Every once in a while I get to wondering why I own a 340bhp car capable of 60 in a smidge over 4 seconds and way more than double the speed limit. First there is the daily traffic, frankly some zero tax 60mpg ultra sensible ecotrolley would be more useful on most weekday commutes. Add to that some of the worrying stories posted on here like seats & wheels being targeted and even cars being stolen at knifepoint you do start to question the sanity of it all. Best not to mention squeaks either…
A deep bass growl becomes a roar as the road opens up and there isn’t a car in sight for miles. The familiar whuuummppp as you rip through another gear and suddenly I remember why it’s all worth it. In full RS3 weather, rain and plenty of standing water, along challenging mid Wales roads I didn’t see another car for almost 10 whole miles. Ten miles of pure exhilaration lay ahead, using all the performance, traction, grip and stopping power available to make seriously rapid progress.
I know these roads well and have driven them in a multitude of performance cars and nothing in my experience comes close to the on road ability of the RS3 in the wet. Fast sweeping corners were today’s real highlight, an ever tightening lefthander pinning me against the shoulder of the bucket seat, the RS3 seeming to dare me to press the throttle harder and push toward the limit of adhesion. Now I realise the need to recalibrate my senses, my perception rather than the grip available was the limit there. Push even faster around the next sweeper and there is even more grip to be found. Even if I could cover the ground quicker than I was today I’m not sure I want or need to.
Not once did I think “what I need is a bit more power”, there is plenty of grunt to bring the rear of the car into play if you really must but on road that isn’t my idea of fun. The RS3 has more than enough power to make you concentrate, to plan, read and think through the road ahead. Just how long can I keep the throttle pinned before that next corner? How much speed can I carry over that crest? Will it stop in time? The answer to the last is yes. The brakes are faultless – (and entirely squeak free) – and this is as testing as any road route gets. Coming over a blind crest, the front wheels lifting slightly, the next downhill section is a tester, a tractor has strewn mud tyre tread tracks down the road into a 50 degree left hand bend. I need to lose some speed and the ABS starts to chatter over the muddy road, turn in and there is plenty of grip, throttle on and fire through, mud clanging in the arches.
After twists and turn the road open out, no traffic and even the sheep are hiding from the rain. One of those rare moments when I can finally deploy everything the RS3 has to offer, it’s an eye widening ride. It’s on roads like this you realise how well the RS3 flows, it rewards fast progress, standing water is shrugged off, any meandering traffic is despatched with ease while the cornering confidence is awe inspiring.
So as my RS3 sat on my drive ticking, hissing and giving off the aroma of hot oil and exhaust gasses I just noticed how almost 1 year on I’m still enjoying the experience and can still find nothing to fault. Although this is far from a problem, and a topic for another post sometime, I think the RS3 might be almost too good, some cars might do one or 2 things better but I have no idea what could do everything so well.