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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Ultimate Daily. We test VAGtech's RS3. With an explosive, tuned five-pot and everyday practicality, this Sepang blue RS3 is a true all-rounder… Words & Photography Davy Lewis. RS3 VAGtech’s potent daily driver.

    One thing I’ve found from working in the UK car scene is that you tend to bump into the same faces over the years. It’s quite a small world really, so it’s to be expected, but I still love it when I meet an old contact from years back.

    I first met VAGtech’s, Jon Watts, back in 2005, when I worked on Redline magazine. He’d built a turbocharged Golf R32, which he let me drive for a road-test feature. It made around 400bhp and coming from a 150bhp Golf GTI, it blew me away. Unsurprisingly Jon became known as the go-to man for R32s, but when the first generation of RS3 was launched, he got into Audi’s premium Sportback – in a big way.

    With his own demo car making big power, and being used to constantly test and develop performance parts, it was a regular at events and track days. This extremely well-prepared RS3 was eventually sold to a customer, leaving Jon with a quandary: what to replace it with?

    Well, that was an easy one – a brand new RS3 8V.

    The Sepang blue Audi is Jon’s daily, but also a test bed for performance parts. Over a coffee, I asked him his thoughts on the tuning scene today.

    “I think it’s come a long way. The thing is, cars are so good from the factory, that you don’t need to go too far – a few well chosen upgrades and you can create something that’s plenty fast enough for the roads,” he says.

    The RS3 is a prime example of this. The potent 2.5 TFSI unit not only sounds fantastic, with that characteristic offnote warble, but it also makes strong power. Matched with the superb s-tronic transmission and quattro drive, it’s one of the best, all-round, practical, performance cars you’ll find. No wonder they’ve sold so well since launch in 2015.

    Jon’s own car has been treated to the kind of upgrades that his customers ask for, so it represents a real-world example of what can be achieved. I’ve been fortunate to drive several RS3s now and I have to say, they’re great fun. Jon’s car is no exception.

    Let’s kick off with the looks. There seem to be a lot of Nardo grey, white and black RS3s on the road, which is fine, as they’re all great colours. But I have to say it’s refreshing to see something else, and Sepang blue is a cracking hue. When the sun catches it, this thing really pings.

    The subtly aggressive styling of the #Sportback means it doesn’t scream ‘look at me’ like say a Mercedes A45 AMG, but it packs enough firepower to show the majority of cars a clean pair of heels. I spent some time trying to figure out why this particular RS3 looks so pleasing to the eye and then figured it out – it’s the wheels. The genuine #BBS CH-Rs look absolutely, bang on the money, tucked up in the arches courtesy of Bilstein B16 coilovers. It sits just right – not too high, not too low and the offset is spot on, too.

    Performance wise, even in stock fettle, the 2.5 TFSI unit brings plenty of grunt to the party. But with so much potential held in reserve, they can easily be persuaded to give more. As a #Revo dealer, Jon is beta testing Revo’s latest Stage 2 software. It’s still at the development stage, so no official figures are available, but it’s likely to be around the 420bhp mark.

    The RS3 already had the required hardware fitted – namely a larger front mount intercooler and full turbo back exhaust system – these were supplied by Forge Motorsport and Milltek Sport, respectively. With the restrictive primary cats removed and replaced with a much freer flowing Milltek Sport downpipe with sports cat, the RS3’s potential can be unleashed. Getting at it is another matter.

    To access the cats, you must first drop the sub frame. I actually watched the #VAGtech technicians do this before photographing the car. Fortunately, being a new car, everything came off easily and it was a pretty straightforward procedure. Again, Jon wanted to trial it on his own car before a customer asked for it, so he knew exactly what would be involved. You can see a full fitting guide next issue.

    The hardware and software upgrades have given the RS3 a harder edge. It now pulls more strongly, right across the rev range and delivers an explosive punch when you really mash the throttle. But this isn’t at the expense of drivability or comfort. The #Revo Stage 2 development setup allows you to exploit the potential of that 5-cylinder, but it retains its manners. Around town it’s docile and just like a stock car. It’s only when you ask it for more that its character changes. Be in no doubt, this RS3 is very quick. Launch control is ridiculous and guaranteed to make passengers feel a bit funny. So full fat hooligan mode is just the flick of your ankle away. Yet, this car is so refined and well put together that you can pootle about in it all day with no fuss or dramas.

