I'm lucky to live close to some of Wales best driving roads and earlier this week my 'commute' meant I could either go along the M4 or take the more direct route straight across the mountain. The A4069 Black Mountain Pass is one of those iconic roads used by Top Gear and evo magazine to test the true abilities of cars.
I've written about the RS3 across this road in the wet before and rather than just my words this time here are the best sections of the road in video, accompanied by the glorious visceral 5 pot sound track. The initial uphill section is tight and twisty while the section at the end is more open, sweeping and little quicker.
The early part of the Pass is tight and narrow, and as you'll see the local residents like to hang around close to the verge along with some sharp rocks that mean you concentrate that bit harder. The speed limit is of little concern as there are few places you could get close to it even in a car like the RS3.
The initial uphill section is a real test of the mighty torque the RS3 has. Yet even on the steepest sections you are forced back into the bucket seat with the relentless stream of acceleration. As you'll hear in the video the seemless upshifts are the key factor in this. The throttle blipping downshifts remain as thrilling today as the first time I drove the RS3. Feeling your body being pinned against the side bolster of the seat and then firing out of the hairpins with ferocity is just addictive and the real party piece of the RS3.
What impresses me most is the way the RS3 flows along this road, scything through the tight corners with ease and composure, the suspension is so settled that it just inspires confidence and dares you to get back on the throttle earlier. You wouldn't want anything wider along this road and I seriously doubt any supercar would be quicker along this type of tight twisting tarmac. The AP brake upgrade offers incredible stopping power to match the extra grip and balance of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres - but in truth even on this spirited drive the brakes are rarely tested. The extra feedback from the Michelin Pilot Super Sports is invaluable on a road like this, you can feel the limit of grip through the wheel and seat, the RS3 just feels more balanced and lets you know when the car is settled and ready for more throttle. Oh and you need the ESP firmly off to enjoy these sensations you will be amazed how early it interferes and spoils the fun if you leave it switched on.
When you drive the RS3 every day on normal roads it is all too easy to forget just what it is capable of. I live for this type of road where I'm forced to recalibrate my senses, where I'm pushed into the seat under acceleration and hanging against the belt under braking, enjoying testing my own limits as much as the cars.
I've driven many cars along this road and the RS3 is, wet or dry, the best by far. I'm still amazed by the depth of ability, the endless grip and almost unbreakable traction. Over a year into ownership I still finding myself grinning from ear to ear after a drive like this which is testament to just how good the RS3 really is.