PH Blog: S express
Why S sometimes beats RS when it comes to PH-friendly Audis
gizmo related faffage.
Pick your way carefully around the S4 spec sheet though and, to some extent, you can get much of the previous RS’s appeal, the pick of the gadgets that do work and the ability to pass on the ones that don’t. OK, noisy V8 beats supercharged V6 any day of the week. But with the optional Sports Differential (£620 and available on non-S 3.0 TDI A4s too) it can do most unexpected things.
First clue I was wrong was a chat with an engineer who said they’d benchmarked the Sports Differential against the Mitsubishi Evo’s Active Yaw Control and Super All Wheel Control. Really? With that in mind and on a devilishly slippery kart track I decided to see what lurked beyond default Audi understeer. Sure enough on turn-in it wanted to plough on. But with throttle came a most surprising response – a gentle transition to the rear axle, a quarter turn of opposite lock and a predictable, graceful slide out of the corner all four wheels scrabbling. Amazed I remember trying it again. And again.
Same goes for the TT S, which is much more lively, gutsy and fun than the faster but stodgy and uninspiring RS version, a pattern repeated with the RS5. Especially if you dig out a pre-facelift S5, before the switch to the supercharged V6. What’s not to likeabout the combination of Audi’s lovely, free-revving 4.2 V8, subtle looks and a close-ratio six-speed manual, after all. The gap is narrower with the more back to basics RS3, which is a cool car in its own right. But the S3 is not far off, more attainable, easily tuned and also available as a manual.
Proof that a little bit less can add up to a whole lot more, at least when it comes to fast Audis.