When the new 2022 Audi RS3 first debuted, it made quite the stir with its new RS Torque Splitter rear differential. That might not sound that important but it makes the RS3 the first ever front-wheel drive-based Audi capable of rear-biased power. With its new rear-biased power, the new RS3 is a far better driver’s car than before and more capable on track. But is it quick enough to take down the superb BMW M2 CS at the most treacherous track in the world? As it turns out, possibly, yes.
Audi recently recorded an official lap time of 7:40.748 around the Nürburgring, which makes it the fastest car in the compact segment at the Green Hell. The last time the BMW M2 CS was officially timed around the ‘Ring, was when Christian Gebhardt lapped it for an Auto Sport test. Gebhardt recorded a time of 7:42.99, two seconds slower than the Audi RS3.
Admittedly, this isn’t a true apples-to-apples comparison. For starters, the two cars weren’t driven by the same person. Gebhardt drove the M2 CS, while Audi’s own professional driver, Frank Strippler, drove the Audi RS3. I’m not implying that Strippler is necessarily better than Gebhardt but it’s still not a properly accurate test if the drivers are different. Secondly, Strippler was part of the development of the RS3’s driving dynamics, so he’s intimately familiar with how it drives. Lastly, the Audi RS3 was equipped with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, which are hyper-aggressive, semi-slick tires, so it could have had a tire advantage as well.
Even with those little asterisks that come with this comparison, it’s possible the Audi RS3 is quicker around the ‘Ring anyway. It has similar power — the Audi RS3 uses 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder to make 394 horsepower (401 horsepower in the U.S.), versus the M2’s 3.0 liter twin-turbo I6 with 444 horsepower — but the Audi has all-wheel drive. So its superior grip might have made it a bit quicker.
It would be interesting to get both cars on the same track, on the same day, with the same driver, in the same conditions, to see which is faster. It’s going to be tricky to get our hands on the M2 CS again but we’ll likely get the chance to drive the RS3 in the near future. Hopefully we can put both cars back-to-back to see which is best.