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Text | Goh Zhi Xuan
Photos | Audi, Low Fai Ming

19 MAY 2022
Within its class, the Audi RS 3 is the only one equipped with a unique heart that beats smoother than others - and it all started in 1976.

Audi's famed success in the World Rally Championship is largely credited to its quattro all-wheel drive system, but powering the original Audi 'Ur-quattro' was a powerful, yet smooth five-cylinder engine that is seldom seen in other cars.

Today, more than just design cues and the recognisable four-ring emblem have been passed down to Audi's modern cars. Like the original quattro, the RS 3 is also equipped with a five-cylinder engine and Audi's latest quattro all-wheel drive system, but unlike its forefather, the RS 3 is designed to excel not just in the heat of competition, but also as a perfect drive on the streets every single day.
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Car Engine
Smoother than normal and sounds like a supercar - Audi's legendary five-cylinder engine

The story of Audi's famed five-cylinder engine started almost half a century ago with the Audi 100 (C2) in 1976. The second generation Audi 100 was meant to be positioned higher than its predecessor in the market. Hence, the plan to introduce either a six or five-cylinder engine was hatched.

Eventually, Audi decided upon the five-cylinder which not only runs smoother and makes more power than a typical four-cylinder, but also avoids the unfavourable weight distribution and installation space requirements of the six-cylinder.

Following the success of the five-cylinder, Audi came up with the first diesel version in 1978, and in 1980, the Audi 'Ur-quattro' featured a powerful turbocharged and intercooled five-cylinder that put power down through a permanent four-wheel drive system, propelling Hannu Mikkola to a World Rally Championship drivers' title in 1983.

Later on, the more potent Audi Sport quattro and the eventual Group B rally car based on it were likewise powered by a five-cylinder, which by their final iteration, was producing almost 600bhp!

The decades of success and continuous development of the five-cylinder directly led to the Audi RS 3 we have today - the only compact car that features the unique 1-2-4-5-3 firing order that puts out incredible power in a smooth and enjoyable experience, all while belting out a throaty supercar-esque soundtrack.

In the latest RS 3, Audi had further tuned the engine to produce 20Nm higher torque, along with an expanded power range and steeper power curve than its predecessor, creating an even more exciting drive than before.
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quattro gives you superior traction and predictable steering response

The RS 3 inherits yet another of Audi's renowned technology, the quattro all-wheel drive system. A core part of Audi's DNA, quattro represents optimum traction on any surface, and this is a highly desirable trait which allows for exhilarating performance driving and absolute control, resulting in safety on the roads.

In order to achieve superior traction and precise driving behaviour, Audi hones its cars in bitterly cold northern Sweden. Audi's developers would put the cars through various tests, such as emergency braking under wintery conditions and icy roads in order to tune for a controlled, predictable and stable driving behaviour even in adverse conditions.

The RS 3 is also the first Audi equipped with the new RS Torque splitter which allows fully variable torque vectoring between the rear wheels. While this enables the RS 3 to perform ludicrous drifts when desired, it also works to allow it to turn better into curves, following the steering angle precisely.

This results in less understeer and a particularly agile handling which adds to the everyday driving experience. When the situation calls for, the RS Torque splitter can also compensate for oversteer by directing torque to the wheel on the inside of the curve or to both of the rear wheels, allowing for a safer driving experience.
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Traditional sport compact sedan or a hot hatch - the RS 3 goes both ways!

While the Audi RS 3 is a compact car, there is sufficient space within to seat four adults comfortably along with useable boot space.

Whether you are a fan of the sedan body style or one of a hot hatch, the RS 3 is able to satisfy your desires as it is offered in either. Both variants offer similar performance, but differ slightly when it comes to cargo space - the sedan offers a little bit more cargo space, while the Sportback offers a larger loading aperture which will allow the ease of loading bulky object.

But you don't have to worry much about the times when you need to haul a larger load than usual as both variants come with split folding seats allowing an expansion of cargo space.
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Yellow Car
Ready for the track, perfect daily for the streets

Don't be intimidated by its aggressive looks, while extremely capable on the race track, the RS 3 is an excellent daily driver and highway cruiser as well.

With seven modes within the Audi drive select dynamic handling system, there's a drive mode for every occasion, be it for maximum efficiency, comfort, performance driving or a customised set up with RS individual mode. While the supercar-esque soundtrack is an amazing experience, with the RS 3's fully variable flap control exhaust system, you'll have the option of going incognito when the situation that calls for it arises. Likewise, adaptive dampers allow you to enjoy a comfortable and smooth ride when you want to, with the RS3 driving doesn't have to be an intense activity at all times, despite its massive capabilities.
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Passenger Seat
Inside the RS 3 you'll get a sporty interior, with seats that offer plenty of support, but that isn't all. After all, Audi RS cars are top-of-the-line models, so apart from sporty elements, you'll get a high level of equipment and plenty of features that improve everyday driving as well.

On the infotainment end, there's a 10.1-inch touch display to access all the functions, powered by the extremely user-friendly MMI interface. Audi connect online services offer extensive traffic information to aid in route planning, coupled with voice control function, the RS 3 is also able to double up as an intelligent assistant. The exhaust isn't the only equipment capable of producing sweet tones in the RS 3, it is equipped with a premium sound system by Bang & Olufsen with 3D sound, delivering an immersive sound experience through 15 speakers with 680 watts of power.

As expected of a top-tier RS car, the RS 3 is equipped with a full suite of driver assistance systems such as lane departure warning system, cruise control, and park assist.

Make no mistake, the RS 3 is a versatile performance car that encompasses all the elements that makes everyday driving a joyful experience, all while capable of going mind-bendingly fast. You'll be hard-pressed to find another compact that comes close.