    The only issue, as far as Jon is concerned, is that his daily commute isn’t quite long enough – a sure sign that you’re driving something a bit special.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE / SPECIFICATION #Audi-RS3-8V #2016 / #Audi-RS3 / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech / #Audi-RS3-VAGtech-8V / #Bilstein / #Audi-RS3-Revo / #Audi-RS3-Revo-8V

    Engine 2.5 TFSI 5-cylinder, #Forge front mount intercooler, #Milltek non-res exhaust system from turbo back, #Revo-Stage-2 developement software
    Power Around 420bhp (currently running beta testing software)
    Transmission 7-speed s-tronic
    Brakes RS3 Stock
    Suspension #Bilstein-B16 coilovers
    Wheels 20in #BBS-CH-R wheels with 245/30 Yokohama tyres
    Interior Stock RS3
    Exterior Stock RS3 in Sepang blue
    Contacts and thanks #VAGtech www.vagtech.co.uk

    Top: Performance is very brisk! Above: Sports seats. Left: Half-Alcantara wheel is very nice. Right: Milltek cerakote tips. Below: 5-pot is one of the best engines around.

    “It delivers an explosive punch...”
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  •   James Nicholls commented on this post about 3 years ago
    SUPER SALOON
    We get to grips with Awesome’s latest project car, a booted Audi S3 that punches well above its weight and has the bite to match its monster bark... Awesome's 500bhp, Stage 3 S3 saloon is unleashed...
    S3 SALOON Awesome’s APR-tuned demo car.
    Words Jamie Arkle. Photography Paul Cowland.

    Automotive fashion is a funny and complex thing, and it often seems that there’s little logic in what is and isn’t cool. Want an example of this in action? Well how about the small, hatchback based saloon, a sector of the UK car market that’s recently enjoyed something of a resurgence, yet for many, many years has been in the doldrums. Utter the phrase ‘small saloon’ to folk of a certain age and the cars they’ll almost certainly call to mind could hardly be called automotive greats: the Ford Orion and the Vauxhall Belmont – not exactly a stellar lineup, we’re sure you’ll agree!

    So what’s brought about this sea change, this upswing in popularity? Well, we think credit should lie squarely with Audi, specifically the team that signed off the latest S3 saloon. We think even Audi itself could’ve been forgiven for being ever so slightly taken aback by the overwhelmingly positive reception this variant has had, and there’s little doubt that it’s set to be a fixture of the tuning scene for years to come, particularly if the guys at Awesome have anything to do with it.

    Awesome has been responsible for some of the most notable tuned VW Group cars in recent years, so when the Manchester based VAG gurus selected the new S3 saloon as the basis of their next demo car, well, we knew that the resulting car would be seriously special.

    “There were a number of cars under consideration when we opted to take on the S3,” recalls Mark Ash, Awesome’s Director “but I spotted one at APR at the start of 2016 and instantly fell in love with it, with the colour and the graphics pack. The decision as to which car we’d buy was made there and then.”

    Now it might sound like building a demo car is the simplest thing in the world, particularly for a VW Group specialist like Awesome with access to a wealth of aftermarket parts, but this isn’t strictly true. Granted, having ready access to big brake and coilover kits (more on those later) certainly speeds up the build process, but then that’s just the easy bit. No, for a company’s personal car to really earn its keep it needs to push boundaries in terms of tuning – and boy does Awesome’s S3 deliver in this respect. The team started off by buying a brand new S3 and wasted no time in getting back in touch with APR, a firm that Awesome actually beta test for, and a well known and trusted name within the scene.

    “This build was never about squeezing every last bit of power from the car as that would’ve made it too extreme, too focused and a far less enjoyable prospect to drive on the road,” explains Mark. “A big part of what we do at Awesome is carrying out balanced, considered tuning, providing kits that up the power and increase the performance in every aspect, yet don’t overly compromise the car in question.”

    See what we mean when we said demo car building is trickier than it sounds? The call to APR meant that it wasn’t long before one of its all new, Stage 3 tuning kits for the 2.0 TFSI was winging its way across the Atlantic to Manchester, a kit that’s since gone on to play a defining role in this particular S3. The kit includes a number of highly developed components, including a Stage 3 s-tronic tune, ECU tune, cast downpipe, carbon intake tract, front mounted intercooler with silicone hoses, fuel pump, and EFR7163 turbo system.

    Factor in the other supporting hardware that’s essential for an advanced build of this nature, namely the resonated exhaust from Milltek, and it becomes all too clear why the close working relationship between APR and Awesome has proved so valuable.

    “There were some niggles involved in the development of the kit, true, but nothing more than you’d expect of an advanced package of modifications like this,” Mark explains. “Again, that’s another key aspect of a car like this – we’d much rather bits went wrong during the development process.”

