2018 10 Best Cars : Audi RS3  


Audi RS3

Daydreams can be toxic to productivity, but as anyone who has ever attempted to sit through the interminable opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg will know, they can’t always be helped. Recent bouts of inescapable monotony have seen us embellishing the golden afternoons we’ve spent in the company of an Audi RS3, and our internal selves are all the better for it.

The reminiscence goes something like this: We’re behind the wheel of an RS3. The cabin is vibrating to the unusual resting heartbeat of the Audi’s 2.5-liter inline-five (onetwofourfivethreeonetwofourfivethree), which grows to an 88-decibel howl at wide-open throttle. Our feet, shod in this daydream with Louboutins whose red soles match the RS3’s Catalunya Red paint, scramble for the accelerator pedal. Sixty mph is but 3.5 seconds away, 100 mph just 5.2 ticks beyond that. And the road has just cleared.

A firm foot on the go pedal introduces spleen to ribcage as we tear off the line. The full roster of 354 lb-ft of torque is available from 1700 to 5850 rpm. All 400 horses come online at 5850 rpm and stick around until the 7000-rpm fuel cutoff. We inevitably need to slow for dawdlers, but this simply means we can once again dip deeply into the throttle, at which point the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will quickly and faithfully deliver the right ratio. There’s the briefest of waits as the turbo spools up, but once on the boost, the RS3 delivers a kick to the kidneys that makes a quick memory out of any delay.

The road turns twisty—maybe we’ve absconded down a country lane to flee shadowy government agents, or, you know, feel free to substitute your own car-chase fantasy—and the RS3’s quick steering, standard all-wheel-drive system, and adaptive dampers make quick work of curve after curve. The RS3 slices toward apexes with confidence and the sort of forgiving controllability that makes it feel as though we’re adhered to the road via some supernatural force.

There are no budgets in reveries, but with feet back on solid ground it’s hard to forget that, at $55,875, the RS3 is nearly $20,000 more costly than the least expensive version of the Audi A3 Quattro on which it’s based. Yet the RS3’s significant powertrain and mechanical upgrades, along with its quilted-leather sport seats, aggressive styling, and special items such as the available staggered-width tires—they have a wider section up front to dial in more neutrality—make the case for splurging.

It’s a rare car that continues to inspire us long after we’ve handed over the keys. After every stint spent evaluating the RS3, we wondered if we could have asked the car for more. Sure, we went fast—but couldn’t we have gone faster? In the end, the skeptics can have other cars for their escapes, real or imagined. The Audi RS3 is a Car and Driver 10Best Car, and that’s no daydream. —Annie White


front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

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turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 20-valve 2.5-liter inline-5, 400 hp, 354 lb-ft

7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

3547 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 3.5 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.9 sec
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 155–174 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 157 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

Combined/city/highway: 22/19/28 mpg

Source : caranddriver.com

Main article : 2018 10 Best Cars

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