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March 15, 2011

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The Audi RS 3 Sportback –  The sportiest car in the compact category

Ingolstadt -  Big performance in a small package – the RS 3 Sportback is the newest member of the dynamic Audi RS family. Its turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine pumps out 250 kW (340 hp) and delivers 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) of torque. The unit accelerates the RS 3 Sportback into the league of powerful sports cars while consuming just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km on average (25.85 US mpg).

Power from the 2.5 TFSI is transmitted to the road via a seven-speed S tronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. 19-inch wheels and fenders made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the Audi RS 3 Sportback’s position of distinction.

Mighty five-cylinder gasoline engines have a long legacy in the service of the four rings. In the 1980s, they gave many Audi cars an edge on the competition. The brand is now carrying on the classic line: The 2.5-liter with FSI direct gasoline injection and turbocharging technology gives the RS 3 Sportback its blazing performance.

Named “Engine of the Year” in 2010, the 2.5 TFSI delivers 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc. Its specific output is 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter. The peak torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is continuously available over a broad rev range between 1,600 and 5,300 rpm.

The Audi RS 3 Sportback accelerates from a standing stop to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds – a best-in-class performance figure. The limited top speed of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) is merely the official figure. Even so, the dynamic compact car uses on average just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg) and emits 212 g CO2 per km (341.18 g/mile). This efficiency is due in large part to a delivery-on-demand oil pump and a recuperation system that recovers energy as the car decelerates.

The powerful five-cylinder unit is extremely compact and lightweight. Its large turbocharger compresses the intake air at pressures of up to 1.2 bar, and an intercooler lowers its temperature at full load. When the driver pushes the standard Sport button on the center tunnel, a flap installed in the left exhaust tailpipe renders the characteristic growling of the exhaust even more intense while allowing the engine to respond with even more punch.

Dynamic par excellence: the drivetrain and suspension A seven-speed S tronic comes standard in the RS 3 Sportback. The compact dual-clutch transmission shifts gears almost imperceptibly, with extreme speed and comfort. Seventh gear is very tall – a measure that reduces fuel consumption. In addition to two automatic programs, a manual mode is available, which can be controlled with optional paddles on the steering wheel. The launch control system manages maximum acceleration from a standing start.

quattro permanent all-wheel drive grants the Audi RS Sportback outstanding traction, fascinating dynamics, and superb stability. Its centerpiece is an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, mounted at the rear to achieve a favorable weight distribution. If the situation calls for it, the clutch diverts torque from the front axle to the rear axle within a few milliseconds.

The chassis of the powerful compact car has an extremely sophisticated design. A four-link suspension capable of handling longitudinal and lateral forces separately is used at the rear. With a gear ratio of 16.2:1 the electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering is extremely direct, combining fine precision with highly efficient operation. The stiff sports suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in) compared with the A3.

The Audi RS 3 Sportback has 19-inch wheels. The front tires are size 235/35, whereas the tires at the rear are 10 millimeters (0.39 in) narrower to further enhance handling. The internally ventilated brake disks measure 370 millimeters (14.57 in) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.20 in) at the rear. The front friction rings are perforated.

They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake disk covers and gripped by four-piston fixed calipers painted in black. The electronic stabilization program (ESP) has a sport mode and can be switched off partially or entirely.

The Audi RS 3 Sportback hints at its enormous potential from the very first glimpse. Its front and rear aprons have been prominently modified, and a large roof spoiler sits atop the rear end. The flared front fenders are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) – an expression of Audi expertise in lightweight design.

The dynamic style is matched in the interior, entirely black and sporting a number of RS 3 logos. Sport seats with Fine Nappa leather upholstery are standard; the inlays sport a Piano finish. A boost pressure indicator, an oil thermometer and the lap timer are all included in the driver information system. The instruments and the selector lever are specially designed.

A flat-bottomed leather multifunction sport steering wheel, a two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioner, the chorus radio system and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights round out the array of standard equipment. Audi offers customers a range of optional features: black 19-inch alloy wheels with a red rim flange, bucket seats, inlays in the new Aluminum Race material and styling packages in black or matt aluminum.

Deliveries of the Audi RS 3 Sportback are scheduled to begin in the spring. Prices in Germany will start at 49,900 euros.

Photos: Audi

(March 9, 2011)

 


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