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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


No electric help needed as Audi debuts power boosted facelift S3

Four Rings' "entry-level" performance model effectively provides the first hint of the expected power and torque figures of the Volkswagen Golf 8.5 R.


Its arrival all but a forgone conclusion following the reveal of the facelift model that underpins it, the A3, last month, Audi has officially detailed the reworked S3 in Sportback and Sedan guises.

New outside

Both bodystyles’ first refresh since the S3’s global unveiling just under four years ago, the revisions are more than skin deep as underneath, more power has been extracted from the 2.0 TFSI engine without the need for hybridisation.

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Externally, the S3 builds the A3’s aesthetics, but with the addition of newly styled 18-inch or optional 19-inch S alloy wheels wrapped in Falken Label D tyres, the S bumpers and door sills, a lip spoiler at the base of the front bumper, a gloss black finish on the rear apron above the diffuser and quad exhaust outlets.

As with its sibling, the S3 receives a frameless surrounded Singleframe grille, new headlights with LEDs or the optional Matrix LED diodes, and the option of a titanium performance exhaust system.

Updated Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan revealed
Ascari Blue debuts as one of four new colour options. Image: Audi

New on the colour palette, which rounds the exterior off, are four hues; Daytona Grey, Progressive Red, Ascari Blue and District Green.

Extensively retuned underneath

Dynamically, the electronically controlled torque splitting system from the RS3 has been made standard on the S3 for the first time.

Utilising a multiple disk clutch on each driveshaft, the setup provides an even torque split between the front and rear axles as a means of “increasing both agility and stability”, according to Audi.

Audi unwraps facelift S3
Wheel sizes range from 18 to 19-inches. Image: Audi

In addition, the steering has been retuned, the S sport suspension – which drops the overall ride height by 15 mm fitted as standard, and the wishbones stiffened-up with new pivot bearings.

Elsewhere, the S adaptive suspension remains an option, but not the uprated brakes, which are fitted as standard in the guise of a ventilated two piston caliper setup at the front with 357 mm in diameter discs.

Updated Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan revealed
As before, the sedan will atop the S3 line-up. Image: Audi

As before, the Audi Drive Select system sports five modes; Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual, plus a new Dynamic Plus which automatically puts the Electronic Stability Control in its sportiest setting, while sharpening throttle response, gear changes and directing most of the power to the rear axle.

Small changes inside

Inside, the revisions applied to the A3 are carried over to the S3 in the shape of the 10.1-inch MMI Plus infotainment system, the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster, the new centre console and toggle switch for the S tronic transmission.

Updated Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan revealed
Design has been carried over from the facelift A3, with subtle model specific inclusions. Image: Audi

Unique to the S3 though is the otherwise optional expanded ambient lighting package, S branded illuminated alloy treadplates, a black roofliner and stainless alloy pedals, the S sport seats trimmed in textured fabric and Dinamica micro-fibres, the S steering wheel and dark aluminium as well as silver inserts.

More power than Golf R

As mentioned, the biggest highlight centres around the 2.0 TFSI engine’s increased outputs of 17kW/20Nm.

The same outputs as the limited edition Volkswagen Golf 8 R 333, the 333 pferdestarke (PS) translates to 245 kW, with torque now rated at 420 Nm.

Audi unwraps facelift S3
Standard S sport seats are trimmed in textured fabric and Dinamica micro-fibres. Image: Audi

While still limited to 250 km/h, the 0-100 km/h sprint now takes 4.7 seconds as opposed to the previous 4.8 seconds.

Sending power to all four wheels, the inclusion of the torque splitting system has resulted in added fine-tuning of the seven-speed S tronic ‘box, which the Four Rings states “enables a more spontaneous take-off” as a result of the added torque, plus its wider rev-band availability from 2 100 rpm to 5 500 rpm.

Confirmation awaited

On-sale in Europe within the coming weeks priced from €55 600 (R1 122 125), the updated S3 has so far not been confirmed for South Africa, however, given the A3’s anticipated arrival in the third quarter of the year, expect both the S3 Sportback and Sedan to become available before year-end.

NOW READ: WATCH: New Audi S3 Sportback takes on popular VW Golf R

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