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Audi RS3 Performance Edition first unit

What none of these changes did was tweak the fundamentals of the RS3. It’s still a phenomenally fast hatchback that has more than enough power for any road, but one that still feels a little blunt in places.

Look under the hood and you’ll get an idea why – the engine is mounted ahead of the front wheels. As a result, it always feels a little heavy despite this generation’s new RS Torque Splitter. This can split the torque to the rear wheels, a maximum of 50% of the total system, pushing it to the outside wheel and allowing the car to skid.

It certainly improves on things from the previous RS3s, because you can use the throttle and the power to go around the top, so now it’s more fun than the old Audi RSs, but not to the point of tuning the BMW M. You can’t. that midpoint pivot you find on BMWs.

Drift mode is hilarious, if you have the space to play. It’s largely foolproof, so even the clumsiest will be rescued by the front wheels, dragging you out of trouble. It was most impressive on a high-speed slide because there’s such a vast safety net that it gives you tremendous confidence. That and the 100m run-off probably helped.

You can understand Audi’s business case for not bringing this Performance Edition here. It’s impressive, but not different enough to justify the effort, and it’s also more money on an already expensive car. I admire companies for making adjustments, almost just for making them, but it’s just that and not a fundamental rewrite of the formula.

What none of these changes did was tweak the fundamentals of the RS3. It’s still a phenomenally fast hatchback that has more than enough power for any road, but one that still feels a little blunt in places.

Look under the hood and you’ll get an idea why – the engine is mounted ahead of the front wheels. As a result, it always feels a little heavy despite this generation’s new RS Torque Splitter. This can split the torque to the rear wheels, a maximum of 50% of the total system, pushing it to the outside wheel and allowing the car to skid.

It certainly improves on things from the previous RS3s, because you can use the throttle and the power to go around the top, so now it’s more fun than the old Audi RSs, but not to the point of tuning the BMW M. You can’t. that midpoint pivot you find on BMWs.

Drift mode is hilarious, if you have the space to play. It’s largely foolproof, so even the clumsiest will be rescued by the front wheels, dragging you out of trouble. It was most impressive on a high-speed slide because there’s such a vast safety net that it gives you tremendous confidence. That and the 100m run-off probably helped.

You can understand Audi’s business case for not bringing this Performance Edition here. It’s impressive, but not different enough to justify the effort, and it’s also more money on an already expensive car. I admire companies for making adjustments, almost just for making them, but it’s just that and not a fundamental rewrite of the formula.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org