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New 2024 Audi S3 finally available to order, with 328bhp and £47k starting price

The updated Audi S3 hot hatchback and saloon benefit from new chassis hardware and more power

Order books have finally opened for the updated Audi S3, hot on the heels of the refreshed A3. The new S3 is packing some impressive high performance hardware to help it take on premium hot hatchbacks like the Mercedes-AMG A 35, Volkswagen Golf R and BMW M135i.

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Starting under the bonnet, the S3’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine now delivers 328bhp and 420Nm – 23bhp and 20Nm up from before – so it can now rocket to 62mph in 4.7 seconds. In addition to the on-paper improvements, Audi’s also making noise about the engine’s more aggressive demeanour.

This starts with the engine mapping, which can now keep the turbocharger spinning more of the time to help in-gear response. There’s also a new Dynamic Plus mode which runs the car at a higher idle speed, plus a pre-load system for the turbocharger that’ll keep the throttle valve open for longer on the overrun. 

The result of this is a faster reaction time from the turbocharger as it retains boost pressure for longer. Audi will also offer an optional Akrapovič exhaust system on overseas models, but it’s not being offered to UK customers at the moment. 

The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has more aggressive mapping, with a rejigged launch mode and a 50 per cent increase for the actual shift speeds. The biggest drivetrain upgrade, though, is the integration of a torque-vectoring rear differential, or ‘Torque Splitter’ in Audi/VW speak.

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The system works much in the same way as it does in an Audi RS 3 or VW Golf R by being able to apportion up to 100 per cent of the available torque to either of the rear wheels. Being part of a Haldex-style AWD system, this is never more than 50 per cent of the total engine output, but is still enough to give the S3 a more dynamic, balanced feeling in the aforementioned Dynamic Plus mode. 

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Unlike when used in the Golf R or RS 3, the system is set up to help the nose turn in to corners rather than to aggressively overspeed the rear wheels, so don’t go expecting any RS 3-style drift modes. Audi has, however, introduced a new ESC Sport mode to make the most of the S3’s newfound throttle adjustability. 

The Audi S3 chassis has also undergone some fairly substantial changes starting with the front axle. New suspension geometry has been introduced with stiffer wishbone bearings and an increase in negative camber. Audi says this improves front-end grip and steering precision, helped further by a new set of optional 19-inch Pirelli tyres.

The brakes are slightly bigger, now at 357mm on the front axle gripped by larger twin-piston calipers. Passive dampers are standard, but a set of adaptive dampers are fitted on top-specs models.

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On top of these mechanical changes, the new S3 has picked up the same styling and tech updates as the rest of the Audi A3 range. This includes new front and rear bumpers and lighting. The new Matrix LED headlights feature the same customisable lighting signatures, and come alongside a range of optics packages including the typical Audi ‘S’ model brushed aluminium and Black packages that swap out bright elements in the grille and window surrounds for darker alternatives.

Inside, Audi has focused on improving material quality where possible, including adding new soft-touch Dyanmica elements on the door cards and dashboard that reduce the amount of hard plastics on show. The infotainment system is largely untouched, but now features Audi’s latest software updates, and there’s a more comprehensive ambient lighting option with new elements in the doors. 

The new Audi S3 Sportback starts from £46,925, while the S3 Saloon is priced from £52,400. Both models are offered in two trim levels – Black Edition and Vorsprung – with standard kit including 19-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, an updated Virtual Cockpit driver’s display, 10.1-inch touchscreen, head-up display, SONOS sound system, front sports seats and adaptive cruise control. 

Top-of-the-range Vorsprung models get adaptive dampers, matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree parking camera setup, a powered tailgate and more advanced driver assistance features.

Oh, and fans of the Audi RS 3 needn’t stress about the future five-cylinder flagship as it’ll be along in a few months time, and we’ve already spied it undergoing testing on the hallowed Nürburging. 

Click here for our list of the best hot hatchbacks...

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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