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Audi S3 facelift gets 245kW of power, drift mode rear differential


Accomplished premium hot hatch set to gain more power, more character in chassis-focussed bump

Audi has substantially upgraded the mechanicals of its S3 hot hatch and performance sedan range, reducing the gap between the model and its more hardcore – but supply-limited – RS3 sibling.

There are subtle aesthetic and equipment changes too, but chief among the upgrades are two alterations under the skin.

Audi S3 Sedan 2024 ascari blue front end

First: outputs from the S3’s 2.0-litre ‘EA888’ turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine are lifted from 221kW/400Nm to 245kW/420Nm – a not insignificant 11 percent increase in power.

That’s the 245kW tune expected to come to Australia’s version of the Volkswagen Golf R in the near future.

Second, Audi has seen fit to trickle down the RS3’s twin-clutch rear differential – and its drift mode capabilities – to the S3, allowing the more subtle Q-car specification to power oversteer much more easily.

Audi S3 Sportback 2024 daytona grey matte front end

The twin-clutch diff is similar to that used by Ford’s previous Focus RS. The S3’s Quattro all-wheel drive system can send 50 percent of engine torque – or 210Nm – to the rear axle exclusively, all of which can be locked to the outside wheel.

The RS3 and Golf R have exclusively featured the tech in the Volkswagen Group stable so far, though the Cupra Formentor could receive the differential in a future update.

Additionally to a revised, pre-loading turbocharger, the S3’s seven-speed wet dual-clutch automatic has received a strengthened clutch plate that is said to halve shift times under hard acceleration.

Audi S3 Sedan 2024 ascari blue front end

The result of that change, Audi says, is a reduced 0-100km/h time of 4.7 sec (down 0.1 sec).

Styling updates are slight. Like the underlying A3 model, which was facelifted last month, the S3’s front end has been gently revised with a simplified grille and more sophisticated 24-pixel matrix LED headlights.

Buyers can still choose between a matte aluminium styling package or a black pack.

Inside, minor material changes give the S3 a small cosmetic upgrade.

Timing for the updated S3’s arrival in Australia is yet to be determined but it is expected to fall around the end of 2024.