Well I had a very interesting day with Audi, I ended up driving an S7, RS5 cab, RS6, R8 v10 plus & a new S3 sb.
The test drives themselves were on normal roads (no track driving) and were for about 30 – 40 mins each car. I was very surprised that the Audi people there were very relaxed and basically just handed us a set of keys for each car 1 at a time – no lecture no sales pitch, just a friendly go and enjoy it!
I am sure lots of people on here have driven these so I don’t want to bore anyone so a quick review of what I thought. Sorry John – didn’t get any pictures as the cars weren’t that clean and although it didn’t rain it was an overcast day so they wouldn’t have been that special.
Below are some thoughts from my perspective and my tastes – I am sure not everyone will agree.
No particular order just the order I happened to drive them in:
S7, Very nice interior, lots of toys very comfortable and competent and very quiet. This didn’t feel fast, but it was quick. This is mainly due to the comfort and silence of it. Best bits: head up display, silence of the engine, comfort of ride, general interior quality. Worst bits: silence of the engine, cost of the test car with the options it had put it past standard RS6 money. Would I swap the RS3 for one? Maybe in 10 years or if I needed a lot of rear cabin/boot space.
RS5 cab, Surprisingly similar to the coupe, nice but not really for me. I found this a little disappointing but no more than the coup version. I was tempted to change the RS3 for a coupe but then spent some time with one and realised the RS3 suits me more. No louder than coupe with the roof up. More a cruiser than a handler. I really do like the interior lay out of the S5/RS5’s and with added carbon and leather of the extended packages from the factory and buckets it was even nicer. Best bits: external looks and interior. Worst bits: feels heavy, crappy mpg for no more speed than the RS3. Would I swap the RS3 for one? no
RS6, Pretty much identical interior to the S7 – with the addition of lots of carbon fibre and a few more toys and a higher load area. It is seriously impressive how fast a car that weighs this much goes, and how quickly it can stop (the one I drove had ceramic brakes, that under light load – squealed…..sound familiar?!) I found it very much a point an squirt car as I didn’t know it well enough to push it round the bends, knowing how much it weighed and how little you can feel through the steering – doesn’t give great confidence. Best bits: sound, that you don’t notice it switching on or off 4 cylinders when pottering around. Worst bits: steering feel, price. Would I swap the RS3 for one? If I needed the load area and could afford it! The one I drove was 89k!
R8 V10 plus, WOW just WOW……I need one of these in my life!! Amazing car. The only thing I would say & it would not put me off is that he interior / electronics are of the same generation as the RS3. Same sat nav, not the new AMI or interfaces to the car and media and nav etc, I thought they may upgrade some of this at the same time as the face lift but its identical to the original bar a few very minor cosmetic bits. The S tronic box is now easily as good as it is in the other models (I did drive an R8 V8 with R tronic last year and though the gear box was shocking after the RS3. Best bits: engine – gearbox combination, driving position, visibility, everything. Worst bits: that I can’t afford one and the fact it made my RS3 feel slow on the way home. Would I swap the RS3 for one? Surprisingly, no – I would need one as well as the RS3 as I can park the RS3 in places I would not dream of leaving an R8. That would be my perfect 2 car garage!
S3, IMHO no 2.0L 4 pot needs a quad exit exhausts - over kill….having said that for a 2.0L 4 pot it did sound very nice – a very deep burble but not too intrusive like a chavved up corsa. The Audi guy said it felt as quick as the RS3…..it just didn’t – it did feel fast and not far back, but the RS3 feels a bit quicker and a lot stronger. It is defiantly a big step up from the 8p S3. Bets bits: interior technology has now caught up with the other new Audi models with he AMI, nav and car setting etc, it feels like a light car to chuck around, economy – on my drive I averaged 25mpg, if I drove the RS3 in the same way would guess it would be about 19-20mpg Worst bits: The looks haven’t grown on me yet - too subtle after the RS3, and only available with 18 inch wheels doesn’t help. Would I swap the RS3 for one? No as Audi did say an 8v RS3 would be launched but they didn’t know if it would be the 2.5L 5 or a tuned S3 engine.
Dont wanna cause any arguments just a my opinions