Long gone are they days when manual cars were the real man’s car. These days manual sports cars are kept primarily for true car enthusiasts, or those of us that refuse to accept that times have changed and regardless of how good you can shift, an automated gearbox can do it better and quicker.
More importantly buyers are now demanding that even the proper sports cars be available with automated gearboxes and the Volkswagen group likes to listen to its customers. VW also happens to have the dual clutch gearbox (DSG for VW). Which sister company, Audi, has made great use of.
Of course Audi don’t call it DSG, instead their version of the technology is called S tronic dual clutch transmission, which is now available in the Audi S3 Sportback model in Australia.
Not only does the S tronic make the S3 quicker, but it also uses less fuel. If you haven’t heard of dual-clutch transmissions before, basically the idea is to have a twin multi-plate clutch which can simultaneously preselect two gears. One system for even and one system for odd gears. As a result the gearshifts take a few milliseconds.
The 152 kilogram 2.0-litre TFSI engine found in the S3 has 188 kW and 330 Nm of torque, it goes from 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds, two-tenths of a second quicker than the manual. Fuel consumption has improved to 8.4 litres/100km and the car puts out 195 g/km of CO2 emissions.
To tell the S tronic version apart, Audi has given it a chrome-plated radiator grille, vertical double bars, a front bumper with a new spoiler lip, chrome rings around the fog lamps as well as a platinum grey diffuser and two large oval exhaust tailpipes. Different exterior mirrors with indicators are also fitted.
Standard features now include S design 18” alloy wheels and Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights.
On the inside embossed Silk Nappa leather sport seats, S design multi-function leather sports steering wheel, BOSE speaker system and Bluetooth mobile phone system come standard with the new gearbox.
As with all Audis, safety is top notch with Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) incorporating ABS, Traction Control ASR, and an Electronic Differential Lock EDL. Head and curtain airbags for front and rear passengers, together with side and front airbags.
The 2009 Audi S3 S tronic retails for $71,010 as is available now.