    The upshot of all this work and an in-depth development phase? A kit that’s been proven to boost the power generated by the EA888 to approximately 500bhp, a massive jump from the stock figure of 300bhp and enough to enable this diminutive saloon to see off any hot hatch you care to mention. It’s true what they say, power really is nothing without control – yes it’s a cliché, but then cliches have a habit of ringing true most of the time. Of course performance Audis and their iconic four-wheel drive drivetrains have always been well equipped in this respect, but that hasn’t prevented the team at Awesome from raiding their parts stash for a selection of uprated transmission goodies, namely a pair of uprated DQ250 DSG clutches. These are essential for enabling the S3 to ladle out its new found power to all four wheels in as even manner as possible, plus the OE hardware would no doubt have started to show the strain after a few hundred miles if left in situ.

    The S3’s chassis has also been given an overhaul, the stock suspension, wheels and brakes all having made way for far more capable aftermarket offerings from Racingline, Neuspeed and Vagbremtechnic respectively. The front brake kit in question features a pair of massive 8-piston Brembo calipers originally intended for the Audi R8/Lamborghini Gallardo (winning all potential pub boasts at a stroke), and was selected thanks to its relatively lightweight, capability and piston layout; all highly significant considerations on a 500bhp saloon like this. These now house Project Mu H16-03 brake pads, the firm’s competition grade offering and one known for its resistance to fade, high initial ‘bite’ and fantastic release characteristics.

    While hardly heavy, the OEM alloys were dumped in favour of a featherweight offering from Neuspeed, the RSE10. Not only do these look right at home peeking out from beneath the S3’s arches, they also tip the scales at just 21.5lb each, and therefore represent a significant reduction in unsprung weight – a true win-win scenario.

    It’s fitting that we conclude this feature by discussing how this particular S3 looks, and that’s best summed up in one word – aggressive. Imagine a pit bull chewing up a wasp while being goaded by an especially foolhardy postman, and you’re still only halfway there! Audi has to take some of the credit for this of course, but it’s hard to deny that the styling work put in by the boys from Awesome has helped lift its looks far and above those of the standard car.

    “The graphics package found on the original #APR car provided a lot of inspiration, but the livery our car now has is subtly different to APR’s, so it’s more of a homage.”

    The livery means that this car can’t help but stand out wherever it goes, but we’re particularly fond of the more subtle additions Awesome has seen to factor in, like the splitter, diffuser, rear spoiler and door mirrors, all constructed from high grade carbon fibre.

    So, what’s next? Well the life of a demo car is a hard one, so expect the S3 to be put to work drumming up support for the Stage 3 package (and much else) it now boasts, and there’s no denying that it represents the a great means of extracting massive power from #MQB platform cars with E888 engines. It means that though it might currently So there are almost certainly going to be further developments in the coming weeks and months – watch this space!

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2017 / #Audi-S3-Saloon / #Audi-S3 / #Audi / #Audi-EA888 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP / #Audi-S3-8V #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-8V / #Audi-A3 / #Audi-S3-Saloon-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-ARP-8V / #Audi-S3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-Typ-8V

    Engine 2.0 #EA888 Gen 3 DOHC I4 16v, #APR-Stage-3 tuning package comprising #EFR7163 twin scroll turbocharger, APR Stage 3 #DSG tune, #APR-Stage-3-ECU tune, #APR Stage 3 cast downpipe, APR carbon intake system, APR Front Mount intercooler with APR silicone charge hoses, APR low pressure fuel pump, resonated Milltek downpipe-back exhaust system with active valves

    Transmission OEM Audi four-wheel drive system with front and rear differentials, #APR-DQ250 / #DSG clutches

    Chassis #Racingline coil springs and stock dampers, #Vagbremtechnic front brake kit comprising #Brembo 8 piston calipers, 32x362mm two-piece discs and Project Mu H16-03 competition grade pads, 19x8.5in Neuspeed RSE10 wheels in satin gunmetal with ET45 offset

    Interior Complete OEM Audi S3 interior

    Exterior 2015 Audi S3 saloon in Misano red, carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre rear diffuser, carbon fibre door mirror covers and carbon fibre boot spoiler

    Contact
    Email: [email protected]
    Call: 0161 776 0777 www.awesomegti.com

    Top: It’s a real head turner out on the road.
    Above: Interior is nicely finished as standard.
    Left: 19in Neuspeed wheel and Vagbremtechnic brakes.
    Left: Shot inside Awesome’s HQ.
    Below: Tasty carbon trim.

    The APR turbocharger system

    The twin-scroll EFR7163 turbo forms a key part of the Stage 3 kit, so it’s well worth taking a closer look at its capabilities. APR has extracted as much as 520bhp from #MQB cars fitted with this kit and has seen 10-second quarter-mile times, yet this hasn’t come at the expense of everyday drivability. Indeed, cars fitted with this turbo setup have been shown to retain OEM-levels of lag, while at the same time being devoid of the compromises many would expect of an engine of this size and with this state of tune.

