Three years after the launch of the current A3, Audi has finally unveiled the high-performance S3 version of its upmarket hatchback. And this time it’s got 261bhp and a sub-6.0sec 0-60mph time, making it more powerful and quicker than its sister car, the VW Golf R32.
The S3 formula hasn’t been radically altered, though. Audi has deliberately avoided using the R32’s 3.2 V6; the new car sticks with a four-cylinder petrol turbo, although capacity is up to 2.0 litres, and it retains Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system.
But the 2.0-litre TFSI engine, shared with the TT, has been reworked for its most powerful incarnation yet with a modified turbo and intercooler. Along with 261bhp at 6000rpm, it develops 258lb ft from 2500 to 5000rpm, which should give it good in-gear flexibility. The sprint from rest to 60mph takes just 5.7sec, and top speed is 155mph.
Power is transferred to the wheels via a new six-speed manual ’box. Reduced travel should give a more positive, precise action than the A3’s woolly gearshift.
Exterior styling mods includes deep sill extensions, an aggressive front bumper and silver-coloured door mirrors.