Based on the S3 Saloon, the new A3 concept car ditches the 300 hp 2 litre TSFI unit, swapping to a familiar 2.5 litre power-plant. The turbocharged five cylinder engine produces figures of 525 hp and 443 lbs ft, with a 0-62 mph sprint dealt with in 3.6 seconds. A blisteringly fast top speed of 192 mph is achievable.
The engine, also found in the RS Q3, has been voted; “International Engine of the Year” in its category four times in succession. A large turbocharger and modified intercooler provide the power hike, whilst an intake and exhaust system have been developed to allow the engine to breathe and produce the instantly recognisable throaty snarl of the Audi five-pot.
The gearbox is one we’ve come to know; the seven-speed S tronic dual clutch. It features launch control, allowing it to hit that astonishingly quick 0-62 mph time by controlling wheel slip.
Within the Audi drive select system, dynamics are configurable which work with quattro drive, allowing more or less slip, entirely dependent on the drivers’ preferences. If the driver throws the car into a corner, the clutch working the quattro system will direct power towards the rear axle, delivering maximum power output with increased stability and composure.
The steering rack has been designed to become more direct as steering inputs are more severe. As speed increases, steering servo decreases, allowing a more planted feel on the road.
From the side, a strong shoulder running from headlight to tail light, gives the A3 clubsport a muscular stance. It rides 10 mm lower than the S3 Saloon on 21″ alloy wheels. Behind the huge wheels are equally big 370 mm carbon ceramic discs. Not surprising for a car with such performance.
The A3 clubsport uses the modular transverse matrix chassis (shared with other models in VW Group) which lowers the centre of gravity. This enhances all handling capabilities, as does the coilover suspension, and electronic stabilisation control (ESC). The latter can be partially or completely deactivated which suggests extreme performance on road and track.
The Magnetic Blue finish shows off the lines of the car well. The honeycomb grille and tail pipes of the exhaust system are reminiscent of RS models.
A new air brake system raises boot spoiler almost vertically, reducing stopping distances at 155 mph by about 12 metres. This is partially aided by the ESC system which is able to apply more braking force at the rear axle thanks to the increased downforce.
The interior suggests sporting potential, yet is able to seat four. The driver and passenger are hugged by high bolstered racing seats backed with carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) to reduce weight.
Black dials and red needles form the clock cluster. A shift light indicates the red-line of 6,900 rpm. The two buttons on the steering wheel are; engine start and stop, and Audi drive select.
Black dominates the interior; a black Alcantara headlining with upholstery piped in light grey contrasted by Sepang Blue stitching. The trim inlays are finished in brushed aluminium.
It’s a brutishly good looking car with an engine note to match.