Meet the Audi RS3 LMS. Revealed alongside the new RS3 saloon at the Paris motor show, it is the road car’s bigger, meaner brother.
Doesn’t it look fantastic? Designed for the TCR touring car series, it appears to have been taking styling tips from the latest wave of WRC rally cars. The arches look big (and steep) enough for toddlers to slide down.
It has been revealed as Audi’s Quattro department changes its name to Audi Sport, a name that covers all performance and racing cars from the four-ringed brand. Alongside the RS3 saloon, it’s quite an opening gambit.
Such are racing regulations, it’s actually weedier than the RS3 road car, powered by a 2-litre four-cylinder engine that’s 20 per cent smaller, and around 70bhp lighter, its peak output 326bhp. As such, the LMS’s 4.5sec 0-62mph time and 150mph top speed are dowdier, too.
Not that these figures matter too much on track. The RS3 LMS’s bullying styling ought to count for a lot in the cut-and-thrust world of touring car racing. Deliveries start in December to the teams who’ve snapped one up, ahead of the RS3 LMS’s racing debut in 2017.
Prices, if you’re so inclined, start at 99,000 euros before tax. So around £100,000 with VAT included.
It would seem it’s a bargain, too, for Audi has had to rethink how many it’s making after the orders flooded in. “Feedback has been really great,” Audi Sport’s Stephan Reil told TG. “We are just reorganising production because the order bank is bigger than our planned capacity for production.
“It was still quite a secret until today [its Paris show reveal]. We talked to some teams about what we are doing beforehand, and they started ordering. But of course after today we can expect another wave of orders.”
Customer racing versions of the R8 are traditionally the bestselling in their class, and it would seem the RS3 – which goes up against rivals such as the VW Golf TCR and Opel Astra TCR – might be on track to do the same. Like it?