What is it?
It’s an A3 2.0 litre turbo Quattro on steroids.
The motor has had a thorough strengthening – new piston pins, connecting rods, bearings and a stiffened block – and there’s a new, highly heat resistant cylinder head. Bigger injectors and revised exhaust cam timing support the main news: a bigger turbocharger and intercooler combination.
The resultant power hike to 261bhp makes the new S3 the most powerful Audi hatchback ever and the current boss of the niche. The six-speed gearbox has had its ratios grouped closer together to aid acceleration and it’s been strengthened along with other driveline components.
On the chassis side, the springs and dampers have been stiffened, the ride height dropped 25mm and the power steering system recalibrated. Parts of the suspension are now made from alloy instead of steel, and there’s RS4 style 18” alloy wheels to transmit the power to the road. Inside them, lies a new high performance brake system especially designed for the S3.
Inside the usual high-quality cabin has a smattering of S3 design touches, and if you wish, RS4 style bucket seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel.
What’s it like?
Fast, growling, surprising. The old S3 might not have been at the forefront of a petrol head’s ultimate drives wish list, but it found huge success through mixing real pace with stability, quality and meaty styling.