The S3 is a standalone model at the top of the A3 Saloon range and shares its drivetrain with the three-door S3 hatchback and the five-door S3 Sportback. That engine is the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous EA888 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TFSI unit.
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In this state of tune it develops 296bhp between 5500-6200rpm and 280lb ft from 1800rpm to 5500rpm – the same as the Volkswagen Golf R whose drivetrain evo already highly rates. Like the Golf, the S3 also comes with two transmission options – a six-speed manual and an optional S-tronic dual-clutch.
Power is sent through a Haldex part-time four-wheel drive system under the familiar quattro banner. In normal driving, torque is biased towards the front wheels, but up to 100 percent of the torque can be sent rearwards should the situation call for it – think low-grip situations rather than lurid drifts.