Audi wants people to know its new RS3 is a serious driving machine, so it went out to break Nürburgring records.
And it did, recording a best lap of 7:40.748 minutes, making it the fastest compact model to lap the infamous 20.8km track.
At the wheel was Frank Stippler, Audi’s Sport racing and development driver. The RS3 was unmodified from stock, apart from the tyre pressures on the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres.
The RS3 managed to finish its lap some five seconds quicker than the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, the previous ‘compact’ lap record holder.
It also did a faster time than an Audi RSQ8, and fell just two seconds off beating the time of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Sure, they’re both bigger and heavier, but they’re also considerably more powerful and expensive.
Audi claims its new torque splitter came into play whilst on track, helping the car feel more agile.
The torque splitter distributes torque between the rear wheels of the RS3, and can push more torque to the wheel with a higher load – for example, the rear right tyre on a left-hand corner.
Audi says the torque splitter allows the RS3 to turn into the curve even better than before and follow the steering angle more precisely.
“In general, the new RS3 is much more agile when driving from the middle of the curve to its end and when accelerating out of the curve,” said Frank Stippler.
Stippler described the torque splitter technology as being a “quantum leap in terms of agile driving”.
This same technology will be used for a new drift mode where the torque splitter will throw 100 percent of available torque to the outside rear wheel, allowing the car to rotate.
The Nürburgring car also featured optional ceramic brakes and RS sports suspension, complete with adaptive dampers.
The package didn’t really need more power, with the warbly five-cylinder producing 294kW of power and 500Nm of torque. Although power is unchanged from the last model, torque has increased by 20Nm.
This means top speed is pushed to a maximum of 290km/h, with 0-100km/h happening in just 3.8 seconds – both of which Audi claims are class-leading figures in its segment.
The next-generation RS3 will be coming Down Under to compete with the Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 S.
It’ll be arriving in the first half of 2022.