This Is Like Chili in Continental #BlackChili Driving Experience

An Audi RS3 Sportback test drive is like the holy grail for hot hatchback lovers. I visited that holy grail of mine, and boy was I overwhelmed by the experience.

As you probably figured out if you read about my time at the Continental #blackchili Driving Experience, I had a unique chance to drive a number of cool cars at an exclusive vlogger/blogger/influencer event organized by Continental AG in Nice. It was called the #blackchili Driving Experience, and I had a chance to drive the Audi RS3 Sportback there on a fantastic route that spanned for 40 or 50 miles. No, that is not enough for a proper test drive, nor was the time spent with the Audi RS3 Sportback enough for a proper assessment of its abilities or its virtues. But it was enough for one thing - to teach me that this hot-hatch is a freaking monster, an animal only a few could tame, and the biggest sleeper I have ever driven.

It Looks Underwhelming, But Performance Will Overwhelm Even Veteran Drivers

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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Seeing a car like this parked on the streets is not inspiring. It is almost underwhelming. The RS3 Sportback is, in essence, a hatchback. It all changes, though, when the bucket seats hug you, and you press that start button.

The RS3 Sportback sparks to life with unusual vigor.

This is mainly thanks to the rather free-flowing exhaust system with open valves and five cylinders that are good for 2.5-liters of displacement. At that point, the Virtual Cockpit shows its red counter and its clear - this isn’t an A3.

But, if you haven’t driven cars of this magnitude before, no Virtual Cockpit or sound from the exhaust can prepare you for the sheer brutality and severity of its acceleration. The numbers do say a lot - the Audi RS3 Sportback with a Quattro all wheel drive and 400 horsepower on tap will accelerate to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. That’s Porsche Carrera GT quick. This is not the point though.

The point is that driving this car on the mountain roads requires full concentration. And I would never, ever advise you to push it hard on twisty roads you’ve never driven on before. It is too fast for such a feat and rather unpredictable for someone lacking experience. In other words, tread lightly in your first time behind the wheel.

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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I did write a thing or two about its impeccable acceleration in my previous article.

“I was far from taming a beast like this, so I felt it is simply too fast for a road with so many short straights and extremely sharp turns.

See, the car accelerates so much in such a little space frame, that I had to brake in full a few times.

Honestly, I was thinking, this thing would be better off on a racetrack than on this road.

Nevertheless, it was fun. And scary - especially when one particularly nasty curve formed ahead. I was heading toward speeds that could land me right in jail, and the only thing I could do is hope that Black Chili Continental and Bruce Almighty might save me. They did.“

See, the Audi RS3 Sportback is scary quick. One cannot but be surprised. When you enter a car looking like the RS3 Sportback you are simply not prepared for the cruelty of its acceleration and its callous nature.

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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I was afraid while I was driving it. I am not even ashamed to admit that. I was not afraid of driving the Ferrari FF or the Nissan 370Z after journalists skinned its tires like skin from a hare, but I was afraid of pushing the Audi RS3 Sportback to its limits.

And then, the irony. Before me was a piece of road where once famed drivers pushed their machines to the very limit in an event known as the Monte Carlo Rally.

Monte Carlo Rally Road In An Audi RS3 Sportback

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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I said, “fq it” and pushed the Audi RS3 Sportback, leaving my safety to the Black Chili molecules of the newest Continental tires beneath me. They were big - 235/35 ZR19, to be exact. Well, I didn’t exactly feel if the tires were the ones to save me, but considering I never was completely sure of what the Audi RS3 Sportback would do, how quick it would accelerate, or the severity of the bends before me, I am pretty sure that Black Chili saved me once or twice.

Honestly, the Audi RS3 Sportback is remarkable. I am staggered by what Audi's engineers could actually pull off with the hatchback concept.

The RS3 Sportback is fast. Brutally so. Yet, I can feel that an engine like this, the all-wheel-drive system, and the suspension crave for an architecture that isn’t actually hatchbackish. I sat too high, felt somewhat threatened too often, and never got into a groove with the car even after 50 miles of drive.

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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Now, I am sure that none of this would have been a problem if I could, say, drive it on the track for a few laps, go for a slalom between the cones, or have it for a couple of days before heading down the road of the Monte Carlo Rally. Then, I’d know what to expect, what to obviate, and how to behave. Like this, the Audi RS3 Sportback and its massive power reserve with perplexedly quick delivery simply overwhelmed me.

This is the first time that I've driven an Audi RS3 Sportback, and it was not actually pleasurable. It is like losing your virginity actually.

You are glad you finally crossed that bridge, but you kinda feel like it could have been better. And it will be better.

Conclusion

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 Audi RS3 Sportback
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The Audi RS3 Sportback is a magnificent piece of machinery and it delivers bewildering performance to a car architecture that was never intended to go as quick. My sex analogy is, I think, a suitable one. This is a brutal machine, and you have to learn to tame it, to cuddle it, and finally to love it. Then, every bend will be crisper, every braking point clearer, and every mph easier to comprehend. Just don’t get too afraid the first time.

Further reading

2018 Audi RS 3 Sportback High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS3 Sportback.

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