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Audi RS3 Sedan Singapore Review 2022 - 2.5 TFSI qu S tronic (A)

Previously only available in its Sportback version, the Audi RS3 sedan is now available for the first time in Singapore, equipped with Audi’s legendary 5 cylinder engine and 7 speed S tronic dual clutch transmission. The car comes with the Quattro all wheel drive system, though for the first time ever, also comes with the Audi RS torque splitter, allowing for rear biased torque allocation to facilitate what we’ll loosely call “drift mode”. Via Audi Drive Select, various driving modes are available on the RS3, with the usual Dynamic, Comfort, and Efficiency modes available, while also provisioning for a fully variable Individual RS mode, which you can sort of customise. Visually, our Kyalami Green test drive car (which is also the official RS3 sedan’s colour) looks bang on the money, and could be the most attention grabbing RS performance car we have ever driven. We also particularly enjoyed invoking the vocal prowess of the exhaust system on the RS3, producing one of the most commanding exhaust tones since the launch of the Lamborghini Huracan STO.

There are always expectations that develop when you discover you're about to review a bright green car from Audi wearing an RS badge, but from the moment we found out that the new RS3 would be fitted with Audi's legendary 5 cylinder engine, there was the inkling that the car would be on to something big - and it sure as hell did not disappoint. I wouldn't go so far as to call it the perfect sports car or the the perfect performance sedan, but the RS3 does pack supercar-like performance, delivering the century sprint in 3.8 seconds, which might not sound like a lot in an age of super fast electric performance vehicles - but thats quicker than an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, a BMW M3, and the current Audi RS4 Avant. In that sense, the RS3 is mighty good value for money, considering it will cost you less than any of those cars.

However, it isn't just the speed of the car that defines it. In fact, in many cases, it is more about the manner in which it delivers the speed, and the persona that the car exudes. In the case of the RS3, the car feels like a thoroughbred, a hooligan, and a future champion all rolled into one package. When you open up the throttle, the RS3's bellow comes from deep within - from the heart, and there is a fullness and solidity to the its tone throughout its rev spectrum. The RS3's soundtrack is more of a progressive one and requires a little bit of build up, and if you are a fan of pops and bangs, you'll find that the RS3 isn't the easiest car to extract those bubbly pops and gunshot bangs. If you are lucky enough to find yourself with enough runway to redline the RS3 though, the car does produce some pretty satisfying pops and bangs when you let off the gas. To begin with, Audi's 5 cylinder already comes with a reputation that is best described as riotous, and the bellow of the engine feels more akin to a sledgehammer, as opposed to a machine gun.

The shove on the RS3 isn't exactly mind blowing, but the car puts down traction extremely well and feels very planted for a car that isn't very large or heavy. Under purposeful acceleration, you can also feel the drive shaft kick into action each time you put your foot down on the gas - giving a robust and mechanical quality to the RS3's drive. In contrast, something like the Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio does "prance" a little bit more, giving a livelier but more augmented feel to its acceleration. That said, I did feel safer and more assured when handling the RS3 - largely due the suspension set up of the RS3, which provides a very close to the ground feel, allowing you to almost visualise the amount of traction you have through the steering wheel. Punching the RS3 through a long swooping corner in 3rd or 4th still feels manageable to the lay-man, and won't cause you to fear for your life as quickly as other performance cars in the same league. Needless to say, this comes at a cost to comfort, and in reality, I think you'll likely be driving the RS3 in comfort mode on most days, leaving dynamic mode for more "special occasions".

For the first time, the RS3 sedan's engine is equipped with torque splitting capabilities, which is used in line with a "drift mode" of sorts, allowing you a more accessible way to drift your car should you so fancy it. For obvious reasons, we did not drift the car out on Singapore's open roads - so you'll just have to take it from us and from Audi that this capability exists.

What is perhaps most compelling about the RS3 is the way Audi has packaged an extremely well rounded product that still manages to be quite cost effective for a performance car. Apart from being quick and loud, the RS3 transitions very easily into family life, bringing to the table an element of practicality that just isn't readily available with other 2 door supercars - which means that the RS3 could well be the only car you actually need. When you're not channeling the RS3's inner hooligan onto the road, the RS3 quietens down, and drives like a well-powered A3, with 4 doors, 4 seats, and a proper sized boot. While there are other performance sedans that fit this bill, we have found that the RS3 has either more legroom in the rear, or is more affordable than its competitors. I also like the fact that the RS3 doesn't attract the same negative connotations associated with 2 door supercars, which are sure to damage the fragile egos of your more colloquial neighbours and colleagues. In that sense, the RS3 is that perfect shapeshifter that allows us to code switch depending on our environments - something that we already do plenty of in Singapore.


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