Audi has fired another salvo in the German power war with this: the 518bhp Audi A3 Clubsport Quattro concept. To be shown at the annual Worthersee show (which starts in Austria this week) the concept uses the 2.5-litre five-cylinder from the Audi TT RS and RS Q3 SUV.
Why has Audi built the A3 Clubsport Quattro concept?
Officially, to show the A3’s ‘sportiness’, but it points to an RS3 saloon (we've already spied the hatch testing) as well as the next TT RS, which sits on the same platform. The Clubsport Quattro concept follows on from the ballistic Audi TT Quattro Sport concept that was shown at the 2014 Geneva motor show. That car used a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder to develop a claimed 414bhp, and was a two-finger salute to the Mercedes A45 AMG, with its 355bhp 2.0-litre turbo.
Coincidentally, the most potent version of the outgoing TT, the TT RS Plus, also has 355bhp, but for the A3 Clubsport Quattro concept, Audi has pumped up the 2.5-litre five-cylinder to 518bhp. Cop that, Mercedes.
I though the five-cylinder was dead?
Never was. While Ford ditched its Volvo-sourced five-pot from the Focus ST as it couldn’t meet emissions regulations, the Audi five-cylinder has always been intended to carry on in the RS version of the new TT.
With a larger turbocharger and increased boost (now 1.5bar) it develops a mammoth 443lb ft for the A3 CLubsport Quattro and, pulling its 1527kg kerbweight, a launch control system, all-wheel drive and seven-speed S-tronic gearbox will rocket it from 0-62mph in a staggering 3.6sec. That’s crazier than the Golf R 400 that was shown at the 2014 Beijing Motor show, which was supposedly capable of a 3.8sec run to 62mph. Top speed? A ‘potential’ 192mph!
How has Audi kept the weight down?
A carbonfibre-reinforced plastic bonnet, plus aluminium suspension (which drops the A3 by 10mm, and is adjustable too) helps reduce the kilo count, and it’s fully adjustable, too. There’s the signature silver-mirror caps that all hi-po Audi’s are tagged with, but it’s the huge 21in alloys, ur-Quattro-esque blisters and gaping front apron that give the concept a take-no-prisoners stance. Massive oval pipes should have the warble of that five-cylinder at its best as it spins to its 6900rpm redline. There's also an RS5-style pop-up rear spoiler that acts as an air brake to help reduce stopping distances.
>> Is Audi having a laugh with a 518bhp, or do you think such a car makes sense? Sound off below