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Test drive: Audi S3 Sportback

 

Audi S3 Sportback

The market for 300 (roughly) horsepower all-wheel drive hot hatch covers is filling up. In the past two years, BMW and Mercedes-AMG have battled the M135i and A35 respectively, and Audi's latest S3 must adapt.


After defeating Volkswagen, he got off to a good start. Our first opportunity to drive this new S3 came a few months before Wolfsburg removed the cover from the R version of the Mk8 Golf.


What are the new features of the Audi S3 Sportback?

 The cool look obviously matches the regular A3, with a wild front face, angled design elements on the front bumper, detailed string lights, and quad tailpipes (this really is it! Long live it!). Later. If you arrive early and order immediately, version 1 of the car will be Python Yellow with yellow accents, or Tango Red if you choose the S3 Saloon.


There are hardly any changes to the interior of the ordinary A3 door, except that the interior of the sports seats uses recyclable PET plastic bottles and the Audi Sport graphics used on the digital dashboard. The quality of the material is very good, even if it is not an ordinary Audi, and the strong curmudgeon in my heart relieves me, because the A3 has manual control of the air conditioning in the touchscreen menus of the Golf and Octavia. However, the cabin is still full of surprises and joy.


However, the highlight of the S3 is its powerful powertrain, which is familiar to fans of the Volkswagen Group. The engineering focus for the powertrain is to maintain power output, and the two teams have accomplished these tasks: The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 306bhp and 295lb ft of power at 62mph in 4.8 seconds and 155mph. In bad shape.


Everything is predictable, so...

Of course, but there are some subtle changes to the S3's skin, which can take care of the smooth ride of the car. New technology includes the Haldex 6 disc clutch suspended under the boot floor, which distributes front and rear wheel drive in a more complicated way than systems of the last two decades. The Haldex clutch at the front of the rear axle takes up some space in the trunk; the ordinary A3 Sportback has a double-layer cargo compartment, while the S3 has a single-layer suitcase. The trunk volume is reduced from 380 to 325, but it is still a reasonable and practical way to swallow the daily hits.


Now, for the first time, the S3's Quattro system can fully drive the rear wheels into extreme positions, and the electronic brain can brake a single wheel for a torque vector effect. As you turn a slippery corner at high speed, step on the accelerator and you will feel the Audi slide into the corner, with an impressive neutral feel and high grip. Now, there are no longer different control systems for Quattro, vibration and brakes, now there is a unified digital brain that can make smoother, faster and more reliable decisions. Adaptive suspension is on the option list, as are the larger 19-inch wheels (the S3 usually turns 18). Both are only standard on toppy Vorsprung models.


Are you still that fast?

The real S3 is like your Golf R buddy, one of those racing cars that can drive fast with almost no effort. With a familiar powertrain, the S3 is like putting on an old pair of sneakers for owners of a Volkswagen Group hatchback: Despite the turbocharger technology, this engine will not receive any power increases in any power range. Impact. The number of revolutions only increased the limiter steadily by 2,000 rpm.


The dual-clutch automatic gearbox can still shift gears with flawless dexterity, but the previous model's sliding gear stick is gone, replaced by a metal cigarette case protruding from the center console. There is no manual switch or selection, but when you start to use the lever, the gearbox will lock the car in manual mode.


Compared to the previous model, the most notable change is how harsh and aggressive the engine sounds to this latest tune. When you enter the Dynamic, the noise will increase artificially, but after good judgment, the sound does not sound like a video game, with a peculiar tactical pop sound and exhaust sound that makes it very good and pleasant.


See it all: How does the latest S3 work?

Our test car has ticked the "Adaptive Damper" option box, and it is recommended that you order non-Vorsprung products. According to our conversation with the chassis engineer during the process of driving the prototype, its adjustment range has increased by about 40%, Based on our conversations with the chassis engineers during the process of driving the prototype, an adjustment can be achieved softer and cushioned ride comfort, or at the other extreme, can provide a firmer fit for the body of the vise. Control the time you play the Hannu Mikkola fantasy when you return home.


You can control many systems - dampers, steering weight, throttle response, gearbox mapping and exhaust sound - via the simple Audi Drive Select button on the dash. In "comfort" mode, the vehicle feels more relaxed and the damping setting is softer, which can absorb cobbled roads, potholes and potholes. Put it in a "dynamic" state and the steering will increase just fine, without some of the artificial loads experienced by previous systems. Compared to the previous S3, this is a significant change; Although there is still not enough feeling, this generation is more excited about the curves than before. . This kind of agility is welcome when traversing hairpin turns in the European wilderness.


The more attentive steering wheel is largely supported by the available grip jumps; even if you enter the corner too fast, the S3 is still a difficult car to go downhill.


Audi S3: verdict

The new 2020 Audi S3 continues to position it at the higher end of the hot hatch scale. The helpful pacing and grip of the engine and gearbox are enough to make your time worth your time, and these are complete, highly polished packages.


However, this all adds up to ruthless efficiency, and it's not a very good entertainment experience. I bet compared to some specially-designed sports cars the S3 can cover more ground, not to mention other popular hatchbacks, but later on, the faces of the people who make it to the end will show a bigger smile.

Audi S3 Sportback


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