Snap Crackle and Roar!
Pop the “Start” button, and the throaty five-cylinder fires up with a sporty snarl. As you take the car through its paces, you will hear the gut-satisfying dual exhaust note entering the cabin from behind, and paired up with the melodic burble of that wonderfully redeveloped five-pot up in-front. Rev the engine past 3,500rpm, with the exhaust flaps open and not only everything gets louder, but you get a more defined high-low note entering deeper into the cabin… this rings a bell… well it really does sound like an R8. Lift off the throttle before a bend, and get rewarded with just-as-superb backfiring.
With 480Nm of torque as low as 1,7000rpm, it is not easy to drive this car slowly once there is an open space, as turning on the taps, not only lets out that melodic howl, the RS 3 hits the century mark in just 4.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds more than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe C 63 S AMG we tested a while back.
That short nose also ensures that the RS 3 turns into corners with razor-sharp precision; this further helped by the lightened engine, this time featuring innovations like a hollow crank, aluminium crankcase, and pistons.
The short wheelbase does not help the sporty suspension setup, but we found this still decent for a car built to be used as a daily driver, while still doing what an RS car is meant to do... bring butterflies to your tummy and a smile to your face.
Having said all that, we did test the S4 a while back, yes it is a whole different animal, with a wider and longer body, a more relaxed V6 engine, and delivering more on creature comforts.
The RS 3 on the other hand, does come across as a more personal car, a little snugger on the inside, and delivering supercar-mimicking intense drive quality for around S4 money, and with the same carrying people carrying capacity, albeit a little less space.
Depending on what you really value, for us, it really is how mental that the RS 3 is, which has won us over.
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