Thursday, June 13, 2024

High-performance, agile, expressive: the new Audi S3

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Automobile Magazine
Editor | News | United Kingdom

With a host of new features, the Audi S3 is more than just a product upgrade: Increased output, a torque splitter, and other technology highlights ensure strong performance and agile handling. Visually, the compact model reflects its increased dynamics with an expressive front design, a sporty diffuser, and a four-pipe performance exhaust system. The Audi S3, available as a Sportback and Saloon, goes on sale in May.

More performance: 2.0 TFSI with 333 PS
With 333 PS and 420 Nm of torque, the S3 is more powerful than ever. As part of the product upgrade, the 2.0 TFSI receives an increase in output of 23 PS and 20 Nm more torque. The result is confident pulling power and strong acceleration. The S3 accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. Maximum torque is available in a wide rev range between 2,100 and 5,500 rpm. Top speed is limited to 155 mph. The engine and transmission also receive a sportier tuning: When at a steady speed and at low to medium acceleration in the part-load range, the preloaded turbocharger keeps at a constant rpm. In combination with the throttle valve, which is opened during overrun mode, this improves performance. The seven-speed S tronic now enables a more spontaneous takeoff, thanks to higher starting torque. This is achieved by compressing the clutch pack of the respective clutch more strongly. In addition, the shift time for gearshifts under full load has been halved, and engine speeds are increased under partial load when the transmission is set to D which results in improved responsiveness.

More driving dynamics: quattro drive system with torque splitter
Following the RS 3, the torque splitter is now also available in the S3, increasing both agility and stability. This technology enables fully variable torque distribution between the rear wheels. The torque splitter uses an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each drive shaft to optimally distribute the torque between the rear wheel on the inside and the outside of the curve – depending on the driving situation and the chosen Audi drive select mode.

More emotion: Audi drive select mode dynamic plus
Audi drive select offers six distinct modes for a wide range of driving experiences – from an emphasis on comfort to highly dynamic. In addition to the familiar profiles (auto, comfort, dynamic, individual, and efficiency), the model upgrade for the S3 features the new dynamic plus mode, which – as the name suggests – ensures especially high driving dynamics. To do this, the torque splitter sends as much drive torque as possible to the rear axle and to the rear wheel on the outside of the curve, resulting in a tendency to oversteer. The electronic stabilisation control (ESC) is automatically active in sport mode. Modest interventions by the ESC system ensure an increased and even more emotional driving experience on surfaces with different friction coefficients. The engine and transmission have also been tuned specifically for dynamic plus mode. Compared to the dynamic mode, the idle speed of the 2.0 TFSI has increased by 200 rpm to 1,300 rpm to improve off-the-line performance further. The throttle response is even more direct. In addition to shorter gearshifts, the transmission also contributes to increased dynamics with later upshifts and earlier downshifts.

More precision: suspension optimisations
Wishbones with stiffer bearings and new pivot bearings that allow more negative wheel camber ensure improved steering response and increased lateral control, which means more grip and dynamics in corners. Fittingly, the optimised progressive steering helps the S3 take corners even more precisely. Especially in the middle position, the steering, with its angle-dependent ratio, is more centred, which improves handling.

The S sports suspension comes standard in the S3 models. It lowers the body by 15 mm compared to the A3. The same applies to the S sport suspension with adaptive dampers, available on the S3 Vorsprung, which has been specially tuned for the torque splitter and the respective Audi drive select modes.

A new generation of electronic stabilisation control is also used. Wheel-selective torque control, which selectively brakes the wheels on the inside of the curve slightly while cornering, has also been further developed, as have the traction and deceleration behaviours. Overall, the S3-specific tuning of the suspension control systems results in dynamic turn in and driving behaviour. The improved handling goes hand in hand with improved stability at the limit.

More deceleration: larger brake discs
The increased driving dynamics mean increased demand on the brakes. For this reason, the model upgrade for the S3 has been equipped with larger ventilated brake disks on the front axle, which are perforated to provide a visual highlight. The 18-inch steel brake now measures 357 mm in diameter and, at 34 mm, is four mm thicker than before.

