It was early February when Audi provided a sneak preview of its new S3 hot compact cars and now the dynamic duo is finally here. Introduced in European guise, the spicy hatchback and saloon bring a more aggressive design highlighted by the larger air vents and quad exhaust tips, a signature of all S-badged cars.
At the heart of both S3 models is the tried-and-tested turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with a healthy 306 bhp (228 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-metres) of torque. All that Audi four-pot oomph is channelled to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system exclusively through a seven-speed S Tronic transmission. Regardless of the body style you go for, the S3 does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.8 seconds and maxes out at an electronically capped 155 mph (250 km/h).
Gallery: 2021 Audi S3 Sportback and S3 Saloon
Compared to a lesser A3 model, the S version sits 15 millimetres (0.6 inches) closer to the road and rides as standard on 18-inch alloy wheels. An optional 19-inch set is available, and so are the matrix LED headlights with 15 individual LED segments. Customers will be able to order the new S3 Sportback and S3 Saloon with an S Sport suspension bringing damper control to improve comfort during normal driving and increase the car’s agility when going faster.
Much like it’s the case with the exterior, the cabin represents a subtle upgrade over an A3 in the S Line specification. The most obvious change is represented by the sport seats with greater later support and upholstered using mostly recycled PET bottles. That nifty little shifter made its debut on the regular A3 equipped with the automatic transmission, while the flat-bottomed steering wheel with perforated leather is exclusive to the S3.
The best is yet to come:
As standard, the Audi S3 will be available in Europe with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, with the fancier 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit to cost extra. The driver’s display will be accompanied by a 10.1-inch touchscreen for the company’s latest and greatest MMI infotainment system, now with extra functionality and quicker response.
On the Old Continent, Audi will have the new S3 on sale later this month and will kick off deliveries in October. In the UK, order books open this week with the Sportback retailing for £37,900 whereas the Saloon is a tad more expensive, at £38,465.
More Dynamic, More Power, More Driving Pleasure:
The Audi S3 Sportback and the Audi S3 Sedan
Powerful 2.0 TFSI engine with 228 kW (310 PS)2 of output and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque
Seven-speed S tronic, S-specific sport suspension, and quattro all-wheel drive
Driver-focused cockpit, technology from the full-size class
Limited-edition model in Python Yellow or Tango Red
A good 20 years ago, Audi opened up the sporty premium compact market segment with the first S3. Now the brand is presenting the new generation – an S3 Sportback and an S3 Sedan. Its 2.0 TFSI engine produces 228 kW (310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque. Both models (S3 Sportback: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.4 (31.8 US mpg); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 170–169 (273.6–272.0 g/mi); S3 Sedan: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.3–7.2 (32.2–32.7 US mpg); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 166–165 (267.2–265.5 g/mi)) accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds. A seven-speed S tronic, the quattro drive with intelligent control, and an S-specific sport suspension with optional damper control deliver the power to the road effortlessly. A number of other new features – including the operating concept, infotainment, and assist systems – round off the high-tech character of the S3 models.
Characteristic design and lighting
The new S3 models3 display their dynamic character from the very first glance. The front is dominated by the Singleframe with its large rhombus-patterned grille and impressive air inlets, while the housings of the exterior mirrors have a gleaming aluminum look. The shoulder of the body extends in a strong line from the headlights to the rear lights. The areas below are curved inward – a new element of Audi’s design that places a stronger emphasis on the wheel arches.
The new S3 Sportback4 and the S3 Sedan5 can be fitted with matrix LED headlights on request. Their digital daytime running lights consist of a pixel array made up of 15 LED segments, ten of which form two vertical lines. At the rear end, the large diffuser and the four exhaust tailpipes accentuate the sporty look.
With 228 kW (310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque, the new S3 models3 are powered by the 2.0 TFSI engine3. High-tech features like the Audi valvelift system (AVS) – which adjusts the lift of the intake valves as required – mean that the combustion chambers are well filled, while thermal management helps to ensure high efficiency. Both models3 accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). The driver can use the standard series Audi drive select system to make the sound of the powerful four-cylinder turbo engine even crisper.
The seven-speed S tronic with lightning-fast gear shifts and freewheeling function and the quattro all-wheel drive deliver the torque to the road. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch in front of the rear axle is fully variable and moves between the front and the back as required, combining dynamic performance with stability and efficiency. It is managed by the modular dynamic handling control – a new system that closely links the quattro drive to the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and the controlled dampers that are available optionally.
