The new Audi S3

The Audi S3 is back, and makes the company's 'S' line-up now total four (S3,S4, S6, S8). The latest model comes with a 265 HP version of the 2 litre four-cylinder TFSI motor coupled - naturally - to a 4wd system and 6-speed gearbox. The engine produces its maximum power at 6,000 rpm and the car's performance allows a maximum speed limited to 155 mph plus 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h) achieved in just 5.7 seconds.

Compared with the A3, the 2.0 TFSI engine is an advanced version which has undergone fundamental changes. The new turbocharger with its enlarged turbine and compressor rotor generates 1.2 bar of boost pressure – an unusually high figure. A modified intercooler significantly lowers the temperature of the compressed air, thus increasing the air mass necessary for combustion. Pistons with stronger pins and strengthened connecting rods with new bearings transmit the forces to the crankshaft. The cylinder block has been stiffened up and the head is made of a new, highly heat-resistant alloy. At just 2,500 rpm it produces 350 Nm of torque - pulling power that remains constant up to 5,000 rpm. In the combined driving cycle the FSI direct petrol injection technology contributing to combined economy figure of 25.7mpg.

The new Audi S3 has a six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox. Gearshift travel has been reduced for the S3, enabling even sportier and more precise gear changes. As is the case for all Audi S models, the new S3 drives all four wheels by means of quattro permanent four-wheel drive. An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, positioned at the rear for the benefit of weight balance, distributes the torque as needed – delivering plenty of grip and maximum driving safety. All the components in the drive train have been strengthened to cope with the high level of engine torque

Compared with the standard car, the S3's springs and shock absorbers are stiffer, and the body sits 25 mm lower than an A3 with regular suspension. Aluminium pivot bearings and wishbones reduce the weight of the front suspension. The car also features stiffer suspension mounts and a sportier characteristic for the electro-mechanical steering, 18-inch alloy wheels and 225/40 tyres, and a high performance brake system with sports brake pads ensures maximum deceleration. The black painted callipers bear S3 emblems.

Standard equipment includes deluxe automatic air conditioning, a driver information system with a new lap-timer function, and an anti-theft alarm, front fog lights and xenon plus headlights with daytime running lights. Various extras are also available, including a leather steering wheel with flat-bottomed rim and – in the quattro GmbH range – folding bucket seats. In the infotainment area, Audi is presenting a new generation of audio systems. The premium package is rounded off by universal interfaces for mobile phone and iPod, plus a sound system from Bose.

The basic price of the 265 bhp Audi S3 in Germany is EUR 35,150 and the UK On-The-Road figure is likely to be £27,000. The new S3 will be available for UK ordering in early September with first UK customer deliveries scheduled for January 2007.

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Audi

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