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The incoming new Audi RS3 has blitzed the BMW M2's Nürburgring lap time

A few tweaks mean Audi’s baby RS model is closer to supercar performance than ever before

Published: 24 Jun 2024

Sporting a fresh lick of camo, the facelifted Audi RS3 has just blitzed to a new lap record in the 'compact' class around the Nürburgring with a time of 7m 33.12s. That's more than five seconds quicker than the BMW M2, which last year managed a time of 7m 38.706s. Heck, it’s not actually that far off a Ferrari 458 Italia either, for some perspective. Mighty.

Though the turbocharged 2.5-litre five-pot remains unchanged - expected to still put out around 394bhp and 369lb ft of torque to all four wheels - Audi has equipped it with various chassis and handling improvements to make small gains elsewhere.

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Those changes are led by a revised, fully variable torque distribution system between the rear axle, while other electronic voodoo comes by way of revamped stability control and uprated adaptive damper settings on the sports suspension. This’ll be paired with a super sticky set of Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres, too.

According to chief test driver, Frank Stippler, the new RS3 “turns more willingly at corner entry thanks to fine-tuning - including brake torque vectoring - which allows the vehicle to be positioned earlier and better for corner exit.

“The result is a lower steering angle from apex to corner, which leads to less friction and earlier acceleration, allowing you to carry more momentum and speed onto each subsequent straight.” Decoded, it broadly means: faster in, faster out, faster everywhere.

Sounds good, but does the bigger performance come with any new design changes? It certainly does: the front grille has lost its break-up points to create one free-flowing piece, with sharper corners along the air vents. 

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The rear also takes a similar approach, with the mesh bumper now having a bit more, er, mesh right across. The flanks also have a bit of added profiling lower down, while the previous three-millimetre wheel well gap seems to have been dropped to one. 

The facelifted RS3 will be available for order by the end of August.

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