    “...increase the performance in every aspect ”

    “I spotted one at APR and instantly fell in love with it”
    • All mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort toAll mapped out. Interesting to read about the APR guys coming over from the US to map cars in the UK. I didn’t realise they made such an effort to ensure their software works exactly as is says, no matter where in the world the customer happens to live. Awesome’s Stage 3 S3 looks like a bit of a monster too – I’ve seen a couple of videos on Facebook where it looks properly quick. Do you plan to test this? Give me a call if you do – I’d love to ride shotgun!  More ...
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  •   Jarkle reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    JEKYLL AND HYDE

    We get to grips with Milltek’s latest project car, an 2016 #Audi-RS3 that’s just as adept at pretending to be a Sport quattro as it is at tackling the morning commute! Words: Jarkle. Photography: Chris Wallbank.

    / #2016 / #Audi-RS3-Milltek / #Audi-RS3 / #Audi-A3 / #Audi-RS3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-8V / #Milltek / #Audi-RS3-Milltek-Typ-8V / #Audi / #Quattro / #Milltek-Sport

    Few car manufacturers can claim to have enjoyed quite a successful a start to the new century as Audi. Yes, the rallying exploits of the Quattro meant that by the ’90s the Ingolstadt concern was a household name, but it wasn’t quite on a par with its long-term rivals from Munich and Stuttgart. Its cars weren’t imbued with the degree of poise and performance that we now expect, and the brand itself wasn’t perceived as being anywhere near as cool as it now is. So what happened? Well, at some point after the millennium had ticked over, someone at Audi decided they’d had enough of playing second fiddle to the likes of BMW and Mercedes and decided to do something about it, starting with the A3. It may have been based on fairly everyday Golf mechanicals but the potential was plain to see. Add some special branding, a lot more power and Audi’s legendary Quattro drivetrain and what were they left with? The mighty RS3, that’s what.

    Over the last few years the RS3 really has come of age, to the point where it’s one of the most capable hot hatches on the market. Indeed, referring to this car merely as a ‘hot hatch’ is to do it something of a disservice; with 362bhp on tap, a dizzying array of technological wizardry to call on and the aforementioned 4x4 system, the latest RS3 is really more of a ‘ballistic hatch’. The only issue with the car now is how to make it better without compromising the core values already present, values that Audi worked so hard to build in the first place.

    Step forward Milltek – extraction gurus and the owners of the RS3 Sportback you see here. The last few months have seen this Glacier White example go from looking innocuous to downright malevolent, a transformation that’s made total when it burbles purposefully into life! “We’ve something of a reputation when it comes to messing around with fast Audis,” explains Milltek’s MD Steve Pound. “In fact we’ve owned and modified pretty much every high performance Audi of recent times and have always managed to get great results from them, so why change the formula?”

    The team were already in an advantageous position when they came to modifying the car then, and things only got better when they got to grips with its fantastic stock specification. Audi’s use of five-cylinder engines in its performance models is now something of a company calling card, and the RS3 is a case in point. The 2480cc lump fitted to the latest generation is one of Audi’s best to date – just as happy delivering the goods while powering round a track as it is pottering round Milltek’s locale – Derby city centre. Of course, the guys at #Milltek were never going to be satisfied leaving it as Audi intended, not when they had everything they could ever need to create an OE-beating exhaust system right there, just itching to be used.

    “A fresh demo car is a blank canvas, and the temptation to throw caution to the wind and go wild is always there, but we knew that carefully considered moderation was key with this one,” muses Steve. “We didn’t want to render it unpleasant to drive on the road by going too far.”


    The exquisite system now snaking its way from the back of the block, down the centre of the floorpan and out of the rear valance is the result of months of intensive research and development, and it’s one that Milltek is justifiably proud of. Making a roaring, snorting exhaust isn’t exactly difficult, but making one that manages to be both aggressive yet practical on a daily basis is a much trickier proposition! Closer inspection reveals a neat, turbo-back stainless steel system with a 200 cell high-flow cat and electronic valves integrated into the factory drive select system.

    Getting the latter to work with Audi’s own control unit was no small feat, and the fact that it works and functions so seamlessly should be proof not only of Milltek’s affinity with Ingolstadt’s finest, but also the benefits of having a design and production base rooted solely within the UK.

    Milltek’s innovative HollowTek construction methods have also been employed throughout and these lend the system a number of very distinct traits. The combination of reflection plates and varying lengths of solid and perforated internal tubing creates distinct chambers within the silencer, and these work to cancel resonant frequencies and to effectively eliminate drone at cruising speeds. The casings around the silencer are also unique to each application and help sculpt the acoustic chambers that give Milltek exhausts such a superb sound, while also allowing them to run smaller silencer boxes and achieve lower weight figures. HollowTek can even be used to build a beefier, deeper and more sporting sound on modern forced induction engines, while also enhancing the pops and crackles that make overrun such an entertaining aspect of modern modified car ownership.

