Next S3 will be Audi’s fastest yet, thanks to weight savings and a new, 276bhp 2.0-litre engine; on sale early next year, priced from £32,000
25 May 2012

Europe’s burgeoning hot hatch ranks are set for a further injection of premium-brand performance when a new, 276bhp Audi S3 is launched at the Paris motor show in September.

Previewed here in our artist’s impression, the latest in an ever-expanding S-badged line-up from Audi will reach UK showrooms early next year, priced from about £32,000. 

That will put it in close competition with the £30,000 BMW M135i hatchback unveiled last week and the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG that’s set to star alongside the S3 at Paris.

Audi had looked at fitting the new all-wheel-drive S3 with a detuned version of the RS3 Sportback’s 2.5-litre five-pot engine. But instead, the S3 will use a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that will feature in a whole host of other Volkswagen Group models due to its compatibility with the new modular MQB platform.

Whereas the old S3 used the VW Group’s decade-old ‘EA113’ engine, the new car is the first to receive the high-output version of the new ‘EA888’ unit.

The engine gets an all-new turbocharger and is equipped with the recently launched Audi Valve Lift system. This provides variable control of the valve lift and, in the process, the size of the inlet tract for added low-end response. 

Insiders are claiming a 276bhp output in the new S3, plus a torque figure of 280lb ft.
These are rises of 15bhp and 22lb ft over the old S3’s engine.

As well as extra muscle, 
the new Audi S3 will be up to 80kg lighter than today’s three-door S3, courtesy of a series of weight-saving measures, tagged under the Audi Ultra banner, that include the use of aluminium for the bonnet and wings.

So despite being 22mm longer, 201mm wider and 21mm taller than the previous S3, the new three-door is expected to weigh less than 1400kg.

As with the car it replaces, the new S3 will come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The optional six-speed S-tronic dual-clutch will be replaced by a newer seven-speed unit that goes under the codename DQ500.

Apportioning drive to each corner will be an updated version of the Volkswagen Group’s multi-plate clutch four-wheel-drive system.

In keeping with previous incarnations of the S3, the third-generation car promises to better its predecessor in pure straight-line speed.

Following initial in-house performance tests with recent prototype versions of the new car, insiders have told Autocar that they expect an official 0-62mph time of 5.5sec for the three-door hatchback — some 0.2sec faster than its predecessor. Top speed, like that of the outgoing second-generation model, will be limited to 155mph.

The suspension uses MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear. Adaptive dampers will also be standard, as will Audi’s Drive Select system, which alters throttle response, shift patterns on the auto, the electro-mechanical steering’s feel and spring settings. 

Setting the new S3 apart from more sedate versions of the new Audi A3 will be a series of styling upgrades. These include a bold single-frame grille, a deep front bumper with large air ducts, chunkier sills and a prominent spoiler above the rear hatch. Added to this will be 18-inch wheels shod with 225/40 tyres. 

Following the three-door S3 into showrooms will be a five-door S3 Sportback, with greater levels of rear seat accommodation and boot space. A new S3 saloon is also being readied, although it remains to be seen whether it will form part of the UK line-up.

Our Verdict

Audi S3

Given the Audi S3’s price, it’s difficult to think of a more entertaining, yet refined and rapid ownership proposition

Join the debate


25 May 2012

Sorry, it may be lighter and quicker than the previous model but I really don't hold out much hope for it being any more exciting to drive - especially if the lesser model reviews are anything to go by.

Just can't work up any enthusiasm about this car.



It's all about the twisties........

25 May 2012

Ditto to other comments.  I remeber when the original S3 came out it was a significantly different looking car from the next thing down - the 1.8T which was all I could strech to at the time.  This latest one just looks like a 1.4T S-Line and like TegTypeR, it's very nice, but somehow I just don't want one...    

25 May 2012

TegTypeR wrote:

Sorry, it may be lighter and quicker than the previous model but I really don't hold out much hope for it being any more exciting to drive - especially if the lesser model reviews are anything to go by.

Just can't work up any enthusiasm about this car.

I know where you're coming from, fast Audi's are often dissapointing (the RS3 for example), but didn't the last model get 4.5 stars in it's full Autocar road test?


If this new one isn't any more exciting to drive, then providing it hasn't got any worse, that's no bad thing, especially given this magazines summary of the predecessor;

"Given the Audi S3’s price, it’s difficult to think of a more entertaining, yet refined and rapid ownership proposition"


25 May 2012

I'm with you there Teg, until Audi can put a proper tiller on there cars, the rest of there tech is meaningless.

Peter Cavellini.

29 May 2012

If they could make them steer as wel as they go, then it would be a good car,maybe they should concentrate on that?....vor sprung and all that?

Peter Cavellini.

25 May 2012

It'll be great for the first 100 miles - then, once the speed has worn off - a little bit boring.

Bring back steel wheels.

25 May 2012

Looks great in that colour, or any colour compared to the 1 series,  and I'd always be up for 276 bhp plus a bit of weight loss.

Better start saving!    

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

29 May 2012

I'm with JJTurner above and think we should wait for the car to come out and be tested before all jumping on the Audi bashing wagon.

I personally wouldn't touch the 1 Series, way too ugly and ill proportioned to even consider. The Merc A might be good too once it's out and looked over by AutoCar. We'll see. Lets not be quick to the draw to bash the Audi S3. 

12 June 2012

I love its color. Really. It would be amazing if it will be in black color. Please update us with some parts as well

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic