The latest Audi RS 3 has made its debut in saloon form at the Paris Motor Show.
The 174mph RS 3 becomes the first saloon in Audi’s history to use a transversely-mounted configuration for its five-cylinder 2.5 TFSI powerplant which delivers 400PS and 480 Nm of torque.
The compact saloon can sprint from rest to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds. Maximum speed is limited to 155mph as standard but, upon request, Audi will increase this to 174mph.
With a light-alloy crankcase, the five-cylinder engine is 26kg lighter than before. It uses a dual injection into the intake manifold and the combustion chambers, as well as the Audi valvelift system for variable control of the exhaust valves.
The S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission transfers power to the quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Its electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch distributes the drive torque variably between the axles.
All-wheel drive quattro management is integrated as a standard feature in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, as are the steering, S tronic, engine management and the adjustable exhaust flaps. The driver can individually vary the operation of these components between the three modes: comfort, auto and dynamic. The same is true for the optional RS sport suspension plus with adaptive damper control.
Wheel-selective torque control, an intelligent software feature of the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC), assists in fast cornering by slightly braking the inside wheels, which are under a reduced load in order to transmit greater lateral power, to make handling more fluid and stable, says Audi.
In addition, the RS-specifically tuned ESC comes with a sport mode for controlled drifting, although the ESC can also be fully deactivated for those seeking a more engaging drive.
Riding 25mm lower than the standard model – the RS 3 Saloon sports 19-inch wheels and 235/35 tyres as standard with 255/30 tyres available as an option up front. Compared with a regular A3, the front track of the RS 3 Saloon is 20mm wider, and the front wheel arches are flared accordingly, while at the rear, the track is wider by 14mm.
The Singleframe grille with its three-dimensional honeycomb design bears the quattro logo along the bottom. Underneath, a blade extends across the entire width of the front into the side air inlets, where it forms narrow funnels for better air flow through the wheel arches. LED headlights with daytime running lights are standard; Audi also offers matrix LED headlights as an option.
At the rear, there’s a fixed spoiler lip on the bootlid which is said to improve air flow separation, a diffuser insert with vertical struts and large twin oval tailpipes of the RS exhaust system. Audi exclusively offers the RS-specific paint colours Nardo grey and Catalunya red as options.
The dark-toned interior features illuminated door sills bearing the RS 3 logos as a standard. Black Nappa leather sport seats with RS logos on the backrests are standard but more contoured RS verions with integrated head restraints are available on the options list. The RS sport leather steering wheel is flattened at the bottom while inlays on the instrument panel and the doors complete the customary Audi Sport touches.
The Audi RS 3 saloon is expected to go on sale in the UK soon, but prices and specification have yet to be confirmed.