Audi S3 prototype drive | Autocar

Then there’s a new mode, named Dynamic Plus, which gives a faster idle speed (1300rpm, compared with 1100rpm), shorter shifts and a more direct throttle response. It also sends as much drive torque as physics allows to the rear axle and from there to the outside rear wheel in cornering.

The sports suspension features a new pivot bearing on the front MacPherson strut, allowing for more negative wheel camber (it is now just under 1.5deg) in a bid to improve the steering response, along with stiffer wishbones. There are also stiffer bearings and retuned adaptive dampers.

There are two new 235/35 tyre types for the 19in wheels, including a Falken sports set that is claimed to significantly improve handling and braking. Stopping power now comes from bigger front brakes, which feature 357mm steel discs. The progressive steering system has been tweaked too.

Full performance details aren’t public yet, but the 0-62mph sprint now passes 0.1sec quicker, at 4.7sec. But the litany of changes and adjustments mentioned above aren’t really about improving the times: it’s about better meeting that all-rounder brief.

What’s the new Audi S3 like to drive?

In urban traffic on the bumpy, dusty roads of the coastal Omani city of Salalah, the S3 rode with an ease and pliancy lacking in some hot hatches. It’s still a touch stiff, like so many hot hatches are, but not so much that you wince approaching every speed bump.

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