    The RS3 was dispatched to the track the moment the new system was securely in place as it was the ideal proving ground for a car of this nature. The real key to Milltek’s success is the way in which its systems go about their work and the exhaust note that they emit – the latter being about as far removed from the deafening bellow that characterises cheaper, lower quality offerings as it’s possible to get. Exhaustive ontrack testing of the Milltek RS3 revealed that those countless hours spent developing the turbo-back setup had not been in vain, the system emitting a wonderfully balanced note and allowing the hard-charging five-pot to exhale freely and smoothly.

    The hard working car was then left in the capable hands of Revo, Milltek’s tuner of choice and a firm with an equally thorough knowledge of fast Audis and how to make them go even quicker. Boost, fuel and oxygen parameters were carefully managed and the power figure continued to rise, finally topping out at a deeply impressive 440bhp and 400lb ft of torque – not bad for a remap and an exhaust combination! One of the best things about choosing a system from a bespoke exhaust builder like Milltek is the almost endless scope for customisation that’s a part and parcel of the process. Prospective customers can select the full kit (the one that does such a sterling job on this RS3) or from a number of partial systems designed to accommodate the needs and specific tastes (or indeed, budgets) of Milltek’s extensive customer base. It’s also important to note that every new Milltek product receives the same comprehensive on-rack shakedown to ensure its reliability and suitability, and that all are then given a further tuning session to check that they meet strict UK road decibel limits. “That’s been one of the most enjoyable parts of building this particular Audi, actually,” smiles Steve. “Knowing that everything we did would eventually filter down to our wider range and that our customers would feel the benefit.”

    Milltek also made sure to address other areas of the car, with the chassis coming in for intense scrutiny. The factory wheels soon made way for 8.5x19 inch OZ Racing Ultraleggeras, a timeless wheel that looks right at home on pretty much anything you care to mention, while a custom set of Goodridge Phantom braided brake hoses were drawn up and fitted at the same time. The whole chassis was then carefully aligned to make sure that this RS3, now one of the best realised in the UK, was able to make the most of its new-found grunt.

    The end result of this comprehensive development programme? A remarkably balanced and well-realised car that can use every bit of its performance at any given time. The note pushed out by the Milltek system is nothing short of arresting and, because it’s been designed to work in conjunction with Audi’s own electronic valve control and resonance technology, it can be toggled to suit your mood and environment. Want to pay tribute to the Group B #Audi heroes of old? No problem, flick the switch and you’ll be doing the full Walter Rohrl within seconds. Had your fun and now need to collect the kids from school without incurring the wrath of the entire PTA? Again, no bother, readjust the system and you’ll be quietly burbling around in a manner that’s so subtle it borders on the spooky. If nothing else, Milltek’s RS3 proves that, in car terms at least, you really can have your cake and eat it too.

    CONTACT www.millteksport.com
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  •   Jarkle reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Notching it up! / #Audi-S3-Saloon / #Audi-S3 / #Audi-A3-Saloon / #Audi-S3-Sedan-8V / #Audi-A3-Saloon-8V / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-S3-8V / #Audi-S3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-Typ-8V / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-S3-Saloon-Typ-8V / #Audi

    Our first drive of the highperformance #Audi-S3-Saloon on British roads proves its prodigious performance and handling, but also its tractability and practicality…

    Alongside the UK press launch of the new A3 Cabriolet, featured previously in these pages, we were also able to reacquaint ourselves with the very different dynamic ability of the new S3. Ironically, it was the Saloon version that we drove in the Spring sunshine of the New Forest while, only 24 hours later, we found ourselves cruising the Cabriolet S3 in the snowy wilderness of Sweden, but that’s another story…

    While the mostly narrow and winding country roads of southern Hampshire were perfect for piloting the A3 Cabriolet around in the sunshine, they hardly provided the ideal environment to fully explore the considerable capabilities of the high-performance S3. Indeed, opening it up on one rare occasion, on a particularly long clear traffic-free stretch, soon saw the speedo hurtling past the legal limit towards three-figure speeds before we reined it in.

    Hardly surprising, with more than twice the power of the 1.4 TFSI Cabriolet; propelled by the latest 300 PS version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged 16-valve four-cylinder TFSI engine, shared with Volkswagen’s new Golf R, the S3 clearly has the potential for prodigious performance. With the 6-speed twin-clutch S tronic auto transmission it is claimed to be capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in just 4.9 seconds, with the 6-speed manual version only slightly slower at 5.3 seconds. The top speed of both is electronically limited to 155 mph. More relevant, though, is that the S3’s maximum power is developed at a modest 5500 rpm and holds up until 6200 rpm. Combined with considerable torque of 380 Nm between 1800 and 5500 rpm the power delivery is both broad and muscular, with no hint of lag, providing ready response throughout the rev range and pulling smoothly and strongly right up to the redline and just beyond. Needless to say, making a quick overtaking manoeuvre, or accelerating up to the speed of the traffic flow on the fast-moving A31 from virtual standstill on a short slip road was no problem at all.


