The new Audi S3 offers drive features that set new standards in this class. It responds to steering input precisely and spontaneously, and takes all types of corners at high speed and with little body movement. Its handling is accurate, robust and almost neutral; the suspension nonetheless ensures a high level of comfort.
In comparison with its predecessor the front axle has been moved forward by 42 millimeters (1.65 in), the new 2.0 TFSI is assembled with a 12-degree slope backwards. The subframe and the hinge bearing for the front suspension are made of aluminum, as are the front fenders and the hood. Together with the lighter engine they save around 22 kilograms (48.50 lb) of weight.
Different gear ratios: Progressive steering
Progressive steering is one of the innovations the new Audi S3 boasts. Its rack is meshed such that the gear ratio varies independently of steering input, making it more direct in the event of strong steering maneuvers. In any situation this engineering gives the driver the steering characteristics he desires.
The powerful electric motor providing the servo boost harmonizes perfectly with the character of the steering system, decreasing its output as speed increases. The progressive steering works closely together with various systems on board the new S3, such as the standard rest recommendation and the optional Audi active lane assist and park assist systems.
The front suspension is a McPherson construction. It has a track width of 1,535 millimeters (60.43 in). A stabilizer bar is used front and rear. The four-link rear suspension has a track width of 1,511 millimeters (59.49 in). Its sword-shaped trailing arms absorb the drive and braking forces. For the sake of travel comfort their bearings are large in volume and relatively elastic. On the other hand, the three wishbones per wheel for absorbing lateral forces are attached very rigidly to the steel subframe for enhanced handling.
The links of the rear axle are made of high-strength steels; the wheel carriers are aluminum. The shock absorbers and the compact coil springs are separated from one another, resulting in sensitive response and a large trunk. The sport suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in) compared with the A3.
As standard the new Audi S3 has 7.5 J x 18 wheels. The tires have a 225/40 format; despite their dynamic qualities their low rolling resistance increases efficiency. The wheels, sporting the five parallel spoke design specific to the S, are made using the flow-forming technique. The outer rim is rolled out over a cylinder at high pressure and high temperature. While the system is shaping the wheel blank it is also strengthening the material, which allows for thinner wall thicknesses – the wheel is lighter, yet stronger. As an alternative Audi mounts 18-inch wheels in three other versions, for the winter there 17 and 18-inch wheels. A tire pressure indicator is standard.
The brakes of the new Audi S3 can be calibrated exactly. All the discs are internally ventilated and are 340 millimeters (13.39 in) in diameter. The brake calipers are painted black and have an S3 badge. They are also available painted red.
The new electromechanical parking brake, which the driver operates via a button, is integrated into the rear axle brake system. The ESC electronic stabilization control boasts a new level of evolution and operates extremely sensitively. In the event of a crash, the standard secondary collision brake assist prevents the new S3 from continuing moving uncontrolled.
Driving dynamism at the touch of a button: Audi drive select
The Audi drive select driving dynamics system embraces the characteristics of the electronic gas pedal, progressive steering support and the shift points of the optional S tronic.
The driver determines with the push of a button whether these systems operate in comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency or individual mode. In individual mode (available with the MMI radio or above), drivers can compose their own preferred profile within certain limits. In the efficiency mode, systems are optimized for fuel efficiency, including the optional comfort automatic climate control system, cruise control system or adaptive cruise control and adaptive light.
Another optional module integrated into Audi drive select is the electromagnetic damper control system Audi magnetic ride. The damper pistons contain a synthetic hydrocarbon oil containing microscopically small magnetic particles. When a coil applies a voltage, the particles align perpendicular to the direction of flow of the oil, impeding its flow through the channels in the pistons.
The system’s control unit permanently analyzes the condition of the road and the driving style and keeps adapting the damping forces in milliseconds. The driver is able to switch these systems between three different modes. In the auto mode the new S3 moves smoothly and in the comfort mode relatively gently. In the sport mode, on the other hand, it holds close to the road – the steering commands are implemented even more spontaneously and rolling movement minimized.
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions accepted.