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2022 Audi RS3 Review: Back and Bold As Ever

Man of Many UK logo Man of Many UK 8/5/2022 Ben McKimm

There are 100 different ways to get to 100km/h in under 4 seconds in 2022 but few are as exciting for $100,000 AUD as the 2022 Audi RS3. One of the most important cars on the road today for its engine alone, the RS3 carries the lineage of Audi 5-cylinders, and although their aural symphony might be hampered by emissions regulations the car featured below is a big green slap to the face of all those who want it gone.

We jumped at the opportunity to attend the Australian press launch in Adelaide and experienced the new Audi RS3 on the track, road, and as a passenger to really get a taste of what the new model is all about.

Related: How does the 2022 BMW M240i compare to the Audi RS3? Find out here.

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Image: Audi Australia

2022 Audi RS3 Overview

2022 Audi RS3 Specifications
Engine Inline 5-cylinder turbo
Power 294kW @ 5600-7000rpm
Torque 500Nm @ 2250-5600rpm
Transmission 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch
Drive type Quattro permanent AWD
Weight (unladen) 1570kg
Fuel consumption (combined) 8.3l/100km

What Engine Does it Have?

The new Audi RS3 features the same 2.5-litre TFSI 5-Cylinder engine that we know and love. A recipient of the ‘International Engine of the Year’ award 9 times in a row the car is as equally as respected by the engineers of the world as it is gearheads for its aural experience. Boasting 294kw of power and 500Nm of torque (up 20Nm on the previous generation) it’s quick, to say the least.

How Fast is it?

Just how fast is the new Audi RS3? Well thanks to improvements in torque, power delivery with launch control, and wider tires, the car can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds with launch control switched on. The quoted number is three-tenths of a second faster than the previous generation car.

How Much Does it Cost?

The Audi RS3 Sportback is priced from $91,391 AUD before on-road costs, while the sedan costs from $93,891 AUD before on-road costs. Our launch vehicles were fitted with a number of different options for us to experience and by ticking every option on the list you’ll max out a 2022 Audi RS3 Sportback at $118,041 AUD before on-road costs.

The list of optional accessories is as follows;

  • RS design package plus (only Red or Green) – $2150 AUD
  • Carbon package limited – $5000 AUD
  • RS dynamic package plus (red, blue, or grey callipers) – $13,000 AUD
  • Matte aluminium styling package – $2000 AUD
  • 19-inch Audi Sport wheels in black with graphics – $500 AUD
  • Black roof – $700 AUD
  • Black badges – $700 AUD
  • Panoramic sunroof $2600 AUD

Paint colours are an NCO on the 2022 Audi RS3 and include Turbo Blue, Kyalami Green, Glacier White, Kemora Grey, Mythos Black, Python Yellow, Tango Red, and Daytona Grey.

Related: Only 23 Audi RS 7 Exclusive Editions Will Be Sold

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Image: Audi Australia

2022 Audi RS3 Performance Test

On Track

Our first experience of the new Audi RS3 came on track. After driving a few warm-up laps in the final of Audi Australia’s R8s we jumped behind the wheel of a Tango Red RS3 to tackle a few laps of The Bend Motorsport Park in Adelaide.

First impressions were strong but you could tell that by looking at the thing. A glance and your eyes are drawn to the blown-up front wheel arches of the new RS3, we check the sidewall and realise the car is tucking massively wide 265/30 R19 tires. The front arches are 33mm wider than the previous generation and the rear is 10mm wider. If you threw a racing livery on the car it wouldn’t look out of place on a TCR Australia test day and it’s reflected in the driving experience on the track.

The car has been designed in the name of rear rotation. You drive the car on its front wheels and the massive 375mm front brakes come into their own and lighten the rear end for turn-in. Work on positioning the car on the apex and get hard into the throttle to tell the Quattro All-wheel Drive System and new RS torque splitter you don’t want an ounce of understeer.

With a lateral grip lacking slightly due to tires – overseas markets receive Pirelli Trofeo tires as an option – we focused on balance through the mid-corner and found the poise to be phenomenal. Balance the car with the wheel or the throttle pedal, the choice is yours, but the car is begging for aggressive inputs from both. Find the sweet spot and you’ll be rewarded with some great pivots and controlled rotation through the rear axle. Audi’s choice to go with an aggressive staggered setup that offers 19×9 front, 19×8 rear wheels and matching 265 front and 245 rear tires, is rewarding for the driver on the track.

On Road

After some fun on the track, we had the chance to experience the 2022 Audi RS3 through some of the best driving roads in the Adelaide Hills. This was more a chance to poke around the interior and experience the car as a daily driver but in the limited chance we had did have to push the car through some tighter roads we were impressed by its eagerness. The overall speed is immense and the quoted 3.8-second sprint to 100km/h seems understated.

Steering is very direct, weighted at will through the driving modes, and always feels connected to the front wheels. The driving position is far different to the M240i Coupe so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a truly ‘sporty feel’ but we prefer the RS3 for everyday driving. Of course, the engine note is far more special even if it’s held back a little due to emissions.

Our only knock would be the road noise coming off the 265/30 R19 tires. It’s a very comfortable drive overall and the car is one of the best in terms of split personality from track to road.

