the performance floods in. The 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.1 seconds as the turbocharged surge pushes you back in your seat from as little as 1700rpm. On a racetrack, that’s followed by a linear lunge of speed through to 5850rpm.

4.1 SECONDS

A FIVE-CYLINDER TURBOCHARGED
ENGINE AND QUATTRO DRIVE PROPEL
THE NEW AUDI RS 3 SPORTBACK FROM
REST TO 62MPH IN JUST 4.1 SECONDS

The seven-speed S tronic gearbox quickly engages the next gear for a seemingly never-ending cycle of acceleration – and there is the option to increase the top speed to 174mph where legal.

Naturally, quattro all-wheel-drive technology is more than a match for all of this performance, automatically shifting torque between the front and rear wheels depending on available levels of grip. It’s a fast-acting, seamless system, ensuring that the RS 3 serves up the perfect response in any given situation. Squeeze the throttle on the exit of a corner and the car grips and goes – no scrabble, no fuss, just grin-inducing traction.

With the RS sports suspension and RS braking system, the RS 3 steps up a level, cornering even more confidently and crushing speed in the blink of an eye to involve the driver even more deeply in the experience.

Along with phenomenal performance, the RS 3 Sportback offers a well-specified, luxurious cabin, generous space for passengers and luggage, plus the very latest technology.

You sink down into the supportive black Fine Nappa leather sports seats with embossed RS emblems and grip the leather flat-bottomed steering wheel. MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch also comes as standard, as does the Audi Smartphone Interface, while Audi Connect Infotainment Services keep you up to speed with everything from fuel prices and weather to news and traffic.

But, days after your last drive, it’s the intoxicating sound of the RS 3 Sportback’s five-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes you want to head back out and fire it up all over again.

AUDI RS 3 SPORTBACK

On sale summer 2016
Engine 2.5 TFSI 400PS
Transmission seven-speed S tronic
Drivetrain quattro all-wheel drive
0-62mph 4.1 seconds*
Top speed 155mph*
Efficiency 

34mpg combined*,†

189g/km CO2†*

*Provisional figures. †Standard EU test figure for comparative purposes and may not reflect real driving results

400PS

THE RS 3 SPORTBACK’S 2.5-LITRE
FIVE-CYLINDER TURBOCHARGED
ENGINE PRODUCES A STAGGERING
400PS AND 480NM OF TORQUE

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