    But while the local roads didn’t lend themselves to exploiting the full performance, they did highlight the S3’s flexibility, able to cruise comfortably along and pull away cleanly from relatively low speeds. Aided by features such as cruise control, energy recuperation and stop/start, that sort of tractability is also a recipe for good fuel efficiency. Audi claims a combined economy figure of 40.4 for the manual and 40.9 mpg for the S tronic which also coasts when the driver lifts off the throttle, when running in the efficiency mode in the Drive Select menu. Needless to say, we didn’t see those sort of numbers on the trip computer, but figures in the top twenties were very welcome considering the type of predominantly point and squirt driving.

    Fitted with 19-inch 5-twin-spoke Star alloys as standard, shod with 235/35 R19 Dunlop Sport Maxx on the cars we drove, the S3’s handling on lowered sports suspension (–25 mm) is very sharp and precise. With magnetic ride dampers as standard-fit, it can also be stiffened up further if required by switching Drive Select into the Sport mode. While this provides almost race car like handling on smooth main roads, hooking around roundabouts like a go-kart, we found this setting a bit too stiff and lively on some of the bumpy, choppy back roads.

    On the other hand, switching into Comfort mode also makes the steering feel far too loose for the kind of control you need when threading the S3 down narrow lanes. The answer is the Individual setting where you can mix and match the different parameters; with the suspension set on Comfort to soak up the undulations and the steering on Sport to add reassuring weight, the S3 simply flowed through the switchbacks, providing a real rollercoaster of a ride, both comfortable and controlled.


    Traction and braking are the S3’s other great fortés, with the latest generation of the electronically-controlled Haldex coupling four-wheel drive system shuffling power from front to rear and enabling the S3 to accelerate hard out of tight corners and to launch off the loose surface of a layby without wheelspin. With the traction and handling further enhanced by the torque vectoring via the ESC system, it provides very neutral, well balanced and agile handling, with barely a hint of understeer.

    The S3 was also very stable and controlled under braking for the tight bends and steep descents, the powerful 340 mm front and 310 mm rear vented discs, with big black S3-logo’d front callipers, more than up to the task of pulling up promptly without being snatchy at low speeds when crawling in heavy traffic.

    Considered overall, the S3 is the perfect all-rounder – capable of very high performance and almost race car like handling when driven in full Sport mode, but also civilised, tractable, economical and comfortable enough to serve as a full five-seater four-door family saloon. Indeed, the boot volume is actually larger than the load bay of the tailgated cars, with its capacity of 425 litres capable of absorbing 45 litres more luggage than the Sportback, and this can be increased still further by folding the split-folding rear seat backs forward. The boot lid also comes with remote-control opening from the key fob.

    Particularly so perhaps with the Glacier white car we tested, the S3 has an ambivalent dynamic identity that is fully reflected in its appearance, with just the right balance of aggressive styling and mature understatement.

    As well as the discreet S3 badges at front and rear, special distinguishing features are a front bumper with larger air intakes, the single-frame grille in platinum grey with horizontal twin chrome bars, Xenon plus headlights, LED running lights, mirror housings finished in matt aluminium, sill trims, a rear diffuser with two oval chrome tailpipes on each side, and the integrated boot-lid spoiler. Inside, aluminium sill trims and brushed matt aluminium inlays for the interior trim help set off the predominantly black interior with its embossed Fine Nappa leather heated front sports seats and flatbottomed three-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel.

    Priced at £33,240 for the manual and £34,720 for the S tronic model, the real cost equation will depend on how far you delve into the options list, with features like the MMI Navigation Plus, lane assist and a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker surround sound system available to tot up the bill. Indeed, the 6-speed manual test car we drove was worth nearly £40,000 by the time you’d totted up all the options fitted, including the metallic paint at £525, Technology package £1795, panoramic sunroof at £950, Bang & Olufsen sound system at £750 and various other upgrades…

    Based on our experience of it so far, the S3 Saloon is a perfectly sensible and practical stylish four-door with a capacious boot, capable of potent performance and excellent driving dynamics along with reasonable fuel economy, but it will be interesting to see whether it can make its mark in a British market which traditionally tends to favour the tailgated cars. Ironically, though, its main sibling rival here in the UK may well be the forthcoming S3 Cabriolet, more of which in due course. We’ll be carrying out a comprehensive road test of the S3 Saloon shortly, for a full feature in Audi Driver.

