Posts Tagged ‘Audi RS5’

Aaron Borrill finds out whether the improvements made to the 2013 Audi RS5 make it a better car


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Audis latest addition to the RS family is the swan song of the current A3 range, which has been around since 2003. So what’s all the fuss about? Well, for starters a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged mill, the same one in fact that’s used by the TT RS, has been shoehorned into the engine bay with spine-twisting results. Cranking out 250kw and 450nm, the RS3 is the fastest production hatchback in the world. In fact, it’s as quick as an R8 V8 out of the blocks reaching 100km/h from standstill in 4.6 seconds flat – guaranteed using launch control. All 450Nm come into play from as low down as 1600rpm and remain steady all the way until 5300rpm where it gradually starts to drop off. Punch the go-faster pedal in any gear and the back of your head will meet the headrest with alarming force. The seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic gearbox swaps cogs with alacrity no matter which mode you’ve selected. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are fun and easy-to-use especially when you’ve selected manual mode. Unlike other auto-boxes with manual function, the S-tronic manual mode won’t kick over unless you physically click the paddle.
The RS3 is a versatile performer, and, although many owners will use it exclusively as a daily driver it performs well at the track, too. The Quattro permanent all wheel-drive system ensures high levels of grip, even at the limit, but turn into a corner too aggressively and it will understeer. Still, not at any point will you feel out of your depth – the ESP does very well to intervene when things get a little hairy by shuffling torque between the front and rear axle. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fancy sport differential like in the RS5 so the tail isn’t going to freely move around. One thing I did notice though is that the brakes do fade quite noticeably especially after excessive use at the track.

Aesthetically, the styling is a little too discreet for my liking. The front bumper boasts twin air intakes and new front wings while a spoiler, 19-inch wheels and a gloss-black diffuser make up the balance. The ageing interior has been freshened up with piano-black inlays, a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel and optional Recaro bucket seats.

Before I forget, there’s also a ‘Sport’ button that opens a flap in the exhaust system to beef up the engine tone. The soundtrack is still nowhere as throaty as the one found in the TT RS but is more sonorous than the regular S3.
Compared to it’s rivals, the Cayman R and BMW 1m Coupe, the driving experience does lack a certain degree of involvement – almost as if the car is driving itself but foibles aside it’s still bloody fast.
Is it a bargain? Well at R525 000 you can’t buy anything else that offers as much power and utility. The five-door arrangement is a bonus, too. Many will argue that it’s a glorified A3 but it’s furiously fast and that’s why all 54 units are spoken for.

Engine: 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo
Power: 250kW and 450Nm
0-100km/h: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 250km/h
Price: R525 000

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I don’t care much for the blue and white roundel, I find too many BMWs bland. But there’s one vehicle in the Bavarian line-up that gets my heart pumping – the seminal E92 BMW M3 coupé. It is by far the most beautiful BMW ever made and, along with trouncing its adversaries in all departments, it’s become the ultimate benchmark for performance. Now BMW has upped the ante on the current M3 with an even more lethal, more exclusive and more powerful model. It’s called the BMW M3 Frozen Edition and, after giving BMW’s communications manager a call, I managed to get one for a few days. Available in South Africa only and limited to 25 units, the M3 Frozen Edition was launched to celebrate 25 years of the fabled M3 badge. It’s been kitted out with a heap of cosmetic and performance goodies to deliver a visceral driving experience. As you can imagine, I was a little anxious when I fired it up for the first time because, unlike the quattro-powered Audi RS5 tested a few months back, the M3 is rear-wheel drive. This drive-train setup is less forgiving than all-wheel drive, especially in the twisty bits, and will easily lose shape and oversteer without warning – even with all its driver aids turned up to the max. My approach was to take it easy for a while and feel out its performance and handling but, after hearing the demonic rasp of its V8 engine, that idea went out the window. Visually, the M3 Frozen flaunts an aftermarket-inspired visage with features such as a matt-black paint job, a carbon-fibre roof, gloss-black 19-inch wheels, a quartet of AC Schnitzer exhaust tips and cherry-red brake callipers adding to its appeal. Its sinister façade resembles that of a stealth bomber and it’s as quick as one, too. In fact, if Darth Vader were to drive a car, the M3 Frozen would be his weapon of choice. It employs a high-revving oversquare 4.0-litre V8 engine that’s been treated to a plethora of go-faster parts. BMW tuning company AC Schnitzer was summoned to turn up the wick on its innards, tweaking everything from the intake manifold to the engine management module and exhaust system.The result ups the standard power by 21kW and 20Nm, which at first may not sound that impressive, but these upgrades give the Frozen enough power to outperform the standard M3 by quite a margin. With help from the shift-adjustable M Dual-Clutch Transmission (M-DCT), 0-100km/h arrives in a trice (4.5 seconds) and the limited top speed of 250km/h is reached without breaking a sweat. Driving at the speed limit, though, is an arduous job when all you want to do is accelerate like a savage and dig holes in the tar with the rear wheels. The handling is good but you can’t push it to its full potential on public roads for fear of losing control and harming others. Best would be to take it to the track but even then you’ll need bucket loads of talent to keep it in a straight line – especially around a corner. The super-responsive and obtrusively loud AC Schnitzer-tuned racing exhaust system is incredible. The ear-splitting noise is substantially louder than the standard M3 so there is no sneaking home after a night out with the boys; your wife will hear you coming from as far away as a kilometre – seriously. The go-faster pedal is so addictive that I terrorised my neighbourhood for days; people will either love it or hate it. When I was pulling into my driveway my German neighbour marched over like an SS soldier. Fearing I’d be shot on sight, I greeted him with a sheepish smile. ‘Surely the noise level isn’t SABS approved,’ he shouted. ‘But I like it. How much?’ Well, at R1 180 000, it isn’t cheap – in fact it’s R340 500 more than the standard M3 but it’s worth every cent. What makes the deal even sweeter is that it comes standard with a five-year/100 000km service plan. You like? Well, you’re too late because they’re all sold – even my test car. How does it compare to the competition? Having driven the Lexus IS-F, Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG and RS5, I can confidently claim the M3 is the quickest. Even though its figures, on paper, are nowhere near that of a supercar, in the right hands, I’m sure it’ll give one a real scare. It isn’t the best car I’ve ever driven – the Aston Martin Rapide occupies that spot – but it does come close. It is, however, the most entertaining and frantic car I’ve ever had the privilege of piloting and if I ever win the Lotto (or rob a bank), I’ll buy one for sure.


Engine: 4.0-litre V8

Power: 330kW and 420Nm

0-100km/h: 4.5 seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Price: R1 180 000

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