In a nutshell:
- New S3 Sportback available for UK order priced from £37,900 OTR, S3 Saloon from £38,465 OTR – first deliveries in autumn
- Even more comprehensively equipped Vorsprung versions due later in 2020
- 2.0 TFSI engine with 310PS and torque boost to 400Nm linked to seven-speed S tronic
- 0-62mph time reduced to 4.8 seconds in both variants yet up to 39mpg remains achievable
- New modular dynamic handling control for more intelligent management of quattro drive
More power and sharper styling means the new-look Audi S3 is seeking to tighten its grip on its closest rivals.
The firm has just unveiled the S3 in hot hatchback and sedan form - both boasting better performance and faster acceleration times than its predecessors.
First thing to notice is the grunt eked from the 2.0 TFSI engine, which is found in both the hatchback and saloon versions of the S3.
Peak power is now 310 PS - up 5 PS on the previous 305 PS incarnation.
It means the S3 tiboasts a sub-five second 0-62mphme of 4.8 secs, while torque is boosted to 400Nm.
All that vigour is kept in check by a seven-speed S tronic transmission, while top speed is reined-in to a governed 155mph.
Despite the way it goes, Audi says the S3 is still capable of returning 39.2 mpg in WLTP test conditions, with reduced CO2 output of as little as 178 g/km.
That’s largely thanks to Audi’s clever ‘valvelift system’, which adjusts the lift of the intake valves as required to ensure optimum combustion chamber filling - thus giving you the most efficient bang for your buck.
You can also adjust the noise of the engine note depending on your mood - ‘relatively hushed for everyday journeys and long distance cruising and crisper and more bass-heavy for more challenging drives’, according to Audi.
That famous ‘S’ badge also means a car with quattro all-wheel-drive as standard - in this case based around a hydraulic multi-plate clutch in front of the rear axle, which distributes drive torque between the axles as required.
Responsibility for managing that process falls to a new system - modular dynamic handling control – which closely links quattro drive to the Electronic Stabilisation Control (ESC), and to the controlled dampers in S3 Vorsprung models.
And then there’s the way the S3 looks, both inside and out.
For the exterior, there’s a new ‘shoulder line’ running from the headlights to the rear lights, which Audi says places a stronger emphasis on the wheel arches.
Meanwhile a large diffuser and four trademark exhaust tailpipes at the back ensures the S3 is still no shrinking violet.
Inside there’s newly developed sport seats finished in Fine Nappa leather, a 10.1-inch black panel touch-screen display controlled by Audi’s third generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3), ensuring you stay connected.
Meanwhile there’s an armoury of driver assist systems, including pre-sense front, swerve assist with turn assist and lane departure warning as standard.
Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle commented: “The exacting attention to detail, the everyday usability and the slickly integrated technology that stand out in the A3 range are present and correct here, but they are combined with performance and handling capability that are nothing short of phenomenal – these are truly enthralling new models, and will be even more so when combined with the virtually all-encompassing Vorsprung specification which will become available for the first time at this level later this year.”