When it comes to vehicles that aren't available here in the U.S., several rides are on our automotive shortlist. The S3 however, isn't one of them. According to some of our friends across the pond, we're weren't missing out on much when Audi decided to make it's hottest of hatches only available in Europe. This is especially true when one considers the amount of sport compacts at our disposal here in the States.
However, our disappointment grows exponentially when we see what some of the tuners abroad have been able to do to the S3. One particular aftermarket haus is Motoren Technik Mayer (MTM), whose experience with everything from V-Dubs to Lamborghinis has produced a series of balanced, thoughtful upgrades for Audi's two-door runabout.
To begin with, the two-liter TFSI engine is certainly no slouch, sending 265 HP to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro AWD system. But since competition is fierce from both the Audi's stable mates (GTI, R32) and other German hatches (130i, soon-to-be-released 135i), improvements are more than welcome.
The first step is a mild tweaking of the ECU, which alone can net an increase of 310 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. From there, the removal and replacement of some restrictive exhaust components, including the stock catalyst and mufflers, brings power up to 330 horses and 310 lb-ft of twist. That's good enough to propel MTM's orange S3 to 62 MPH in a tick over five seconds.
More impressive than their power packages is MTM's assortment of stoppers. Again, S3 owners are offered their choice of three separate packages; the first two replace the front calipers with Brembo units and increase the front disc size to either 330 mm or 365 mm. The last kit is comprised of eight-piston calipers gripping 380 mm rotors with more than enough force to send unsuspecting passengers hurdling towards the windshield. Interestingly, MTM's discs are cross-drilled, yet the holes don't run all the way through the rotor. The company maintains that by only drilling shallow holes, they can still get the benefits of cross-drilled brakes, but don't have to worry about the fragility of the rotors during extended high temperatures.
Naturally, wheels and suspension kits are also available, with 19x8.5" "Bimoto" rollers that come in either "Shiny Silver," "Titanium" or "Diamond Cut." A coilover system can lower the vehicle anywhere between 35 and 65 mm, but they come at a price. A more economical solution is to simply equip the S3 with MTM's shorter sport springs that utilize the stock shocks and drop the vehicle down another 45 mm.
Overall, MTM's approach to tuning seems to balanced tractable power with exemplary control. Maybe we wouldn't mind if the S3 was available on these shores, as long as an MTM dealer is close by.
[Source: Automotoportal, MTM]