What will likely be the last non-electric RS3 proves to be a formidable competitor.
Audi just revealed the new 2022 RS3, which is the most capable version of the A3 to date, and perhaps most importantly, perhaps the last one powered by an internal combustion engine before the automaker electrifies its entire lineup in the coming years. Regardless, the new RS3 is also a formidable competitor for BMW‘s M2 Competition, as we can clearly see after comparing these two performance machines.
In the powertrain department, the new RS3 comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five cylinder engine that produces 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The M2 Competition employs a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six, which produces 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Both cars come equipped with seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions, but the BMW also offers a proper six-speed manual gearbox.
These two cars take very different approaches in how they deliver that power, however. The RS3 is front-wheel-drive based, but its new all-wheel-drive system is now capable of sending all of its available power to the rear wheels if needed, thanks to its new “RS Torque Splitter” rear differential. Meanwhile, the M2 uses a traditional rear-wheel-drive configuration.
That’s good enough to compensate for the RS3’s power deficiency, propelling the car from 0-60 in a claimed 3.8 seconds. The M2 Competition is a tick slower at 4.2 seconds, a difference that comes strictly from the Audi’s traction advantage. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the RS3 fares in real-world testing, as the last-gen model, which had less power, did 0-60 in 3.4 seconds.