Equipped with S tronic, the three-door S3 can touch 62mph from rest in 5.5 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the manual version with which it shares its governed top speed of 155mph. At the same time the S tronic boosts the S3’s combined fuel economy figure from 33.2mpg to 34mpg. As a result, CO2 output in the S3 S tronic falls from 198g/km to 193g/km.
Advanced electro-hydraulic controls and the alternate use of two clutches enable the S tronic gearbox to deliver fast automatic or manual shifts with virtually no interruption of the engine’s power delivery across its seven ratios. It is the first time in the S3’s nine-year history that changes can be made via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The first of the two clutches serves the odd-numbered gears and reverse, and the second the even-numbered gears, so when the S3 is being driven in third gear, for instance, fourth is already pre-selected in anticipation. As soon as the shift command is given, the first clutch is disengaged and the second engaged in just a few hundredths of a second, virtually seamlessly.
UK deliveries of the S Tronic S3 are expected to start in mid-December.