So I've had a couple of days with my RS3 now, and managed to take a few pics, so thought I'd share initial thoughts along with them.
So the good...
The NOISE! OMG the noise! It's stupendous, and far better than I remember on the few test drives.
With it in Dynamic mode anyone within 100 yards will be under no illusions about what this car is, it is not possible to drive it quietly!
I have to say even in comfort it makes a fair amount of noise (I attempted to creep on/off the in-laws drive, but failed!), inside it becomes very quiet in Comfort, still audible and the same sound, just probably 40% of Dynamic mode.
It also starts up with a throttle blip and overrun burble/snarl regardless of the Drive Select Mode it was left in! And if cold the high idle is very loud for 30 seconds or so. It's really not a car to get if you want to have good relations with neighbours!
The POWER! The main thing you notice is how linear and unrelenting it is, and at ANY speed. I've had 300+ BHP cars before, but the RS3 just keeps pulling, it's very impressive, and you really have to be aware of the speedo as it doesn't take long to get round the dial! So far I've not gone too mad, just a couple of squirts to see whats she's like, over the next few hundred miles I'll continue to give it a hard, but not brutal run-in, for what should hopefully be a nice free-revving engine in the long run.
The LUXURY! Being in the S1 for a year, I'd forgotten how much I liked some of the plushness and creature comforts the SQ5 had. The 8V platform as a whole is VERY nice inside, and the RS3 with it's little extras like the mono-pur knee and door pads is fantastic. I love the red accents in the air vents that fold in/out as you pull the knob to narrow the air flow, just like the tail pipe of a jet engine does to achieve the same effect as the thrust is turned up - the A3/S3 have the same but you don't notice it without the fact that the flaps are red. A small piece, but one I really like, is the super slimline/sleek rear view mirror, and also that the auto-dimming button/light/sensor are no longer offensively large sticking out the bottom!
The noise inside the cabin is also minimal, very little road noise or tyre roar (considering they are 19s!), this is generally good, but will come back to this in 'the bad'...
The TECH! The LTE/4G Audi Connect is SOOOOO much faster than the 3G in my S1/SQ5 were. And the MMI as a whole is much faster to respond to inputs. The track pad makes it much easier to use, particularly when scanning around the nav map (not quite got the hang of left-handed text input with it yet though!).
Other bits of note are the advanced key is now much more sensitive and locks/unlocks much quicker than previous models, so you don't have to grad, wait, pull, you just grab and pull as if it was already unlocked.
The adaptive cruise is going to take some getting used to as well, I had it on the SQ5, but it lacked stop-and-go and would disengage at <20mph - but the RS3 happily comes to a stop, and if it's a brief one (up to 3 seconds) pulls away again, otherwise once the car ahead moves you blip the throttle or pull the ACC stalk and it pulls away on it's own - not sure I'll realistically use it much if at all for this, it's mainly for the long-haul motorway that I wanted it, but it's a clever feature all the same - I'd prefer if the 3 seconds stop time was longer though (might see if I can change that in VCDS).
The LIGHTS! The LED lights are in every way better than any BiXenon I've ever experienced. They have a slight blue cast to them, but the throw is amazing, even on 'dipped' you can see so far without dazzling traffic in-front. And the corner lighting is lovely. Very impressed as from what I'd read people didn't rate them as that much better than BiXenon, but I think they are much better and a very welcome edition to the standard spec. I also need to reduce the High Beam Assist activation speed with VCDS, as 37mph is too fast to need to go for them to turn on, it needs to be around 30mph for the unlit villages around here - I've done this on a few cars so presuming it's as easy on the RS3.
The B&O! Oh how I missed you! The Bose in the S1 was just not up to par (and cost the same amount!!). It needs a few hours to bed in, but I can already tell it's better than the SQ5 one, mainly because it's a less boomy space. The ability to set the sub as well bass/treble is a nice extra. It's a beautifully balanced system, with superb clarity. Even with the volume up as loud as you would ever reasonably want it you could still have a normal conversation with the front seat passenger without shouting - the only other car I've experienced this in was my 135i which had a Harmon Kardon system, this B&O has a bit more depth than that did so I think it's going down as best stereo I've had yet
And the bad...
Low speed brake squeal - Oh yes, it's inherited it from the Mk1! Only had it once or twice and very short at the final 1-2 feet of stopping and TBH I'm REALLY hoping it's while the brakes bed in, but we'll see!
Jerky gear change - Twice today on 1st to 2nd I noticed it basically just slammed it into 2nd, for no good reason, I was probably at about 10% throttle pulling away from a set of lights both times. Also twice today, in 6th, ~45mph come to an incline and the downshift to 5th (I made no change to throttle input it just decided it was needed) was also pretty harsh. Neither of these were neck-wrenchingly bad, but given all the other changes have been so smooth they stood out, and especially as both were under light load. I'm hoping maybe the gearbox program will learn over time as it adapts to my driving, again, we'll have to see.
Cabin Noise - so because the cabin is so well insulated, it means that 1) the exhaust is MUCH louder outside and you need the window open to really get the full effect and 2) you start to home in on all sort of other little noise which would otherwise be drowned out, like the A/C fan, or earlier on a road with some loose clippings (going dead slow so as not to flick to many up!), you would hear quite loudly every one that did hit the underside/bodywork. It's hard to truly call this a bad point, but it's something I picked up on!
Drive Select - it has the same problem as all the S/RS's seem to, in that after engine restart if left in Dynamic or Individual with Engine/Gearbox setting as Dynamic, on startup it's quietly gone back to Auto without any indication other than the pops and bangs don't happen and you have to cycle through the modes to properly engage Dynamic mode. On the plus side in Individual, with the Exhaust Sound setting left as Dynamic, this does stay put, so the only thing you lose on a restart is the pops and bangs, it's still damn loud!!
Phone Pocket Under Armrest - Handy net to put your phone in, excellent, make it 5mm too small to easily fit the iPhone with the RIDICULOUSLY large AMI plug on the bottom of it, stupid!
TBH this is an AMI cable design fault, there is no need for it to add over an inch to the length of the phone! A minor quibble, but annoying none the less.
I think for now those are my initial observations! As the weather has been so pants I've not had the chance to really do any 'spirited driving' and in all honesty probably won't for a few weeks until it's got a few more miles on the clock, so I'll save updating this thread until then with thoughts on that and after living with it for a while. As of now though VERY HAPPY! Oh, and I still giggle when I see the plate I got for it!
Anyway, here's Baggy (Panther Black paint, Black Panther in Jungle Book, Bagheera aka Baggy)...