    ‘The S3 Saloon is a perfectly sensible and practical stylish four-door with a capacious boot, capable of potent performance and excellent driving dynamics along with reasonable fuel economy...’

    The power delivery is both broad and muscular, with no hint of lag, providing ready response throughout the rev range...’

    Performance Notching it up – The S3 Saloon

    0-62 mph Top speed Combined economy CO2 emissions
    S3 Saloon 6-speed manual 5.3 sec 155 mph* 40.4mpg 162 g/km
    S3 Saloon 6-speed S tronic 4.9 sec 155 mph* 40.9 mpg 159 g/km
    * Top speed electronically limited


    Prices
    S3 Saloon 2.0 TFSI 300 PS 6-speed manual £33,240
    S3 Saloon 2.0 TFSI 300 PS 6-speed S tronic £34,720
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  •   Jarkle reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    TUNED CAR TEST: Words Davy Lewis / Photography AJ Walker & Davy Lewis

    DRIVEN: REVO RS3 We test the 420bhp RS
    With 425hp, Revo’s RS3 promises strong performance – but does it deliver? We headed to an airfield to find out…
    DRIVEN: REVO RS3 We drive Revo’s demo car…

    There’s something about Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground that always gives me a little shiver of excitement. I’ve been coming here for over 16 years – testing everything from brakes and suspension, through to top speed runs – and it’s always good to be back. The Leicestershire airfield provides the opportunity to really push a car – to see what it can do, and find where its limits are. It’s for this reason that Revo has a base here.

    Revo’s Training and Development Centre gives them amble opportunity to test their latest upgrades – both software and hardware. From brutal launches to lay down 0-60mph times, to more ‘real world in-gear acceleration and a multitude of other tests to ensure that each new product comes to market fully developed and ready to improve the performance and drivability of the customer’s car. As part of their ongoing tuning program, Revo runs a fleet of development cars, many of which happen to be Audis. I’ve driven their S7, S3 saloon, S1 and SQ5, but the current car of the moment is a very smart, white RS3. This five-cylinder Sportback has been with them for around 12 months and features the latest performance upgrades available. The plan is to spend some time in the car to see how it compares to a stock RS3.

    Let’s kick off with the looks. The first items you’ll notice are the wheels – they’re a set of gloss black RV019 alloys. Revo launched their first wheel last year and it’s been well received – especially on MQBplatform cars. Teamed up with a set of Revo’s own performance springs, it lends the RS3 an altogether more purposeful look, with definite hints at motorsport. Wrapped in Dunlops, they reduce the unsprung rotational mass (which should translate to a keener handling feel) and offer prodigious grip (handy with 425hp on tap).

    Staying with the chassis, peeking out from behind the RV019s is a set of uprated discs. The RS3 calipers do an admirable job of stopping this feisty five-pot, but as many RS3 owners have discovered, the stock discs can capitulate under sustained hard use.

    This is due to the fact the cooling veins are not ‘sided’ so the air enters from the correct direction on one side to cool them, but on the other it does not, which can lead to premature wear – especially if used hard. Revo has developed ‘sided’ discs which offer maximum cooling potential for both sides. Developed in association with leading braking specialists, Alcon, it addresses an issue with stock RS3s.

    And so to the ‘go-fast’ bits… Much has been written about the RS3’s ability to punch above its weight. That characterful 2.5 TFSI engine is a powerful and sonorous unit, which delivers strong performance straight out of the box. However, should you wish to unlock even more potential, then Revo has developed Stage 1 software for the Audi. This car also features a freer flowing performance exhaust (which also happens to sound fantastic), and brand new prototype carbon fibre inlet system. All told it delivers 425hp and 428lb/ft – a pretty healthy increase over stock. Revo’s own testing has produced a strong set of performance figures too: 0-60mph in 3.55secs and 0-100mph in just 8.37secs. Numbers on paper are one thing, but as Revo themselves advocate, it’s the driving experience that really matters – how a car behaves on the road – it’s drivability and the way the power is delivered that matters.

    With the RS3 nicely warmed up, I take it for a slow sighting lap of the short course at Bruntingthorpe. There’s a selection of commercial vehicles all testing today, as well as the police practising their motorway stopping procedure. It actually feels a bit naughty to sit so close to a couple of traffic patrol cars, as I rev the RS3 before belting off the line like a scalded cat.

    Once launch control is engaged (select Dynamic and switch off the TC), it’s a simple case of left foot on the brake, dial in the revs, before coming off the brake and letting the car do its thing.

