Audi RS3 review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights

The RS3 has switched to a new, lighter 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine as in the TT-RS. Transmission options are limited to a seven-speed dual clutch. 

Evo rating
  • Stunning engine, quality cabin, improved dynamics
  • Expensive, composed but cold handling means it's faster than it is fun

The RS3 features the latest iteration of Audi’s 2.5-litre turbocharged inline five-cylinder engine. The 2480cc unit is newer than it looks on paper, swapping the old iron cylinder block for a lighter aluminium one and gaining a hollow-bored crankshaft, shedding 26kg in the process. Given that’s 26kg less over the front axle, it’s a promising development. Despite a recent overhaul to make the RS3 compliant with the latest WLTP emissions regulations, neither power or performance has been affected.

The 395bhp output (from 5850-7000rpm) is nine per cent greater than the previous model's 362bhp, and torque has increased too, from 343lb ft to 354lb ft, developed between 1700-5850rpm. The engine features both port and direct fuel injection - variable according to performance and efficiency demands - and variable valve lift and timing also help balance a high power output with reasonable fuel efficiency.

Drive is still sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, though the latest setup can now send up to 100 per cent of the car’s power to the rear wheels alone, in certain situations, with a torque vectoring effect through the multi-plate clutch on the rear axle to also divert power to the wheels with the greatest grip. As you’d expect, the S tronic gearbox features a Sport function, but a launch control system is also present.

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