Audi’s newest RS3 Sedan is the first of its kind to ever come to America. So, naturally, we’re quite excited about it. However, in Europe, the RS3 is often looked down on for its tendency to understeer and lack of balance. But Henry Catchpole decided to take the Audi RS3 to Oman in the Middle East and drive some of the most spectacular roads in the world and see if it can live up to its promise.
The first star in this story is Oman’s Highway 47. What a spectacular stretch of road that snakes its way up to 4,000 feet above sea level. On its way up to those incredible heights, where the view is genuinely breathtaking, Highway 47 has enough twists and turns to make the famous Stelvio Pass jealous. It almost seems as if it’s hairpin after hairpin for what seems like endless miles. It’s just stunning. Though, these roads aren’t the sort normally attributed to being good for fast Audi sedans.
Normally, with wonderful roads like this, enthusiasts would want something a bit sharper and rear-driven. However, Catchpole seems to think that the Audi RS3 does quite well. The reasoning is two-fold. First, the road surface is actually quite slippery. He mentions that at first he thought it was because of the dust and sand. But it’s actually because the road surface has a bit of a polish to it, making it slippery. It’s odd. But the second reason is that this Audi RS3 is actually far more balanced than its predecessors and can actually push its tail out if you do it right.
But the second star of this story is that engine. That 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder is a thing of joy. With genuine rally car sounds, its odd firing order and its ballistic pace, the Audi RS3’s turbo-five is one of the best engines in the business. It belts out 400 hp and 354 lb-ft which, when paired with its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, gets the RS3 from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. That makes it faster than the BMW M2 and Mercedes-AMG CLA45, which it competes with.
In the end, Catchpole claims that this new Audi RS3 finally has the chassis to keep up with its engine driving dynamics that finally live up to the “RS” name. Admittedly, he also was driving it on those roads, so it’s possible he was looking at it through rose-tinted glasses. Who wouldn’t.