It’s instantly recognisable as an Audi S3, though the new car’s more muscular haunches and gaping single-frame grille do their bit to distinguish it from the previous generation.
The new S3 Sedan and Sportback will be able to order from August in Europe, with Australian arrival and pricing still yet to be confirmed.
Audi won’t have it easy when the new S3 arrives in Australia though, the segment is crowded with fresh faces including the excellent Mercedes-AMG A 35 and controversial BMW M135i hatch, and M235i Gran Coupe.
But even the outgoing S3 didn’t struggle too much against its rivals, and the new car punches out more power and torque from its two-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Power is up by 15kW to 228kW, while torque climbs to a nice round 400Nm, that’s a 20Nm gain.
Power is transferred through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to a Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Naturally, prodigious grip will be on offer, and that’s reflected in its 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds, just a tenth of a second shy of the outgoing S4 sedan.
However, that has meant the combined fuel consumption is up to 7.3L/100km for the S3 Sedan. That’s compared to the 6.7L/100km its predecessor claimed.
As for the looks, the new car can only be described as staunch. That grille is massive and now extends all the way to the ground, it’s further set off by a seriously aggressive LED front signature. While the regular A3 debuted a more muscular appearance, the S3 amplifies this with 18-inch wheels and a 15mm suspension drop.
Audi will offer adaptive dampers as an option for Europe, though Australian cars may get them standard. There’s also a set of 19-inch wheels on offer, and the choice to paint brake callipers in eye-catching red instead of black.
While there’s plenty to catch your eye outside – especially the first editions pictured in their python yellow and tango red hues – the interior is more subdued. Audi has done away with a traditional gear selector, instead opting for a Porsche-style “stubby-nub”.
Front and centre is a 10.1-inch touchscreen set into the dashboard which will control the bulk of the MMI functions. As we’ve come to expect, Ingolstadt has equipped the S3 with a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display – though a larger 12.3-inch unit is optional.
As standard the S3’s seats aren’t appointed in leather, instead, an environmentally-friendly material composed of recycled plastic bottles which we love the sound of.
Safety equipment is slightly lacking – there’s standard city-speed AEB, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise and front collision warning. The full complement of convenient tech – rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change warning and park assist – has to be optioned for European market cars.
The edition one package mentioned above includes the 19-inch wheels, black exterior trim pack and Nappa leather-appointed seats.
In Germany, the S3 will start at €46,302, equivalent to $76,000AUD at the current exchange rate. That’s a little over $10,000 more than the current $65,800 ($73,428 driveaway) S3 starts at. Of course, we can’t candidly comment on pricing until Audi launches the all-new S3 Sportback and Sedan in Australia.
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