German automaker’s popular hot hatch gets another tuning program

Audi’s award-winning 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine has earned another distinction among the list of accolades it has already received. It has become a favorite among aftermarket companies because of the enormous tuning potential it has displayed. One car that has benefitted from this is the RS3 Sportback, the high-performance variant of Audi’s A3 lineup.

You only need to take a look back at some of the recent programs for the RS3 to understand why the model has become a hit to a lot of tuners. Over the past year, companies like ABT Sportsline and MTM have built kits for the car, and now, MR Racing is joining in on the fun with its own program for the RS3.

This program is packed with modifications, especially on the cosmetic and performance fronts. Sure, there are no aero kits to speak of, but MR Racing made up for that by giving the hot hatch a look that inspires both confidence and aggressiveness. More importantly, the engine upgrades are impressive, not because of the immense power increases they provide, but because they’re varied enough to give customers a chance to choose the right amount of power they’d like to have on their RS3s. And because the engine is considered the standard-bearer for all engines in the 2.0-liter to 2.5-liter category, it makes it easier for MR Racing to come up with modifications that suits a wide range of customers.

Continue after the jump to read the full review.

  • 2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-5
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    535
  • Torque @ RPM:
    517
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.9 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    190 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing High Resolution Exterior
- image 672050
2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing High Resolution Exterior
- image 672049
2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing High Resolution Exterior
- image 672047

Don’t expect to see any aerodynamic upgrades on the Audi RS3. All the standard components are accounted for, but the performance hatch does come with some notable updates. The most significant of these updates is the custom body wrap that evokes images of the old Martini racing livery. The racing stripes stretch from the front bumper all the way to the rear bumper while a separate set of liveries also extend from both sides of the RS3. MR Racing also installed a new set of 19-inch lightweight alloy wheels finished in a “Traffic Red” color. The tires are shod in 235/35 R19 Pirelli tires, completing the exterior upgrades on the RS3.

Interior

There are no shots of the interior and according to MR Racing, no updates were made other than the addition of a custom DVD player with sat-nav. That’s the extent of the changes made to the cabin, so if anybody’s expecting more out of this program from an aesthetic standpoint, don’t get your hopes up.

Drivetrain

2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing High Resolution Drivetrain
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The real highlights of MR Racing’s program for the Audi RS3 Sportback are the plethora of engine upgrade that the tuner has made available for the hot hatch. All told, MR Racing prepared two separate engine kits for the RS3’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine, beginning with the Stage 1 kit. This particular update comes with an ECU remap and a custom-made stainless steel sport exhaust system that the tuner received from Friedrich Motorsport. The latter comes with a larger downpipes and HJS metal sport catalysts, ensuring an improved airflow throughout the engine. These upgrades are responsible in bringing the RS3’s output up to an impressive 448 horsepower and 482 pound-feet of torque.

Stage 2 adds a new TTE 500 turbocharger, high-pressure fuel pump, and a more efficient intercooler to bring the output up to 535 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque.

If those numbers aren’t good enough, MR Racing’s Stage 2 kit should be. This particular program builds from the first stage kit and adds a new TTE 500 turbocharger, high-pressure fuel pump, and a more efficient intercooler to bring the output up to 535 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque.

No performance numbers were announced, but given the amount of extra power that MR Racing was able to squeeze out of the five-cylinder turbo, a 0-to-60-mph sprint time in the mid-three seconds isn’t out of the cards. Likewise, a top speed in the range of 190 mph should also be attainable.

Lastly, to accommodate the RS3’s significant increase in power, MR Racing also installed a height-adjustable KW Clubsport coilover suspension kit.

Pricing

MR Racing didn’t release the pricing details for this program so the best way to do it, as always, is to contact the tuner directly to get a price quote.

Competition

Audi RS3 V8 by MTM

2015 Audi RS3 V8 By MTM High Resolution Exterior
- image 657415

The Audi RS3 has become a tuning favorite, but no tuner has been as active in building programs for the RS3 as MTM. In the past five months, the German tuner has developed two separate kits for the hot hatch and it’s appropriate that we look at both to see how they match up against MR Racing’s new kit. The first of these two programs is the V-8 kit that was presented in November 2015. This program consisted of just a couple of aero kits, specifically the carbon front spoiler wing and the carbon diffuser. Cosmetic changes were also made, including new design stickers and carbon mirror caps.

MTM’s work on the RS3’s 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine include the addition of an M-Cantronic engine upgrade that pushes the output to 415 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Likewise, a more powerful MTM-motronic upgrade was also made available for owners of the RS3. This kit helps the hot hatch reach an output of 435 horsepower and 447 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.9 seconds to go with a top speed of 186 mph.

Read our full review here.

Audi RS3 R by MTM

2016 Audi RS3 R by MTM
- image 667513

In February 2016, MTM returned with an upgrade of a kit it already unveiled a few months earlier. The aero upgrades are similar to the previous kit, but MTM did add racing stripes and side graphics as extra options. Some updates on the interior were also featured in this kit, none more prominent than the orange honeycomb stitching on the RS6-style sports seats and door panels. LED car door logos were also present to go with refinements on the dashboard, center console, and armrest.

Okay, we already know about the M-Cantronic and the MTM-motronic engine updates. But MTM presented an even bigger engine upgrade with this tuning kit, helping the tuner squeeze out 502 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. This kit further drops the car’s 0-to-62-mph sprint time to 3.6 seconds, three-tenths quicker than the past program. That said, top speed remained at 186 mph.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Audi RS3 By MR Racing High Resolution Exterior
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On the surface, this program speaks to the kind of versatility the Audi RS3 has from a visual and performance standpoint. The white body and the matching Martini Racing-inspired racing stripes are a great combination. I’m not as hot on the use of red wheels, but other than that, the cosmetic package gives the RS3 a strong visual boost. Oh, and the engine upgrades give customers the variety they need to pick which power update suits their style best. There’s an unspoken versatility that comes with MR Racing’s program and that’s what I think will serve it best when it becomes available.

  • Leave it
    • Not as sold on the "Traffic Red" wheels
    • Competing tuners have compelling kits of their own
    • Not a lot of significant updates on the interior; no aero kits
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