Roland Mayer began his career engineering Audi’s inline-five in the first Quattro, so if anyone can best tune these potent little engines, it should be him. Cue his company’s latest five-cylinder upgrade of the Audi RS3, the MTM RS3 R.
MTM (Motoren Technik Mayer) launched to fame with the S2 RSR, which was making 422 horsepower from its 2.2-liter turbo five-cylinder in the early 1990s. The front tires were wider than the rears, just as they are on the current 10Best-winning RS3 sedan. The extra R in MTM’s RS3, as you can predict, means more power. A lot more.
With MTM-spec turbos, a carbon-fiber intake, intercooler, downpipe, exhaust, and engine control unit software, the RS3 R’s 2.5-liter five-pot spins a crazy 565 horsepower at 6650 rpm (the standard car makes 400 hp at 7000 rpm). It boasts 494 lb-ft of torque at 3250 rpm; the stock one makes 354 lb-ft at 1700 revs. The lowered, cambered Gepfeffert suspension is within a millimeter of making the car look like a stanced Jetta, and we’re glad MTM didn’t drop it any farther onto its 20-inch Bimoto wheels. Via a small LCD control, MTM allows back-door access to the Haldex center differential’s torque split and locking functions, including an option to disable it for torque-steering front-wheel burnouts. MTM estimates zero to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds (on par with our test of a stock RS3) and a 186-mph top speed (12 mph higher than Audi’s claim).
MTM’s creations are for Europeans, who can have the parts installed at either the MTM factory or an authorized MTM dealer in Germany, and the Chinese. The RS3 R pictured here runs a cool $85,000 at current exchange rates. For less than $70,000 fully loaded here in the States, a stock RS3 isn’t exactly left wanting for anything more.