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2022 Audi RS3 Overview: A Compact Sedan With Premium Features Inside

Image Source: Dmitry Eagle Orlov / Shutterstock

The Audi RS3 stands out as one of the most enjoyable small sedans to drive and for the new model year, we are greeted with a fresh iteration. The latest RS3 showcases increased dimensions compared to its predecessor, boasting more assertive styling and a robust 401 horsepower engine to propel you swiftly to your destination.

Staying true to its roots, the RS3 shares its foundation with the A3 and S3 models, but it receives numerous enhancements that set it apart from the sporty S3. This new RS3 sits nearly an inch lower than the base A3, with the front track widened by 1.3 inches compared to the previous RS3. The design remains subtly elegant, but the prominent black grille, aggressive air intakes, and darkened headlights at the front signify the special nature of the RS3. Moving to the rear, you’ll find a discreet lip spoiler and an updated bumper with glossy black accents and a black diffuser positioned between the dual oval exhaust tips.

Under the hood, the RS3 boasts a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder engine that churns out 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, representing a boost of 7 horsepower and 15 lb-ft. Interestingly, the North American variant offers more power than its European counterpart. Power from the engine is efficiently distributed to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. Notably, the RS3 in North America delivers a more resonant exhaust note compared to the European version, given the absence of the particulate filter. While there might be some initial turbo lag at lower revs, once the RS3 gains momentum, it truly comes to life.

Equipped with such ample power, the RS3 accelerates from 0-60 mph in a swift 3.6 seconds, an improvement of 0.3 seconds over the previous model. Beyond sheer speed, the Quattro all-wheel drive system introduces a new RS Torque Rear Splitter rear differential that enhances control over torque distribution between the front and rear, while also adding lateral torque-vectoring capabilities. The RS Torque Splitter features two multi-disc clutches that can direct up to 100 percent of the available torque to each rear wheel, making it exceptionally thrilling to navigate through corners.

The RS3 offers six distinct driving modes, each dictating the power transfer between the front and rear wheels. In Comfort mode, the emphasis is on the front wheels, while Auto mode balances the torque distribution. Dynamic mode, on the other hand, sends most power to the rear wheels. Additionally, the RS drive modes, namely RS Torque Rear and RS Performance, cater to controlled drifts and track performance optimization, respectively. For those desiring more customization, the RS Individual mode allows drivers to tailor settings related to the powertrain, suspension, steering, and exhaust note to their preferences.

Introducing a new RS Sport adaptive suspension, the RS3 incorporates hydraulically adjustable dampers in lieu of the previous magnetic units. Audi claims that the Dynamic Chassis Control system (DCC) facilitates automatic or personalized adjustments to the suspension. Even in the softest Comfort mode, the suspension retains a firm feel, albeit with enhancements over its predecessor. Transitioning to Dynamic mode automatically firms up the suspension, elevating the RS3’s cornering prowess with minimal body roll. While the suspension beckons for more aggressive driving, a tad more steering feedback would be appreciated.

As you push the RS3 into a corner with vigor, it responds effortlessly, accompanied by delightful burbles from the exhaust as you unleash the engine’s power. Braking performance benefits from larger front brakes with improved cooling by 20 percent. The front end receives 6-piston calipers, while the rear employs a single-piston caliper. For those seeking further performance, ceramic brakes are available as an option, reducing overall weight by 22 pounds and offering greater resistance to brake fade.

Starting at $59,995 including destination charges, the 2022 Audi RS3 offers a comprehensive package. Standard features include a 12.3-inch digital cluster, 8-way power front sport seats, nappa leather, panoramic sunroof, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen with wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility. Given the array of standard equipment, the potent 401-hp engine, and upgraded suspension, the RS3 presents excellent value.

For enthusiasts in search of an engaging, non-electrified compact sedan, the 2022 Audi RS3 deserves serious consideration. The exhilarating experience it offers is simply irresistible.

Image Source: Dmitry Eagle Orlov / Shutterstock

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