I find that the road cars on the racecourses are very interesting. In fact, I like driving road cars on racetracks. Although it is fun and good to know how a vehicle behaves to the limit, running on a track provides little information about driving on the car in question. That said, I always do my best to cover both nutball and grandma driving.
My first impression of the 2018 Audi RS3 came when I jumped into a lane on the track at Lime Rock Park Racecourse. I found myself stuck between two other RS3. We were prepared to do a follow-up session on the track since most of the journalists in attendance had never seen the front runway, much less trained. I’ve sank to Lime Rock over and over over the years and this can certainly surprise you if you take it off, so starting with a lead tracking session was a good idea.
The three RS3 were to follow an Audi R8 V10 Plus driven by Stephan Reil, chief technical development of Audi. The thoughts of what is not a fair fight began to percolate in my mind. I quickly turned to reality – we are testing cars for Automobile here, Pilgrim; Your next race is in Portugal, not here at Lime Rock, so leave the R8 alone. Yes of course. What an idiot of me.
Here is some important information that many enthusiasts already know: most street cars, performance or otherwise, will be understeering at the limit of the right-of-way in a ride. This is true for the track and the street. Companies rely on understeer on most street cars for safety reasons because they are easier to control. Simply remove the gas and the vehicle usually returns in line.
In my experience, installing a street car on a trail usually means doing everything you can to prevent the under-interpretation from making its way to the grandmother’s house. This involves “cheating” the back of the corners, as usually the front can not do it. I always want to be able to handle the rear of any car in order to enjoy the drive (street) or go faster (track).
We were at the forefront of speed in no time. Reil was not dragging, and the RS3 was responding well. I used the lightest steering weight – Comfort Mode – because I tend to have light inputs (no kill). Our track cars featured optional 14.6-inch ceramic front brakes and the largest 25-inch / 19-inch front tires. (The basic configuration is 235 / 35R-19.) During our laps, I would return from the vehicle in front to give me enough room to push the car to the limit.
Immediately after the first lap, the configuration of the RS3 chassis is coherent and compliant despite the most rigid configuration: dynamic mode. I could turn the car comfortably at the entrance of the corner without it being felt. This ability to control rotation and effectively eliminate understeer has allowed me to take serious corner speeds. In fact, after just a few rounds, I was confident in cutting the back of each corner. I could even do this by entering the very right and bumped down on the right forehead on the right forehead. The RS was happy to have a nice slip angle (not drifting) and even allowed me to adjust the slip angle to half-height if I needed to. I left the car in full Dynamic mode, and I did not turn off the stability control. After only three rounds – that’s all we have – I can confidently say that the RS3 would be a good partner to make passengers risk their cigarette butts or vomit in a fairly short order. This is very fun.
The RS3 engine is ready to tip as soon as you get on the gas. The all-new 2.5-liter turbo-five discharges 400 horsepower between 5,850 and 7,000 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque between 1,700 and 5,850 rpm. Audi says 3.9 seconds to zero at 60 mph, I say nuts – it feels faster. The engine looks excellent with the unique tear roar to five-cylinder turbos. This is particularly gentle with the sport exhaust option; I would never buy this car without it. Estimates of fuel economy are 19 mpg city, 28 mpg hwy.
Front-wheel drive cars, all-wheel-drive, are always heavy in the nose, so gaining weight on the nose is a good thing. The new engine is 57 pounds lighter than the latest generation version and is probably a measurable contributor to the RS3 processing capability. The gearbox is a seven-speed S tronic double speed.
I started my drive from RS3 Street from the Lime Rock Way parking lot. At the speed of the pedestrians, I felt a serious support of the suspension and I decided to stop understanding the settings. It turned out that I was back in Dynamic mode, the same setting we had used on the track, where he felt compliant. Now it was very sporty.
That’s exactly what I meant by the racetrack, which is usually not a good indicator of the feel of a car on the street. I finally found the Comfort mode, the softest setting, to be my favorite on the roads around Lime Rock. I could sculpt the angles at a pace below the capabilities of the RS3 while enjoying a smile from ear to ear.
There was only once, when I arrived on a flock of more than 40 years who covered the road around a blind turn, where the RS3 had to get out of bed to react. He did it with zero drama. No birds were affected; We can thank the brakes for that. Whether you adhere to steel or opt for the ceramic option, the brakes are superb and the stability control works very well. Great brakes are essential when you have such a ripping motor, because the RS3 builds a serious speed very quickly.
I am not a fan of technological packages in most modern cars. I stop the car when I have to understand things. I think operating infotainment systems are extremely entertaining, whether by voice, touch or sight. With all my attention focused on it, I found the Audi system reasonably intuitive and user-friendly. I like the ability to make individual adjustments for the weight, suspension, differential and steering gearbox. The navigation was pre-set for us and worked perfectly on a beautiful back road.
The seats offer excellent support on the racecourse and on the street. The interior looks upmarket for me, and the control layout makes sense. As usual with vehicles these days, the steering wheel has too many things for my tastes. I would check the option for nothing on a steering wheel every time. Of course, nobody gives you that choice.
I always liked the four-door sedans. They usually work in a way that is out of proportion to their appearance – unexpected, perhaps. The RS3 has a new front fascia, rear bumper and diffuser, but it always seems subtle. It may not be a particular attention, but it certainly delivers the goods.
I have trouble thinking about something that will compete with the RS3. I’ve heard about Cadillac ATS-V and BMW M3, but they’re between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 more expensive and are slower, even if they’re a little bigger.
The base price for 2013 RS3 is $ 55,875. (A limited number of 2017 models arrived in the United States with a slightly lower price of $ 55,450, but these examples are sold.) I would add the $ 1,000 sport exhaust subject. I do not know how many RS3 will eventually come to the US market, but I suspect this might not be enough. A time of less than 4 seconds from 0 to 60 will hamper a lot of very expensive equipment. It’s a four-door fun.
2018 Audi RS3 Specifications
|ENGINE||2.5L turbo DOHC 20-valve I-5/400 hp @ 5,850-7,000 rpm, 354 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,850 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine AWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||19/28 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||176.3 x 77.2 x 55.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.9 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph (174 mph with optional Dynamic Plus Package)|
source : http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-rs3-review-first-drive/