The Audi RS3 has gone through an extensive overhaul and is said now to be quicker than its arch-enemy the Mercedes-AMG A45S.
The modern hot hatch today is a much different machine compared to the ones in the seventies all the way up to the late nineties. They used to be lightweight, fun to drive and had just enough horsepower to get your heart pumping fast.
However, these days, hot hatches are packed with sports car levels of power, blistering acceleration, and drifting abilities - and the ones that are at the top of this new hot hatch game is Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
We all pretty much concede that the Mercedes-AMG A45S is probably the king of the hot hatches at the moment. Still, Audi wasn't going to sit back and watch them rule the streets, which is why they have completely overhauled their Audi RS3 to make it arguably nimbler and faster than its arch-enemy, the A45S.
New features in the 2022 Audi RS3 include a completely new drivetrain, which surprisingly sees the ditching of their classical FWD biased Haldex all-wheel-drive system for a Magna supplied torque splitter system. According to Audi, this move has improved the handling of the hot hatch and opened up the car's ability to dance sideways.
So how does the new 2022 Audi hatchback from Audi Sport stack up against the Mercedes-AMG A45S? Let's first take a look at some quick facts.
|Engine||2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic||Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|0-100km/h||3.8 seconds||3.9 seconds|
|Can it dance (drift mode)||Yes||Yes|
As you can see from the table, despite the lower number of ponies under the hood, the 2022 Audi RS3 can do the 0-100 sprint marginally faster than the Mercedes and about two tenths slower than its bigger sibling, the V8 powered RS6 wagon. This makes the RS3 the fastest accelerating small car currently in production.
According to Audi, the revised DCT transmission and the longer-lasting maximum torque is responsible for this blistering acceleration, but we'll have to see what real-world tests reveal to be really sure of its capabilities.
Apparently, the Audi RS3 also has a 30km/h advantage when it comes to top speed, as it can now do 280mk/h, opposed to the A45S's 250km/h (electronically limited). The 280km/h top speed can be unleashed at an additional cost, but as standard, the Audi RS3 has the same top speed as the A45S.
The inclusion of this RS torque splitter sounds like it is mainly there to give the RS3 some drifting capabilities just to match the A45S's drift mode. But according to Audi, it is there to give the car better traction, where the new rear differential can infinitely vary the amount of torque sent to each rear wheel – "significantly reducing the tendency to understeer" making it a much faster car around the corners.
These are all claimed at the moment as the RS3 will only arrive in the first quarter of 2022, so we will have to see whether it can do what it claims when it hits the road - as it's just too close of a call between both cars.
All we know is that we love the sound of a five-cylinder engine, which instantly makes the Audi a winner in our books. This new RS torque splitter will also give the Audi Sport hatchback a new feel, over the tried and tested Haldex system which it has been using for the longest time.