Not one to to let parent company, Volkswagen’s, mind-blowing Golf R400 Concept with 293kW of fire power steal all the lime light, Audi has created its own monster with the A3 Sedan-based 386kW A3 clubsport quattro concept.
“The Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept shows our car and tuning fans at the Wörthersee just how much sporty potential there is in the A3 family and in our top-of-the-line engines such as the 2.5 TFSI,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development.
“We have pushed the limits in every respect with this show car: power, dynamics, sound, design.”
Based on the S3 Sedan, Audi will present the concept at this year’s Wörthersee Meeting in Reifnitz (Kärnten) from May 28-31. Under its bonnet lurks a 2.5 TFSI five-cylinder TFSI engine pinched from the Audi RS Q3.
It churns out 386kW of power for a specific output of 155.6kW per litre, and a maximum torque of 600Nm, which is available between 2,300-6,000rpm. With just 1,527kg to haul, the A3 clubsport quattro concept will storm from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 3.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 310km/h.
This extreme performance is made possible thanks to extensive modifications to the engine, including a large turbocharged with up to 1.5 bar of relative boost pressure and a modified intercooler.
The 1-2-4-5-3 ignition sequence gives it its own unique rhythm, which in the A3 clubsport quattro concept is reinforced by an intake and exhaust system designed for maximum throughput. The characteristic sound of this TFSI engine is said to be a throaty snarl. The engine in the showcar is only covered by a bonnet made of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP).
The Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept features a seven-speed S tronic with a compact three-shaft layout. Its tall seventh gear reduces fuel consumption, and the final gear ratio has been modified accordingly. The driver can allow the dual-clutch transmission to work fully automatically in modes D and S or choose to change gears manually using the paddles on the steering wheel or the shift lever. A launch control function manages starts with maximum power and controlled wheelspin.
The heart of the quattro all-wheel drive system is a hydraulically activated, multi-plate clutch on the rear axle that has been specially designed for the high torque of the powerful five-cylinder. Like the engine management system, its electronic controller is integrated into the Audi drive select driving dynamics system and takes the combination of “fun to drive” and safety to a whole new level. The clutch can direct a portion of the torque from the front to the rear axle for sporty dynamics.
The A3 clubsport quattro concept sports front McPherson suspension with aluminium components to reduce the weight of the unsprung masses. The four-link rear suspension can process the longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The steering rack of the progressive steering system is designed so that the steering ratio becomes more direct with increasing steering input. In addition, steering boost decreases as speed increases.
Compared to the production Audi S3 Sedan*, the body has been lowered 10 millimetres and both the springs and dampers are very taut. All three parameters can be adjusted via the struts of the coilover suspension so that the show car can be perfectly adapted to the task at hand, be it on the road or the race track.
The Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept rolls on 9.5 J x 21 wheels shod with size 275/25 R21 tyres. The internally vented front brake discs measure 370 millimetres in diameter. All four discs are made of carbon fibre-ceramic, making them extremely lightweight and abrasion-resistant.
The ESC electronic stabilisation control can be partly or completely deactivated. At the cornering limit, torque vectoring via brake applications of the inside wheels ensures that the Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept turns easily. It provides maximum control and reliability for drifts, with the front axle straightening the show car out again as it exits the corner.
The Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept is 4,490 millimetres long, 1,856 millimetres wide and 1,382 millimetres tall. Its wheelbase measures 2,631 millimetres.
The spectacular appearance of the Magnetic Blue body immediately reveals the dynamics of the Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept. The Singleframe grille up front is framed in matt aluminium. A quattro badge adorns the grille’s high-gloss black honeycomb insert, which has been optimized for high flow. The engine bonnet, whose front edge extends slightly over the grille and the LED headlights, sports the four rings.
A distinctive element at the front of the show car is the continuous blade of exposed CFRP below the Singleframe grille. Like the winglets on a model airplane, its ends are bent upward to structure the large air inlets framed in massive edges. As with a racecar, a splitter at the bottom of the front skirt is said to increase the downforce on the front axle.
The side view of the sedan has also gained some sharp accents. Two straight edges above the wheels that end in the doors contour the fender and the rear sidewall. The “blisters” give the body broad shoulders while also evoking the classic quattro models from Audi and the current RS 4 Avant. The side sill trims are made entirely of carbin fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP).
At the rear, a large diffuser that extends upward in the middle makes a bold statement. Three fins divide its high-gloss black honeycomb insert; two additional grilles joined by a blade conceal the tailpipes of the exhaust system.
When the driver of the Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept applies the brakes at high speed, an air brake is activated. Electronically actuated, the rear segment of the boot goes from the spoiler position to nearly vertical in the blink of an eye. At 250 km/h, the air brake reduces the stopping distance by around twelve metres, in part because the ESC can allocate more braking power to the rear axle thanks to the increased downforce.
Inside, the cabin seats four with the driver and front passenger getting racing seats with CFRP shells covering the seatbacks.
Black faces, red needles and white numbers define the look of the instrument cluster. A shift light in the tachometer indicates when the rev limit of 6,900 rpm is reached, and the 7.0-inch monitor of the MMI navigation plus system displays a special graphic when the engine is started. Two large, separate buttons on the three-spoke, multifunction sport steering wheel are used to start and stop the engine as well as to choose Audi drive select modes.
Black is the dominant colour in the show car’s interior. The seat covers feature light grey piping and contrast stitching in Sepang Blue. The headlining and the pillars are covered in black Alcantara, and the decorative inlays are brushed aluminium.
Fine details underscore the sportiness of the Audi A3 clubsport quattro concept. The footrest and pedals are made of stainless steel; two open-worked bars form the handles for the door openers. The selector lever of the seven-speed S tronic sports a red ring, a CFRP badge and a Clubsport logo. The badge with the name of the show car can also be found on the instrument cluster and on the door sill trims.