New S3 boasts impressive performance, with a 0-62mph of 5.1sec
Sportback variant is likely to make up the majority of the new A3's sales
RS5 cabriolet is shown in public for the first time at the Paris show
First is the S3 version of the new A3, significant for its ability to squeeze 296bhp from just two litres of highly turbocharged engine. With an optional double-clutch gearbox it’s enough to propel the S3 to 62mph in 5.1sec, providing a significant headache not only to rivals such as the BMW M135i and forthcoming Mercedes A45 AMG, but also to Audi’s colleagues at Quattro GmbH, who must now put clear air between the S3 and its forthcoming RS3.
The A3 Sportback is less likely to grab the headlines than the S3 but it’s a far more significant car, likely to account for the bulk of A3 sales over time. More than just a five-door A3, the Sportback had exploited the versatility of its Volkswagen MQB platform to extend the A3 wheelbase by 35mm and overall length by 78mm to provide crucial extra space in both the back and the boot.
Finally Audi showed the cabriolet version of its recently launched RS5 coupé. Using the same 444bhp V8, its 0-62mph time has nevertheless lengthened by 0.4sec to 4.9sec suggesting Audi had paid a considerable weight penalty for that convertible roof. UK pricing has yet to be revealed but is expected to top £65,000.