Published by

John Whittle


August 4, 2021

Towards the end of July, the undisguised Audi RS3 Sedan and Sportback broke light after a rather lengthy teaser campaign. Fast forward a week and a bit and the RS3, in sedan-guise, has proven just how spectacular its vast array of new technology is, having set a lap time of 7 minutes 40,748 seconds around the industry-standard proving ground, a lap record for compact cars; the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

As Audi puts it, “the basis for the record is the interplay of top technologies.” More specifically, the new carbon-ceramic brakes up front of the Audi RS3 Sedan, the superb 2,5-litre TFSI in-line five – which has won the “International Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row – newly developed shock absorbers along with adaptive dampers and increased camber both front and rear.

The headline item, however, is Audi’s trick new RS Torque splitter – similar to what Mitsubishi pioneered in their Evo models, the RS3 no longer features a clutch upstream of the rear axle differential, but rather a clutch on each of the rear driveshafts. Each clutch can open, close or half-engage, thus allowing the seamless transfer of torque to either rear wheel. This aids stability and agility and forms the basis of the new ‘RS Torque Rear’ aka Drift Mode, but more importantly, allows the driver to place the vehicle more precisely into corners and then power out of them earlier and with more confidence than before. As a result, the Audi RS3 Sedan is able to scythe through the Nordschleife’s 154 corners with aplomb.

“For me, the torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving.” That is particularly apparent in combination with the newly developed RS Performance driving mode, which, with its own engine and transmission characteristics, is specially calibrated for the racetrack,” said Frank Stippler, the driver who set the lap record.

In addition to all of the above, the Audi RS3 Sedan is now available for the first time with Pirelli P Zero “Trofeo R” semi-slick tires as factory fitment.

The all-new RS 3 is set to arrive in South Africa in Q3 of 2022 – read more about it here.

Article written by

John Whittle

Related articles

DRIVEN: Audi A3 Sportback 35 TFSI Advanced Tiptronic

Facelifted Audi Q5 range arrives in South Africa. We have pricing!

Audi S1 still not confirmed for subcompact hatch, product boss says

Audi Skysphere concept breaks cover as the future of luxury motoring


Which of the current Volkswagen R models would get your vote?

Golf R


T-Roc R


Tiguan R


Arteon R


Touareg R