2022 Audi RS 3 2 e1653056156759

2022 Audi RS 3: Turbo Five-Cylinder, Enhanced Torque Splitter, Quick Nürburgring Lap Time & More

The 2022 Audi RS 3 is entering our consciousness with proven hardware, performance-enhancing innovations, and record-breaking speed credentials. The first-generation RS 3 came in 2011 as an extreme derivative of a humble Audi A3 Sportback. The second-gen RS 3 Sportback arrived in 2015, and it brought along the first-ever RS 3 Sedan with the same potent five-cylinder turbo engine. The all-new, second-generation RS 3 Sedan (based on the fourth-gen Audi A3) is rejoining the RS family after a brief one-year hiatus, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve to make its RS 5 and RS 7 siblings green with envy.

2022 Audi RS 3: More Power

It may have the same turbocharged five-pot engine as its predecessor, but it now has a healthy 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque, seven more horses, and 15 more lb-ft. of torque than before. With more power comes more speed, and the new RS 3 obliges a zero to 60 mph run of 3.6 seconds, which is 0.3 seconds quicker than the old RS 3. The top speed is 155 mph, but choosing the Dynamic Package unlocks a 180 mph top speed while throwing in a nifty set of carbon-ceramic brakes.

2022 Audi RS 3
2022 Audi RS 3. Photo: Audi of America.

New Nürburgring Lap Record

The equally alluring yet more legendary Audi RS 5 may have more horsepower with its updated 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 motor. Still, the 2022 Audi RS 3 is more agile around the bends owing to its compact footprint. And when you shoehorn a potent engine into a small car like the RS 3, it can take on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, one of the most dangerous tracks in the world. The new Audi RS 3 is not quick enough to earn a spot among the fastest production cars around the Nürburgring, but it set a new lap record for compact cars.

With German professional racing driver Frank Stippler behind the wheel, the 2022 Audi RS 3 completed a full lap of the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife in seven minutes and 40.748 seconds (7:40.7), a full 4.64 seconds faster than the previous record-holder, the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R.

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Quattro AWD & RS Torque Splitter

The Audi RS 3 has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox sending power to all four wheels via Quattro AWD. Furthermore, the drivetrain has an innovative RS Torque splitter system consisting of electronically-controlled multi-plate clutches on each rear driveshaft, enabling the system to perform fully-variable torque distribution between the rear wheels.

Audi’s RS Torque Splitter system integrates with the vehicle’s Drive Select modes to deliver better handling, whether on the street or racetrack. Audi claims the system distributes more drive torque to the outside wheel when cornering to “significantly reduce understeer” while improving traction over wet pavement.

Meanwhile, standard equipment includes an RS Sport suspension with dynamic chassis control (DCC), enabling it to sit 10 mm (0.39-inch) lower than an Audi S3. The suspension system adjusts the damping forces based on road conditions or the selected drive mode. At the same time, it also has dynamic height sensors to measure the car’s vertical acceleration and wheel movements.

Furthermore, the new RS 3 has six-piston fixed caliper front brakes with 14.8-inch steel discs and single-piston rear brakes with 12.2-inch discs. Audi claims the new brakes offer 20 percent better cooling while reducing unsprung weight.

Aggressive Style

The 2022 Audi RS 3 has a wider front bumper with a matte-black honeycomb Singleframe grille. It also has more oversized air intakes and flared wheel arches to imbibe a track-ready presence. The wider stance is not merely a façade since the RS 3 has a 1.3-inch wider front track than the old variant, further magnified by standard 19-inch cast-aluminum wheels wrapped in staggered summer performance rubber. However, Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R motorsport-derived tires are an optional extra if you like burning rubber inside the racetrack.

The sporty ambiance continues at the rear with a gloss black lip spoiler, an RS-specific rear bumper, a new diffuser, and a fully-variable exhaust with twin elliptical exhaust tips. The standard features list includes Matrix-design LED headlights with animated daytime running lights (DRLs), and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals. The optional Carbon Package adds exclusive carbon exterior trim, whereas the Black Optic Plus Package adds black 19-inch wheels, black Audi rings/badges, and a black roof.

2022 Audi RS 3 interior layout.
2022 Audi RS 3 interior layout. Photo: Audi of America.

Sumptuous Interior

Standard is a 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and a 10.1-inch infotainment display. The former has a new RS Runway design theme that can display g-forces, lap times, and quarter-mile run times, to name a few. The latter offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. A heads-up display is optional.

Nappa leather-wrapped front sport seats are standard and feature RS embossing and RS-specific honeycomb stitching. The front seats are eight-way power adjustable and feature a four-way power lumbar adjustment and driver memory settings. In addition, the RS 3 gets a three-spoke RS leather-wrapped steering wheel with multi-function controls and the famed RS button.

Audi Factory Warranty

All Audi vehicles leave the factory with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty with four years of roadside assistance. However, Audi does not offer a separate powertrain warranty, which might prompt you to consider extending your warranty coverage. This comprehensive guide to Audi extended warranties will help you make the right decision.

The average Audi maintenance cost is between $200 and $300 every 10,000 miles for routine services.  

2022 Audi RS 3: Pricing & Availability

The 2022 Audi RS 3 will arrive at dealerships this summer with a starting MSRP of around $60,000. Our free and easy search tools* show which Audi dealerships have the best deals in your area. Those search tools will also help you obtain the invoice price to negotiate the best possible out-the-door pricing on a new Audi RS 3.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: Audi of America.

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