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The 2002 400-Horsepower Audi RS3 Sets a New Record on the Drag Strip

Externally, the new Audi RS3 doesn't look too far afield from the regular A3. Yes, there are scoops littered about. Yes, there are bigger wheels and tires. But it's the small bits that might go unnoticed that matter most.
Mat Watson and the Audi RS3 6 photos
Mat Watson and the Audi RS3Mat Watson and the Audi RS3Mat Watson and the Audi RS3Mat Watson and the Audi RS3Mat Watson and the Audi RS3
First, the majority of the scoops and vents found on the RS3 are real. Then, those giant brakes up front result in some of the best stopping distances Carwow's Mat Watson says he has ever tested. The body is physically wider than the regular car too.

Mat pours on about how it's 25 mm lower than the regular car, has a serious trick suspension, and features a new differential as well. That dif is a big key too. Unlike older RS3 models, this new car doesn't understeer like mad. The differential allows the rear tires to slip-slide away in a linear fashion.

Inside the RS3, buyers will find a plethora of small details that, like the exterior ones, make the car all the more enjoyable. Small red touches are everywhere. These signify the RS model over just the S or the A3 Sport.

The red stitching on the Alcantara steering wheel and other perforated leather seats are fantastic. There's more red on the seatbelts, the dash, and even the air vents. Watson isn't too keen on that last bit though.

He's also not a fan of the weird rev-counter. It's too weird to easily describe here but to give you some idea, it comes towards you. The cupholders are also no good. In addition, Audi has limited the top speed of the RS3 to 155mph, which is a bit silly since other versions can go up to 180.

Of course, most will focus on slower speed acceleration over top speed joy rides. Turns out, the RS3 is pretty quick. They get the chance to test it in the dry and the wet. In the wet, it matches Audi's claim of a 0-60 time in 3.8 seconds.

Then in the dry, it does the same feat in just 3.6 seconds. Not as quick as some have had it, but still very fast. It then rockets through the trap at the end of the quarter-mile drag strip in 11.98 seconds. That's faster than any RS4 Carwow has tested.

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