A new generation of the raucous Audi RS 3 compact sedan has arrived for 2022, and it promises even more fun and performance. To demonstrate the latter, Audi had racing and development driver Frank Stippler take the car around the Nürburgring for a hot lap.
He ended up with a blistering best time of 7:40.748, which puts the newest RS 3 in a similar league to cars like the 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3 and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
The Audi has some advantages, though. While its 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 only delivers 401 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, which is less than what the aforementioned sports cars have, the RS 3 also benefits from a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, and, in this test, the available Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slicks.
2022 Audi RS 3 sets 7:40.748 Nürburgring lap time
It's a combination that vaults the RS 3 from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 mph when equipped with available carbon-ceramic brakes. Other versions top out at 155 and 174 mph.
According to Stippler, the RS 3's torque splitter, with its fully variable torque distribution on the rear axle, is what really made the difference. The torque splitter replaces the previous generation's limited-slip differential that lacked the ability to vector torque between the rear wheels.
“For me, the torque splitter is a quantum leap in terms of agile driving,” he said in a statement.
2022 Audi RS 3
This is a Haldex differential with multi-disc clutches on each rear axle shaft that apportions power between the rear wheels, sending up to 1,290 lb-ft of torque (after torque multiplication from the driveline) to the outside rear wheel. The result is better handling by combating both oversteer and understeer.
It also enables Audi to add a new RS Torque Rear mode that allows the RS 3 to drift. The RS 3 also has RS Performance, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and RS Individual modes, plus a new Efficiency mode. The modes change the behavior of the torque splitter, engine and transmission, steering assistance, adaptive dampers, and exhaust flaps. The stability control also has standard, sport, and off modes.
The new RS 3 is due in showrooms next spring. Pricing information will be announced closer to the market launch.