Audi launched its updated 2017 Audi S3 this week in Durham, North Carolina, claiming that the new car would be a little more playful in the corners. When pressed on whether or not the brand would ever consider a full-on “Drift Mode” for its cars, well, don’t get your hopes up.
The new S3 is very fun to drive in that typical no frills, planted wheels style we’ve come to expect from a Quattro performance vehicle. What is new that’s somewhat relevant to those who like to get their cars a little loose is the updated all-wheel-drive system on the refreshed S3, which wont actively limit power going to the rear wheels in “Dynamic” mode so you can get a little more sloppy in your turns. However, drifting it most certainly is not.
Naturally the topic of actually getting these Audis to drift came up over a nice plate of barbecue lunch, noting the new Mercedes E63 AMG getting the Drift Mode, and I could feel the weight of the world shift with the Audi spokesperson’s eye-roll. The consensus essentially is that we shouldn’t be expecting Drift Mode on an Audi anytime soon because that’s not really what Audi and its Quattro all-wheel-drive system do.
And that’s a shame, because the kids love to drift, and one of the biggest complaints with the S3 is that it’s so connected to the road, and its Quattro system is so good at keeping the car stable, it’s kind of hard to feel very engaged in the driving experience in a high speed, highly technical driving situation.
But Audi sells its all-wheel-drive cars to people who are mostly interested in driving an Audi badge, and sitting in a very nice leather interior, and having that all-wheel-drive to, at the very least, cure their weather anxiety, and at the most save them from worrying about unintended oversteer when they do try to have fun.
And while that’s perfectly fine and an OK argument to make, as I just did, is it also too much to ask for a “mode”? A button you don’t have to push, but one which I and many other enthusiasts would most definitely be pushing? Perhaps the industry’s new trend of Drift Modes is just temporary. Perhaps one day Audi just might have to change its mind. We’ll see.