RS Torque Rear Mode

Now here’s the fun part. RS Torque split technology on the rear axle helps on the track by sending power to the rear outside wheel and encouraging oversteer vs. understeer – e.g. in left-hand corners, the power is sent to the right rear wheel.

This also opens the opportunity for a ‘drift mode’ or RS Torque Rear Mode that allows drifts. While it’s far from a conventional ‘drift’ and we like to think of it more like a rally-drift (maybe some S1 heritage in there somewhere) the torque splitter transmits up to

100 per cent of the engine power to just one of the rear wheels. So that’s 50% of the 100% available power to the rear, and that equals drifts (see video above).

Related: Audi A4 Modified to Look Like Audi R8 Gives ‘Stealth Wealth’ a New Meaning

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Image: Audi Australia

2022 Audi RS3 Interior

What’s the Infotainment System Like?

Driver infotainment starts with the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (Audi Virtual cockpit plus) that receives an RS custom ‘runway’ design as seen in the image above. The display itself is still the best in the game, massive props to Audi for their maps and the addition of g-forces, lap times, acceleration and quarter-mile times that would be gimmicky if they didn’t work so well.

We love the RS-specific blinking shift indicator in manual transmission mode that changes the rpm display from green to yellow to red, as you climb the RPMs, eventually going red when it’s time to shift up. This feature is integrated into the HUD and we’ll also note that the RS3 will bounce off the rev-limiter in manual mode.

What About the Trims and Touchpoints?

The RS3 also shares its interior layout with the Audi A3 and S3 but adds sports seats, suede trims, and coloured stitching as an option. We had a chance to experience the interior on our road test through the Adelaide hills from both the driver’s and passenger’s seats.

At first glance, the interior is equally aggressive and angular as the exterior – truth be told we’re a little on the fence with it – particularly that driver’s aircon vents that protrudes from the upper dashboard above the digital instrument cluster. Call us picky all you want, but there’s just something about it.

On the other hand, we love the touchpoints from the driver’s seat. The steering wheel remains one of the best on the market (especially wrapped in Alcantara) and the flipped door pulls are a great touch. We also like the combination of materials and textures used throughout, broken up with textured silvers.

Thankfully, Audi has kept physical buttons for climate controls and there’s also that classic Audi feeling with everything you pull, touch, and grab most often. At the front of the car, there’s a plethora of soft-touch plastics that make for an interior that feels as expensive as the car’s price tag. We’re not sure about that little shift knob, where do you rest your hand?

Unfortunately, from the rear seats (and below the view line up front) the Audi RS3 suffers from the latest VW scratchy plastic issue. On first look, they mimic the textures up front but feel far cheaper in quality. We aren’t the first to point this out and we expect this to be the last time we see this in a $100k Audi. We’re also a little concerned about the piano black trims surrounding the gear selector (especially as it’s one large piece).

Overall the interior of the new RS3 is very well put together and the driving position is very comfortable, but it doesn’t do quite enough to elevate it over the standard S3 or A3 to really excite us.

Related: 2021 Audi e-tron is a New Breed of Electric Vehicle

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Image: Audi Australia

Should You Buy the 2022 Audi RS3?

Is it Safe?

The new Audi RS3 is currently unrated by ANCAP, however, the standard A3 lineup receives 5-stars and scored 89 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection score, 68 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 73 per cent for safety assist.

All models receive 7 airbags as standard, Audi pre-sense front (AEB), adaptive cruise assist, hold assist (hill start assist), park assist, and front and rear parking sensors. With current chip shortages, the lineup does miss out on various features, including Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, and exit warning.

Warranty and Servicing Costs

Audi Australia offers a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty in addition to the 12-year manufacturer warranty for bodywork against corrosion perforation.

In terms of servicing, the intervals are 15,000km/ 12 months, whichever comes first. An Audi five-year service plan can also be purchased any time during the first 12 months of ownership for $3580 AUD. If we look across the pond BMW’s M240i offers a comparable 5-year/ 80,000km ‘Service Plus’ plan (brake pads, rotors, etc.) for $4340 AUD. A comparable Mercedes plan will cost $5150 AUD.

For extra piece of mind, an Audi Advantage package with two years of roadside assistance and scheduled servicing can be purchased for $3800 AUD.

Our Verdict

There’s a lot to love about the 2022 Audi RS3 and it starts to make even more sense when you look across the pond at the other manufacturers. The Mercedes A45 S 4Matic+ is the biggest competitor on paper, but that car starts from $99,985 AUD before on-road costs and doesn’t have a 5-cylinder engine with nearly 300kW. We anticipate the new M2 Competition to cost close to $120,000 AUD so it’s hard to put that car in the same conversation and looking at the M240i, it’s for a dedicated coupe buyer as you have next to no room in the rear – we do love it though.

Take into account that this could be the last chance buyers get at a turbocharged 5-cylinder vehicle from Audi and this is about as close as you can get to a no-brainer in the market. If you have around $100,000 AUD to spend on a car and you’re looking for something sporty with a low centre of gravity (no SUVs) and some space in the back, the 2022 Audi RS3 might be your best bet.

Check it out (Sportback) Check it out (Sedan)

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Image: Audi Australia

2023 audi rs3 rear seats © Provided by Man of Many US 2023 audi rs3 rear seats

Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

Gear selector © Provided by Man of Many US Gear selector

Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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Image: Audi Australia

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