Due in Australia later this year, the new Audi S3 Sedan and S3 Sportback will feature a focus on greater power and driving dynamics for these perennially popular models.

14 February, 2024

When the last iteration of the ever-popular S3 models arrived in Australia in 2020, they represented a significant increase in power over their predecessors of 15kW and 20Nm. Now the first look at the prototype S3 models sees that trend continued with a further 17kW and another 20Nm of torque extracted from the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder petrol engine. With maximum torque of 420Nm available between 2100rpm and 5500rpm and peak power of 245kW, the S3 prototype shaves 0.1 second off the previous model’s sprint time, hitting 100km/h from standstill in just 4.7 seconds, but represents even greater response and pulling power than ever before.

The increased power is just one of many new developments in the S3 that see the compact performance Sedan and Sportback reach a whole new performance level. Optimised tuning makes for a far more responsive package with more spontaneous power delivery thanks to the new preloaded turbo. The recalibrated seven-speed S tronic transmission sees change points and launch off the line greatly improved with shift times halved when the vehicle is under load.

The new S models also sees the introduction of the torque splitter first seen in the current RS 3 models. This system ushers in a whole new performance driving dynamic for the S3 models with an electronically controlled multiple disk clutch on each drive shaft used to distribute torque between the rear wheel on the inside and the outside of the curve. 

This facilitates the introduction of a new dynamic plus mode in the Audi drive select which allows the torque splitter to send as much drive torque as possible to the rear axle and the rear wheel on the outside of the curve, giving the car an oversteer bias and resulting in an infinitely more engaging drive when circumstances allow. One of six different drive profiles available through the drive select system, they range from comfort to dynamic plus which also sees the next-generation electronic stabilisation control (ESC) tuned for dynamic turn-in and sharpened handling. The wheel-selective torque control – a software function of the ESC, which slightly brakes the two wheels on the inside of the curve during fast cornering – has been further improved, as have traction and deceleration behaviour. 

Indeed the ESC’s sport mode is designed for maximum dynamics in combination with the engine, transmission and the aforementioned torque splitter. 

Across the board the S3 has been refined and improved with an emphasis on performance and handling. New suspension sees a McPherson strut axle with a new steering knuckle fitted at the front, enabling a larger negative wheel camber, which has more than doubled over the previous model. This in concert with the optimised progressive steering make for a car that offers greater steering resposes, grip and agility.

Providing a perfect counterbalance to the increased performance are more powerful brakes and new rubber on the 19-inch alloy rims. Larger ventilated discs up front measure 357mm and are now four millimetres thicker than before as well (now 34mm). The twin-piston brake callipers at the front are likewise a new feature, working with larger pads and the larger friction surface of the disks, which have a significantly higher thermal for a higher load capacity. 

This improved braking performance matches perfectly with two new 19-inch 235/35 tyres on offer – a performance tyre designed for maximum dry handling as well as dedicated sports rubber for those looking to take their S3 to the track. 

The sum of these changes promise an even more performance-oriented S3 when it arrives in Australia later in the year. In keeping with the brand’s philosophy of always improving both efficiency and performance with each successive model, it now delivers figures closer to the likes of its big-hitting sibling, the RS 3 than ever before – bearing in mind that the RS 3 models feature the brand’s iconic 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine to deliver the massive 294kW and 500Nm.

With its distinctive Audi camouflage livery it’s impossible to comment on the final design and styling of the new S3 which will have to wait until its official unveiling in the coming weeks. Final specification, equipment and pricing for the S3 Sedan and S3 Sportback will be confirmed closer to their Australian introduction later in 2024.