The two-piston calipers at the front are new too. They further improve braking performance, as do the larger pads and larger friction surface of the discs, which have a significantly higher thermal and thus also a higher load capacity.

More expressiveness: progressive design
With the model upgrade, the Audi S3 has an even sportier and tauter appearance. The hexagonal, frameless Singleframe features a new structure that is noticeably flatter and wider. L-shaped design elements accentuate the voluminous grille that, along with the large, angular side air intakes, highlights the S3’s dynamic character. A striking front spoiler, with two vertical struts inspired by motorsport, connects the two and further lowers the S3 visually.

A new bumper also makes the rear look more dynamic than ever. The structure of the Singleframe with its distinctive L-wings is reflected in the glossy black rear apron above the diffuser. It is divided into two parts for an S specific design that looks particularly sporty when combined with the vertical side reflectors that are a design feature of RS models. The dynamic appearance is rounded out by four tailpipes, another characteristic S-model feature. The optional performance exhaust system, which delivers a more voluminous sound, features a titanium silencer.

The vehicle’s progressive design is further accentuated by new expressive metallic finishes, including District Green, Ascari Blue, and Progressive Red. For the first time, Daytona Grey is also available in a matte finish.

More variety: up to four different daytime running light signatures
Like the redesigned Singleframe, the lighting design is significantly flatter, emphasising the width of the Audi S3. The 24-pixel elements that make up the digital daytime running lights in the LED and Matrix LED headlights are now arranged in three rows on the upper edge of the housing. For the first time in A3 series models, it is now possible to select and switch between up to four digital daytime running light signatures in the MMI. “This offers our customers a higher degree of personalisation. They can change the expression of their model at any time. The signatures interpret self-confidence and agility in different ways,” says Cesar Muntada, Head of Design Light Experience at AUDI AG. “This is also true for the coming home/leaving home scenarios, which were designed individually for each signature.” The tail lamps also feature a new rear light design and new staging of the coming home/leaving home function.

More charisma: sharpened interior
To match the more striking exterior, the interior has also been significantly sharpened. There are quite a few alterations here – from the shifter design and air vents to the decorative fabric inlays and new interior lighting. All these elements show precision in detail and emphasise the vehicle’s progressive and technical appearance.

The standard ambient light package plus in the S3 adds accents in the storage compartment in front of the shifter, on the doors, and in the footwell. With the model upgrade, the centre console and cup holder now also feature contour lighting. One eye-catching new design element is the fabric panel in the front doors that was laser-cut 300 times. Its five segments are backlit by a light source in the door panel. The different sizes of the elements create a dynamic flow of light, which is also apparent when locking and unlocking the vehicle. This makes the illuminated fabric panel a unique design experience.

The interior of the S3 models features dark colours with a few silver accents. A black roof lining, stainless steel pedals, illuminated door sills with aluminium inserts featuring the S logo, and aluminium-style interior trim emphasise the vehicle’s sporty character. Artificial leather armrests and three-zone comfort air conditioning come standard. Flattened at the bottom, the three‑spoke sports contour leather steering wheel features multifunction buttons and new chrome-plated steering wheel paddles. Sports seats with integrated headrests and pronounced side bolsters provide enhanced lateral support. In addition to Dinamica microfibre, a new technical textured fabric is available for the decorative inlays, as is carbon fibre, which is available on the S3 Vorsprung.

More functionality: integration of apps and functions on demand
The S3 is digital and connected, thanks to numerous connect services, functions on demand, and a store for apps. In addition to DAB+ digital radio and the 10.1-inch touch display, the Audi virtual cockpit plus, and an inductive smartphone charger all come as standard. In addition to the two front USB C charging ports in the centre console, there are two additional ports in the rear as standard.

Other optional features include MMI navigation plus, along with the complete connect portfolio and access to the store for apps, which allows the driver to use a wide range of applications right on the vehicle display. The selected apps are installed in the S3’s infotainment system without taking a detour via the user’s smartphone. Users can also interact with their apps via voice commands.

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