Audi recently teased its upcoming RS3, both Sportback and Sedan, in some new photos of each car wearing clever camouflage. Audi even hinted at the car’s engine, with the “1, 2, 4, 5, 3” graphic on the camo, representing its iconic five-cylinder engine’s firing order. While 2022 Audi RS3 is still mostly under embargo, we can share a bit of info about its all-new RS Torque Splitter.
For pretty much as long as Audi has been making performance cars, it’s been criticized for understeer. Front-drive chassis and all-wheel drive don’t make for the best combination for enthusiast driving. Audi has had to work incredibly hard over the past few years to overcome its cars inherent understeer bias, using all sorts of mechanical and electronic trickery. It may have finally solved the problem.
The 2022 Audi RS3 uses the brand’s latest rear electronic differential technology, the RS Torque Splitter. Its a new rear diff that uses a multi-place clutch for each rear output shaft, allowing the RS3 to send however much power is need to either rear wheel. Which means it can intentionally overload the outside rear wheel, to induce oversteer, typically uncharacteristic of the four rings. According to Audi, it can send all of the available power to just one wheel, something that wasn’t possible with the previous Haldex all-wheel drive setup.
To take advantage of this new RS Torque Splitter, Audi gave the RS3 a new drift mode, dubbed “RS Torque Rear”. Even in its segment, a drift mode isn’t anything new, as the Mercedes-AMG A45, Ford Focus ST, and even the Volkswagen Golf R have drift modes. However, it’s a first for an Audi and this new rear diff should make it more precise than most of its competitors, being able to vary the torque to the rear exactly as needed.
Things don’t change too much up front, though. The 2022 Audi RS3 is still powered by a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that makes 395 horsepower (400 PS) and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque. Horsepower is about the same as the current-gen car but this new RS3 is up 15 lb-ft (20 Nm). According to Audi, it can get from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds, which is only a touch faster than before but we suspect it will be even quicker than that.
The main takeaway here, though, is the diff. While torque-vectoring rear differentials aren’t anything particularly new, even in the RS3’s segment, it’s a very new idea for transverse-engine Audis. This is bold new territory for the brand and it’s going to be very exciting to see how the Audi RS3 handles, now that it can oversteer at will.