AUDI has torn the covers off its new-generation S3 hot hatch and sedan with the second-tier performance A3 brandishing more power and tech than ever.
Due here in the second half of next year, the new S3 Sportback and sedan will wade into the premium hot hatch market armed with 228kW of power and 400Nm of torque courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with power, as ever in a hot Audi, sent to all four wheels.
Compared to the current model, power and torque have increased by 15kW and 20Nm respectively with gear shifting duties taken care of by an updated seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission.
The result is a 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds for both the sedan and Sportback and an electrically limited top speed of 250km/h, all while sipping between 7.2-7.4 litres of fuel per 100km.
CO2 emissions meanwhile are pegged at between 165-170g/km depending on the body style.
To warn other road users what they could be up against, the S3 dons a far more aggressive body kit than the standard A3 with the front end dominated by the Singleframe grille finished in the now familiar performance black mesh.
Like the standard cars, the new S3 takes on a far more angular and sculpted look compared to the previous model, further emphasised by the aforementioned S body kit.
At the rear, a new diffuser and blacked-out quad exhaust tips continue the menacing theme on both body styles.
Under the skin, the S3 adopts Audi’s new modular dynamic handling control system which links the quattro all-wheel-drive system with the electronic stabilisation control (ESC) system and optional adaptive dampers to enhance its dynamic prowess.
On the topic of suspension, the ride height has been reduced by 15mm compared to the standard A3 range while ‘series S’ sports suspension with adaptive damping can be had optionally.
When all said and done, Audi says the new S3 boasts a wider spread “between comfort and dynamism” than the previous model while variable-ratio steering helps keep the handling as crisp as possible.
Inside the cabin, the interior has been tailored to match the exterior’s look of sportiness and aggression with a driver-focused layout.
Both the driver and passenger score newly developed sports seats as standard while Audi’s new compact gear selector makes an appearance nestled in neatly near the bottom of the dashboard.
Drivers also score a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster as standard while the 12.3-inch Audi virtual cockpit and cockpit plus are available as optional extras.
Elsewhere in the interior, aluminium or carbon-fibre (depending on taste) trim mimic the shape of the headlight design while the door trim and more specifically the armrests and door pulls have been sculpted to match the angular body features of the exterior.
Sitting centrally within the centre fascia of the dashboard is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by Audi’s latest MIB 3 platform.
Said to have 10 times the computing power of the old MIB 2 system, the new platform boasts an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot and offers traffic predictions and flow information as well as high-resolution satellite images courtesy of Google Earth.
Other standard tech includes Audi connect online services, myAudi app, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Audi phone box, Audi connect key (Android compatible only) and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system.
While undoubtedly a performance car, the S3 has not forgotten about its hatchback roots and so it still possesses plenty of space within the cabin, more so than the previous model thanks to an extra 30mm of length and width.
Being the longer version of the two, the sedan beats the Sportback in terms of rear cargo space, offering up 370L compared to the hatch’s 325, however the five-door fights back with its folding rear seats which, when folded flat, can expand cargo space up to 1145L.
In terms of safety, Audi says the S3’s driver assistance systems demonstrate the brand’s technical expertise.
As a result, Audi pre sense front, swerve assist with turn assist and lane departure warning are all included as standard while lane change and exit warning, cross-traffic alert and park assist systems will all be available optionally.
Audi Australia is yet to detail the S3’s exact local specification and subsequent pricing, however for reference, the current model starts at $64,200 plus on-roads for the Sportback and $65,800 for the sedan.
So far this year ending July, 1090 A3s have rolled out of dealership doors, accounting for 15.2 per cent of the $40,000+ small car segment, trailing just behind the BMW 1 Series (1356/18.9%) but well off the pace of the segment leading Mercedes-Benz A-Class (3342/46.6%).