    As I sidestep the brake there’s an almighty howl from the five-cylinder lump as the revs hit 4,000rpm and there’s a violet shove as the quattro drive bites. There’s some wheel spin (it’s the middle of November and the concrete surface offers minimal grip), but the RS3’s electronics, aided by that extra slug of power and torque, courtesy of Revo, translates to epic forward thrust. It feels blisteringly quick (bear in mind I arrived in an RS7 Performance) and it doesn’t let up. As I hurtle past the bemused looking coppers, the RS3 feels relentless. The power just keeps on coming and we’re well into three figures, before I begin to ease off and apply the brakes for the right-hander approaching. As I switch from Sport to Drive (to reign in the shriek from that exhaust as we pass the noise testing microphone), I have time to gather my thoughts.

    The first thing to note is that this thing is bloody rapid off the line. I’ve experienced launch control on several stock RS3s and this is significantly quicker. Revo claim a 0-60mph time of 3.55secs and while we’re not about to match that on this cold morning, I don’t doubt it for a second. The second thing is just how well matched the extra power seems to the car. It all feels very OEM – linear, tractable and totally in harmony with the rest of the car. But it isn’t just the off the line heroics that impresses. The in-gear punch is ferocious – which is perfect for the kind of real world situations where you’d use it – overtaking for example.

    Prod the throttle in pretty much any gear and you’ll be treated to a wall of torque (in second and third it’s epic), but there’s plenty of punch in fifth and even sixth too. The seven-speed S-tronic box is very well matched to the RS3 and copes well with the rather immense strain placed on it by hard use. Backing off the throttle is rewarded with a crescendo of pops and crackles, which is one of the best noises ever.

    Today’s test is mainly to get a feel for how the car handles the extra power, particularly in the real world, ‘straightline squirt’ scenarios. That said, I’m still able to chuck it around a few turns, which illustrates the taught handling. There’s less roll and pitch than with a stock RS3 and the whole thing feels tighter and more focused.

    This really is the kind of fast Audi that you could live with every day. It’s got the best of both worlds: the refinement and class you’d expect from a premium model, but with the potential to induce a stupid grin when the roads open up, or you’re lucky enough to be on a track. It’s a real split personality: one minute a sensible (dare I say) grown up hot hatch, the next, a ferocious, raucous little monster that evokes memories of Group B rally cars.

    Once we’ve finished testing and have the shots in the bag, I give the RS7 Performance a couple of laps of the proving ground. Even though it’s packing the mighty 4.0 TFSI twin turbo with 597bhp, the RS3 is quicker off the line. The RS7 is a wonderful thing (I’d have one in a heartbeat), but with the options it’s a £100k+ car; it’s also rather large. At around half the price and with significantly less weight to lug around, the Revo-tuned RS3 would leave its hefty big brother behind on twisty UK roads. No doubt about it. I think that shows just how good this thing is – a resoundingly positive outcome for Revo’s RS3 package then. But there’s more to come. The team is working on their Stage 2 package, which will unleash yet more power – to be released next year. If this thing is anything to go by, it’s going to be rather exciting.

    SPECIFICATION #2017-Audi-RS3-8V / #Audi-RS3-8V / #Audi-RS3 / #Audi-A3-8V / #Audi-8V / #Revo-RS3-8V / #Audi-RS3-Revo-8V / #Audi-RS3-Revo / #Audi / #2017 / #Revo

    Engine 2.5 #TFSI 5-cylinder, prototype #Revo-carbon-fibre-intake-system , #Revo-performance-exhaust , #Revo-Stage-1-ECU-software
    Power 425hp and 428lb/ft
    Performance 0-60mph: 3.55secs 0-100mph: 8.37secs
    Transmission 7-speed #S-tronic
    Brakes Revo RS3-specific left and right sided disc upgrade
    Suspension Revo performance springs
    Wheels Revo RV019 alloys in gloss black
    Interior Stock RS3 with super sports seats
    Exterior Glacier white with Revo badges at rear and on front wings, Revo graphics along bottom of doors
    Contacts Revo www.revotechnik.com, thanks to Dan Edwards for arranging the shoot and braving a freezing airfield

    Some fast laps on an airfield showed just how capable Revo’s RS3 is.
    Left: Uprated Revo discs are sided, 1.2kg lighter per side and allow better cooling.
    Above: Carbon intake is still in development, but we’ll have full details and prices soon.

    “Backing off the throttle is rewarded with a crescendo of pops and bangs...”

    “The in-gear punch is ferocious...”

    HOW MUCH?

    As with all of Revo’s performance products, the upgrades fitted to this RS3 can be purchased separately from any of Revo’s wide network of dealers. However, the whole lot can also be fitted in a drive in, drive out package, which will see your RS3 transformed. Here’s what it will cost:

    Stage 1 software: £718
    Carbon fibre intake: TBC
    Brake discs: £898
    RV019 alloys: £1198
    Performance springs: £178
    Revo badges: £30
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