With its four-link rear axle and progressive steering, the standard suspension offers everything that is required for pleasurable driving. It lowers the body by 15 millimeters (0.6 in). Audi can also install the series S sport suspension with damper control on request. Valves control the oil flow in the dampers so that they adapt to the condition of the road, the driving situation, and the driver’s requests in an individual and ongoing in a few thousandths of a second. The spread between comfort and dynamism is even wider than for the predecessor model.
The new electric brake booster ensures strong and spontaneous deceleration. All four brake disks are internally ventilated. The brake calipers come in black as standard, with red offered as an option. The S3 models3 come with 18-inch wheels as standard, with 19-inch wheels available optionally.
Generous space concept
Compared with their predecessors, the new S3 models3 have grown in size: The Sportback4 and the Sedan5 are three centimeters (1.2 in) and four centimeters (1.6 in) longer respectively, while both models are three centimeters (1.2 in)wider.
The five-door car is now 4.34 meters (14.2 ft) in length, while the four-door is 4.50 meters (14.8 ft) long. Other than minimal differences, the two body variants are identical in terms of width (1.82 m (6.0 ft)), height (1.43 m (4.7 ft)) and wheelbase (2.64 m (8.7 ft)). The interior offers greater shoulder room and elbow room. The luggage compartment of the S3 Sportback4 holds between 325 and 1,145 liters (11.5–40.4 cu ft) depending on the position of the rear bench seat, while the Sedan5 has a capacity of 370 liters (13.1 cu ft).
The strikingly sporty design of the new S3 models3 continues on the inside – with the new, compact shifter for the seven-speed S tronic and decorative aluminum or carbon inlays whose design evokes the cut of the headlights. The cockpit is focused on the driver. The distinctive air vents form a single unit with the instrument cover, underlining the sporty character. A 10.25-inch digital display is offered as standard. Alternatively, the Audi virtual cockpit and its “plus” version can be selected. Both have a 12.3-inch diagonal, with the latter also offering three different screens. The optional ambient lighting package plus delivers targeted lighting effects in the dark. The sport seats have been newly developed, and their standard series upholstery is largely made from recycled PET bottles, accentuated by stylish contrasting stitching.
In the middle of the instrument panel is a 10.1-inch touch display embedded in a large black panel. It recognizes letters entered by hand and provides acoustic feedback. As an additional operating level, the infotainment can also be voice-controlled using natural language as standard. Audi also supplies a head-up display as an option.
A new generation of infotainment
The MMI operating concept of the new S3 models3 is powered by the third generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3). Its computing power is ten times higher than that of its predecessor, it performs all tasks relating to connectivity with LTE Advanced speed, and it has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. Route guidance is flexible and accurate. Navigation offers predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth, and information about the traffic flow. Individual settings, such as frequently selected destinations or air conditioning preferences, can be stored in up to six user profiles.
The Audi connect online services also include car-to-X services, which help with finding available parking spots on the roadside or allow the driver to surf the green wave by communicating with traffic lights in cities like Düsseldorf and Ingolstadt. Connectivity between the new Audi S33 and the user’s smartphone is free of charge via the myAudi app, as well as via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the Audi phone box – which links the device to the vehicle’s antenna and charges it inductively.
Another feature is the Audi connect key, which authorizes the customer to lock and unlock the car and start the engine via their Android smartphone. For HiFi fans, the Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound delivers a particularly spatial soundscape.
Helpful driver assist systems
The driver assist systems in the new S3 models3 also demonstrate Audi’s technical expertise. Audi pre sense front, swerve assist with turn assist, and lane departure warning all have the potential to prevent accidents and are included as standard. Further assist systems, such as lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, are available optionally. The adaptive cruise assist helps with longitudinal and lateral guidance. It maintains the speed and distance to the vehicle in front and assists with lane guidance by means of gentle interventions in the steering. The efficiency assist supports an economic driving style.
Scheduled: Market launch and prices
Presales of the new compact S3 models3 start in many European countries in August 2020, with the first vehicles being delivered to dealers from beginning of October. In Germany, prices for the S3 Sportback4 start at €46,302, 53, while the S3 Sedan5 is listed at €47,179, 83. The market launch is accompanied by the limited “Edition one.” It comes in Python Yellow (Sportback) or Tango Red (Sedan) paint finishes with black accents and has 19-inch wheels, and fine Nappa leather sport seats.