What is it?
This is the Audi S3 S Tronic. It’s the same 261bhp, four-wheel drive super-hatch that’s been around since 2006, but now it’s fitted with a twin-clutch gearbox.
The S Tronic transmission is essentially the older six-speed version of VW’s DSG gearbox rather than the latest seven-speed unit, but the shifts are smooth and rapid, and the Audi S3’s relentless shove means that the seventh ratio is rarely – if ever – missed.
What’s it like?
The addition of the S Tronic ’box to the Audi S3 is a civilising influence on an already civilised car.
The four-wheel drive Audi S3 has always been more of a swift, surefooted express rather than a tearaway hot hatch, and the quick, silky twin-clutch S Tronic only adds to the S3’s high-speed cruising credentials.
Audi claims that the twin-clutch transmission knocks two tenths of a second from the S3’s 0-62mph time, bringing it to 5.5sec. We can well believe it; the smooth turbocharged four-pot motor barely has to pause between ratios.
The shift paddles are almost redundant, however. If you stick the lever into ‘S’, the upshifts and downchanges are so well timed that changing gear yourself can actually hinder rapid progress.