The new Audi RS3 touts its new trick Quattro AWD system as one of the finest in the world, and overall, the capable compact sedan is an incredible performer of a car that punches well above its weight. But that begs the question: how well would it fare against the car that really put the Quattro AWD system on the map, the Sport Quattro S1 Group B rally car?
Comparing specs between the two, the RS3 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 401 hp (407 PS / 299 kW) and 359 lb-ft (487 Nm) of torque, and it weighs 3,472 lb (1,575 kg). The Sport Quattro S1 is powered by a 2.1-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 500 hp (507 PS / 373 kW) and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) of torque, and it weighs 2,403 lb (1,090 kg).
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Where the RS3 has the advantage is in its power delivery. Its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic should be much quicker at shifting gears than the Sport Quattro’s 6-speed manual, and its modern AWD system with launch control is much more advanced in its decisions on when and where to send power to the wheels. However, the Sport Quattro has the advantage in its numbers, with 99 more hp (100 PS / 74 kW) and 1,069 lb (485 kg) less curb weight than the RS3.
In the drag race, the RS3 got the jump on the Quattro and held its lead for a decent amount of time, but the rally car came back with full force, bucking violently with each shift, and in the end it finished nearly two car lengths ahead of the RS3. In both rolling races, the RS3 didn’t have the launch advantage, and as a result, the Sport Quattro pulled ahead and just kept going until the end. With all that being said, the Sport Quattro S1 is a priceless race car that the average person could only dream of owning, while the RS3 is a mass production compact sedan that’s relatively affordable, so given that, it didn’t fare all that poorly.