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More Power, More Fun? Audi Reveals New S3 With More Performance and RS Technology

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Static photo, Colour: Daytona Grey matt

For those looking for a refined, premium and capable hot hatch but unable to quite stretch to the Audi RS3, the S3 is a strong option. Over the years it has offered the same firepower and all-wheel drive ability as the fan favourite VW Golf R, but with a more premium image. Having said that, there has been criticism for the latest generation of Audi A3 not offering as much of a step up in interior quality as before, but we’ll look past that.

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Colour: Daytona Grey matt

I drove the Audi S3 a few years ago and whilst it was very efficient and capable, it was a bit of a numb experience. At the same time I was testing the Cupra Formentor and to be honest, the Spanish-branded car was more interesting and therefore more appealing. The Cupra excited me whereas the S3 failed to achieve the same x factor.

Narrowing The Gap?

It looks as if Audi is narrowing the gap between the S3 and the RS3 – a car I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way – as the latest S3 features more power and will now also benefit from the “torque splitter” used in its five-cylinder powered big brother. Yes, it may make use of the same 2.0 litre E888 engine – which is by no means a bad thing, by the way – but it now offers 23 more hp and 20Nm more torque.

The result is a hot hatch – or saloon, if you prefer – that produces 333hp and 420Nm of torque. As before, this power is fed to all four wheels via a 7-speed S Tronic transmission, with a 0-62 time of just 4.7 seconds. Top speed, as you would expect, is still limited to 155mph.

One of the headlines for the new Audi S3, is that it’s now available with the Torque Splitter, which has been handed down from the RS3. This tech makes use of an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each driveshaft which is able to distribute the power across the axle, resulting in a more dynamic driving experience.

To add to this, there is also a new driving mode to go alongside the Torque Splitter – Dynamic Plus. This mode will not only send more power to the rear wheels, but will send more power to the outside rear wheel, meaning the S3 will have a tendency to oversteer, as opposed to the kind of understeer Audi has been known for over the years.

More Beefed Up

To help improve the handling further on the Audi S3 the new model has wishbones with stiffer bearings as well as a design that allows for more negative camber – this allows for better contact between the tyre and the road. This also improves the steering and Audi state that the progressive steering has been optimised to make it feel even more precise.

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Colour: Daytona Grey matt

With more power comes the need to slow the car down more efficiently and as you would expect, Audi hasn’t ignored this area. The new Audi S3 features front brake discs that are 357mm in diameter and they are also 4mm thicker, at 34mm. The brake pads are larger, and the two piston calipers on the front axle are new as well.

What Else Is New?

As you would expect, the look of the car has been tweaked, with Audi stating the exterior is more aggressive than before with new lighting that offers a choice of four daytime running light signatures and rear lights that have also been revised. In Audi’s words, there are “quite a few alterations” when it comes to the interior in the form of new shifter design, new lighting, and fabric panels in the front doors that have been laser cut no less than 300 times.

The new Audi S3 will go on sale in May this year with prices yet to be confirmed.

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Colour: Daytona Grey matt

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