Audi RS3 Performance Edition first drive

What none of these changes did was tweak the RS3’s basics. The hatchback is still exceptionally fast and has more than enough power for any road, but it still feels a little gruff in places.

Look under the hood and you’ll get an idea of ​​why – the engine is mounted in front of the front wheels. As a result, you always feel heavy in the nose, despite this generation’s new RS Torque Splitter. This can split the torque to the rear wheels, from a maximum of 50% of the total system, drive it to the outside wheel and allow the car to drift.

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Things have definitely sharpened from past RS3s because you can use the throttle and power to bring the nose up, so now it’s a bit more playful than the old Audi RSs, but not to the point of BMW M tuning. You don’t get that mid-axle you find in BMWs.

Drift mode is funny, if you have room to play. It’s pretty much fool-proof, so the front wheels will save even the most clumsy of clingy grips sparing you a lot of trouble. It was even more impressive in high-speed sliding because there is a wide safety net that gives a huge amount of confidence. This, perhaps, helped the 100-meter run-off.

You can understand Audi’s business case for not bringing this performance version here. It’s impressive, but not different enough to justify the effort, and it’s more money on an already expensive car. I admire comps for tweaking, almost just for the sake of it, but that’s just it and not a fundamental rewrite of the formula.

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