When engaged, the setting – known as 'torque rear' mode – is capable of sending "up to" 1750Nm to either the left or right rear wheel (whichever is under primary load during a corner) through the engagement of two independent axle-mounted clutches (shown below).
This helps break traction and allows the tail of the car to step out, permitting controlled slides. A similar system is used in the new-generation Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch – due to reach Australia early next year – when equipped with the R Performance package.
Drive comes from a turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, and this sends 294kW/500Nm to all four corners of the car via the brand's Quattro all-wheel drive system.
This allows the 0-100km/h sprint to be conquered in a claimed 3.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 290km/h.
Six driving modes are on offer, accessible via the centre-console mounted infotainment screen. These are dynamic, comfort, auto, individual, RS performance, and torque rear.
In 2017 Stephan Reil – then-chief engineer at Audi Sport – described drift modes as “a waste of time,” and suggested the brand would never equip its cars with such technology.
"No drift mode. Not in the R8, not in the RS3, not in the RS6, not in the RS4," Mr Reil told Autoblog. "I don't like them. I do not see the reason for them. We do not see the sense in sitting there burning the back tires. It's not fast ... The car is much faster the way we do it, and drifting also does not really suit the architecture of our cars."
The all-new 2022 Audi RS3 performance hatchback and sedan will be revealed in full on 19 July 2021. Follow CarAdvice and Drive to keep up with all the latest updates.
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