2022 Audi RS 3 Track Review: Drift Kin

CarBuyer Team

Go back to Page 1: Introducing the 2022 Audi RS 3

Toys R’ Us : Track toy or track weapon?

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - inline five cylinder engine turbocharged 2.5

Under all that wolf’s clothing is, surprise surprise, a wolf. The RS 3 keeps its 2.5-litre TFSI in-line five cylinder engine for a final hurrah, and you’ll be glad it did. Not because it biffs out 400 horsepower and 500 Newton-metres of peak torque (although no one’s complaining about that), but because it has a voice like Thor with a sore head. Those five cylinders beat out a bass-heavy growl in a sort of off-beat rhythm, making the RS 3 the sort of car you could easily identify with just your ears. That’s the stuff character is made of, and is the stuff we’ll miss when combustion is gone for good.

Leow Ju-Len:  Needless to say, this car is properly quick. It’s done with 100km/h in 3.8 seconds, and you can opt to raise the top speed to an astonishing 290km/h if you reckon you’ll need to keep up with your Porsche driving friends. That’s on paper; in real life when the boost comes in the Audi goes for the horizon like it’s owed money. Between the fearsome acceleration and five-cylinder music, you’ll never be bored.

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - Sportback drifting
Singapore’s pro racing driver Ringo Chong shows us how it’s really done

Now for the tricky bit on closed roads only: the RS Torque Rear drive setting. It’s one of seven (yes, seven) settings you can call up, along with Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, RS Individual and the track focused RS Performance, and is the only one we remembered to try on the day. That’s because it uses something called the RS Torque Splitter (an active rear differential) to direct torque to individual rear wheels – a single rear wheel can apparently receive up to 1,750 Nm – and you can guess why. Yep, the new RS 3 is a drift machine.

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - rear moving shot

Actually, drift monster might be more accurate. With Changi Exhibition Centre as a playground we put the RS 3 through endless powerslides to test out this RS Torque Rear stuff, and then tried out a few more powerslides to test it out some more. Countless bouts of oversteer later (not to mention more than our share of embarrassing spins), I can safely say that I want an RS Torque Splitter in every car now.

Four to the floor : RS 3 Sedan 

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - sedan - side shot

Derryn Wong: If you’re looking for something more insightful than ‘IT DRIFTS WOO’, the RS 3 Sportback and Sedan do feel different. The hatchback is noticeably more playful, in that it’s eager to rotate around its nose more and readier to sling its tail out to crowd-pleasing effect, although that also means you’ll need quicker reflexes behind the wheel or even on the tighter corners you’ll end up facing the way you came, blaming worn tyres like a certain someone.

The sedan is a surprise – it’s a big contrast to the hatchback in the tail department. Despite both our test cars running relatively fresh tyres, the sedan remained very, very planted at high-speed, almost as if there was too much grip.

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - front 3/4 shot
Derryn checks that the tyres still exist after Ju-Len’s run with the car

The RS 3’s drift mode is still four-wheel drifting, since the front axle is always giving you some pull, so things aren’t as tricky as they are in a purely rear-wheel drive car. To contrast Audi’s previous related development, the Audi Sport Differential, that allowed you to rotate the car into corners a tad quicker, but it’s nowhere near what the effect the new differential has. 

Turning in a little early and giving it lots of power on the way out of the corner, the Sportback is only too happy to show you its back and point you in the wrong direction if you overcook things (hint: Like Ju-Len), but the Sedan remains resolutely composed with only a little wiggle, despite Changi’s dusty tarmac.

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - sedan grille closeup

To that end, we think both cars would be mostly equal off the track. The Sportback would be tremendous fun on B-roads, but perhaps a little looser and scary on fast, wide circuits, and the opposite true of the Sedan. If you’re chasing lap times, the four-door is likely faster, but if you’re chasing grins, the Sportback wins. 

Are there drawbacks? Despite all the trickery Neckarsulm has thrown at these impressive, quick machines, they do both seem a little nose heavy and not the pointiest things around – though that’s something we’ve long grown used to from Audi’s quattro-equipped cars. 

RS 3: In Conclusion

2022 Audi RS 3 Review - CarBuyer Singapore - rear tyres worn
Very worn rear tyres on a quattro Audi – something new to us!

Within the CarBuyer crew, young Luke approached the RS 3 Sedan most sensibly and pronounced it fast, but easy to drive to a point, which is another RS-typical feature. All of us agreed though, that

Within the CarBuyer crew, young Luke approached the RS 3 Sedan most sensibly and pronounced it fast, but easy to drive to a point, which is another RS-typical feature. All of us agreed though, that the amount of performance and drama on hand means you really won’t wish for more power or a larger car, given the A3’s practicality is already established. 

From front to rear: S3, RS 3 Sportback, RS 3 Sedan, A3 Sportback, A3 Sedan
From front to rear: S3, RS 3 Sportback, RS 3 Sedan, A3 Sportback, A3 Sedan

It all tallies up to a very complete performance car: 0-100km/h in sub-4.0 seconds is proper quick, it’s even more fun to drive thanks to its rear-drive-ish goodness, and the styling, interior, and soundtrack round out a fabulous all-round experience. It is quite expensive now though, on the fat side of S$300k, though rivals like the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S are pushing close to S$400k. 
Still, it’s all you might want if you have room in the garage for only one car and it has to be special, but also practical.

For our part, having sussed out that the RS 3 will munch through rear tyres with frightening ease, we’re looking forward to seeing how it behaves in daily conditions and what the other drive modes are like. The Audi is huge fun behind closed doors, but out in public is where it has to live.

Audi RS 3 RS badge

2022 Audi RS 3 Sportback / Sedan

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine2,480cc, inline 5, turbocharged
Power400hp at 5600-7000rpm
Torque500Nm at 2250-5600rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch 
0-100km/h3.8 seconds 
Top Speed250km/h
Fuel Efficiency9.8L/100km
VES Band C2 / +S$25,000
AgentPremium Automobiles
PriceSportback S$363,075
Sedan S$374,395
With COE and VES
Verdict Drift mode makes the RS 3 a very complete performance car and riotously fun to drive as well

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A3 Audi Audi Sport drift hatchback high performance rs rs 3 sedan small track

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CarBuyer Team

CarBuyer Singapore brings the most relevant, accurate and useful car news to Singaporeans in both print and online formats.

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