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Sunday, June 23, 2024

On a new level: 10 measures heightening the driving dynamics of the Audi S3

UK
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Automobile Magazine
Editor | News | United Kingdom

Challenging curves, steep mountain passes – the roads around Salalah in Oman offer ideal conditions for a first test with the Audi S3, which provides driving dynamics on a new level. Still shrouded in its exterior camouflage, the upgraded S3 is more than a mere product upgrade. Numerous technical innovations, from increased power output to the addition of a new torque splitter and the new dynamic plus mode, guarantee an exhilarating driving experience, strong performance, and agile handling.

1. More power: With 333PS and 420Nm of torque, the S3 is more powerful than ever. As part of the upgrade, the 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder receives an increased output of 23PS and 20Nm more torque. Confident pulling power and powerful acceleration are the results. The maximum torque is available across a wide range of 2,100 to 5,500rpm. The S3 accelerates from 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. Its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

2. Optimised engine tuning: The preloaded turbocharger ensures a more spontaneous power delivery of the 2.0-litre TFSI. When at a steady speed and at low to medium acceleration in the part-load range, the turbocharger keeps at a constant rpm. In addition, the throttle valve, which is open during thrust phases, improves performance. The wider and longer the throttle valve opens, the faster the torque builds up, resulting in further improved engine response. This can be experienced in dynamic mode and in the new dynamic plus profile.

3. Sportier transmission setup: The seven-speed S tronic now enables more rapid acceleration 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. The result of these measures is very good responsiveness.

4. Torque splitter: Like the Audi RS 3, the S3 now features the torque splitter, which increases agility and stability. This technology enables active, 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.

5. New Audi drive select mode: As the name suggests, the new dynamic plus mode ensures exceptionally high driving dynamics. The torque splitter sends as much drive torque as possible to the rear axle and 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 the dynamic plus mode. Compared to the dynamic mode, the idle speed of the 2.0-litre TFSI has increased by 200rpm to 1,300rpm 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.

6. Sportier front axle: A McPherson strut axle with a new pivot bearing is fitted at the front, which enables a larger negative wheel camber. Compared to the predecessor model, the camber at the front has more than doubled to just under 1.5 degrees. This increased tilt towards the road surface, i.e., the greater angle between the wheel plane and the vertical improves steering response in addition to higher lateral control, i.e., more grip and dynamics when cornering. In conjunction with the stiffer wishbones, this makes the S3 even more agile.

7. Optimised progressive steering: The S3 comes standard with progressive steering, which has the advantage of an angle-dependent ratio, meaning that the more the driver turns in, the more direct it becomes. In order to achieve an improved steering feel, the steering characteristics have been adjusted. Especially in the middle position, the steering is more centred, improving precision and feedback for overall better handling.

8. More powerful brakes: Increased driving dynamics also mean increased demand on the brakes. The S3 now features larger ventilated discs on the front axle. The 18-inch steel brake measures 357mm in diameter and, at 34mm, is four mm thicker than before. The twin-piston brake calipers at the front are another new feature. 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.

9. Higher performance tyres: With the S3 upgrade, two new 19-inch 235/35 tyres have been added to the range: performance tyres featuring optimised dry handling as well as improved braking performance, and particularly sporty tyres from Falken. The tyres offer remarkably high grip and precise track stability, especially on dry roads. In addition, the label D tyres feature exact handling across the entire speed range.

10. Next-generation electronic stabilisation control: All suspension control systems in the S3 have been specifically tuned for dynamic turn-in response and handling. The wheel-selective torque control – a software function of the electronic stabilisation control (ESC), which intervenes by slightly braking the two wheels on the inside of the curve during sporty cornering – has been further developed, as have traction and deceleration behaviors. The difference in propulsive forces means that the S3 turns into curves more easily and follows the steering angle more precisely. The heightened driving dynamics go hand in hand with improved stability at the limit. The ESC’s sport mode is designed for maximum dynamics in combination with the engine, transmission, and the torque splitter.

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