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New Audi S3 Receives a Power Boost to 328 bhp and RS3 Tech

Updated: Apr 17

New Audi S3

Audi announces a revised S3 hatch and saloon for 2024, complete with a power increase, styling tweaks and the promise of improved handling courtesy of the RS3’s torque splitter.

New Audi S3 - Power hike, faster gearshifts

Let's get the numbers out of the way first. Still making good use of the evergreen EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line four cylinder, the facelifted S3 now packs a healthy 333 PS and 420 Nm of torque. In old money terms, that's 328 bhp and 310 lb ft (up by 23 bhp and 15 lb ft), bringing it nicely into alignment with the Golf R 20 years. Transferred to the road via the Haldex all wheel drive system and a seven-speed ‘S tronic’ dual clutch transmission, the S3 is capable of completing the benchmark 0-62 mph sprint in 4.7 seconds.

The improvement in performance is down to more than the hike in power. The gearbox has been revised to deliver 50% quicker shift times at wide open throttle, and launch control is now even more aggressive, as the transmission is able to handle the higher torque output by compressing the clutch pack more strongly. Audi also claims improved responsiveness of the S tronic in drive mode thanks to revisions to the throttle valve and turbocharger. As a result, peak torque is available between 2,100 and 5,500 rpm. Top speed, as ever, remains limited to 155 mph.

Audi has also paid attention to the slow as well as the go, with the S3 benefitting from larger ventilated and perforated front brake discs now are 357 mm in diameter and 34 mm in width, or four mm thicker than before. New two-piston callipers can also be found tucked behind the 18 inch alloys on the front axle.

New Audi S3

New Audi S3

New Audi S3

New Audi S3 - A focus on Agility

The biggest news for us however, is the adoption of the RS3’s vaunted torque splitter on the back axle. The technology enables fully variable torque distribution between the rear wheels via an electronically controlled multiple disc clutch on each drive shaft. With the S3’s new Dynamic Plus mode selected, the torque splitter will direct power to the outside rear-wheel, tipping the balance towards oversteer. With the device fitted, the S3 could finally answer some of the lack of agility criticisms directed at the model in the past.

Audi itself is keen to stress the revised S3 delivers a more ‘expressive’ driving experience. Part of a suite of six driving modes, Dynamic Plus also dials up the aggression of the throttle response, dials back the intrusion of the (recalibrated) stability control, increases engine idle by 200 rpm for improved off the line performance, and programmes the gearbox to deliver later upshifts and earlier downshifts if left to its own devices.

A raft of suspension changes also bring claimed benefits to the dynamics of the facelifted S3. The wishbones now feature stiffer bearings and new pivot bearings which allow more negative wheel camber, with the goal of improved steering response and more grip. The progressive EPAS system has also been fine-tuned to deliver more precision.

New Audi S3

New Audi S3

New Audi S3

New Audi S3

New Audi S3 - Spot the difference styling, tweaked interior

For us, the Q car looks of the S3 are a huge part of the car’s appeal, and Audi has wisely resisted the temptation to dial up the aggression of the exterior in-line with the increased performance.

Both the saloon and hatch have been treated to a subtle new grille with chrome L-shaped highlights to differentiate the model from lesser A3s. Anoraks will also note the 15 mm lower ride height, deeper front chin spoiler and revised LED Matrix headlights with customisable daytime running lights. At the back, a new rear bumper is also embossed with the L-shaped embellishments and houses the traditional four exhaust pipes.

If you prefer your S3 to shout about its performance, you only need to look towards the options list. A sports exhaust system complete with a titanium silencer is available, as are fractionally wider (235-section) 19” alloy wheels. New, bolder metallic colours have also been added to the roster including District Green, Ascari Blue, and Progressive Red. Daytona Grey is also available in a matte finish.

The interior has also benefited from a similar philosophy of detail changes. A new gear shifter, revised air vents, new fabrics and an extension to the ambient lighting array separate the new from the old. Furthermore, there’s a new three-spoke steering wheel, chunkier sports seats and gnatty laser-cut door cards. In terms of gadgets, the S3 offers a wireless smartphone charger, two USB ports front and rear, plus a 10.1-inch touchscreen offering all the expected connectivity.

The new Audi S3 is priced at £46,925 for the Sportback hatch, and the Vorsprung (which is the flagship trim) is £52,400. If you fancy the saloon, the on-the-road price is £47,490 and £52,965 respectively. That's a significant hike over the outgoing £42,220 model, however the S3 remains competitively priced against its key rivals, with a Mercedes A35 AMG costing £46,000 OTR, and the BMW M135i commanding £41,880.


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