Here’s something for Volkswagen Group fans, the all-new Audi S3. This car will set the tone for a few other models to follow, most notably the next Golf R. Now featuring an EA888-based engine the latest S3 is good for 221kW, up from 195kW (or 188kW in Australian-spec). Torque has been increased by 30Nm to a new total of 380Nm, available from 1800â€“5500rpm.
We’ll never see the three-door S3 in Australia, but we will get the S3 Sportback. The three-door will go on sale in Europe early next year and the five-door Sportback model will follow in the second quarter of 2013. By our calculations we could see the S3 Sportback in Australia as early as the third quarter; yet to be confirmed by Audi Australia, of course.
With an optional 6-speed S tronic transmission Audi reckons it can hit 100km/h in only 5.1 seconds. If you insist on changing gears yourself you’ll need 5.4 seconds to reach triple figures. But here comes the sweetener, claimed fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 7.0l/100km for the manual and 6.9l/100km for the double-clutch jobbie. Assuming the S3 Sportback can match those numbers, that should be enough to scrape the S3 under the Australian Government’s Luxury Car Tax threshold.
The new S3 rides on the same sized 7.5″ width rims as the old model and the 225/40/18 sized tyres are also the same. However, handling should benefit from the front axle being moved 52mm forward and the 148kg engine, 5kg less than before, being angled back towards the bulkhead by 12 degrees.
That’s all due to the now ubiquitous MQB platform. The modular architecture has also helped contribute to a weight loss of 60kg over the old S3, but at 1395kg it’s still not going to be the lightest hot hatch going around. Of course, some of the weight is due to the quattro all-wheel drive system. The provided press text is light on for detail in this regard, but it sounds as though the quattro system used is very similar to the Haldex IV system used in the 8P S3.
A sophisticated suspension system should ensure handling improvements for the new S3, helped along in no small terms by the optional Audi magnetic ride as standard equipment. A total of three different tunes, also affecting throttle response and steering, can be chosen from the Audi drive select programs. The S3 also sits 25mm lower compared to its garden variety 8V A3 siblings.
You certainly couldn’t say Audi has brought anything radical to the table with its third-generation S3. But we do think think this clear case of minor improvements over the previous model will make for very pleasing car to drive. We can’t wait until the S3 Sportback lands down under so we can sample it for ourselves.
There’s another 30-odd pics for you after the break, along with Audi’s introductory press release. If they add anything new when the car debuts in Paris we’ll be sure to share it with you.
UPDATE: Audi’s 10 minute promo video for the new S3 has been added below.