Sportier, more striking, and fully digitized: Audi presents the new S3 Sportback and S3 Sedan. With 228 kW (310 hp) of power and does the 100 km / h in 4.8 seconds. The seven-speed S Tronic transmission, Quattro drive, and sports suspension put the power on the road and ensure a thrilling ride.
Exterior design and lighting
The new S3 has a powerful design. With its smaller glazed area, the body shows tension in its lines and transmits a lot of force. The Sportback’s sharply angled C-pillars seem to push it forward, while the Sedan is distinguished by fluid styling reminiscent of a coupe. The surface under the bodywork shoulder line, which runs smoothly from the headlights to the rear lights, is curved inward; a new element of Audi design that clearly accentuates the wheel arches. On the Sportback, a spoiler on the edge of the roof provides shade for the rear window, making it appear particularly low and thus accentuating the width of the car. For its part, the Sedan has a spoiler integrated into the tailgate.
Striking details further reinforce the design of the new S3 versions. The wide Singleframe grille, located in a low position, adopts a matte black grille with a diamond pattern and small inserts in an aluminum look. There are three flat grooves between the grille and the engine hood, reminiscent of the legendary 1984 Audi Sport Quattro. The pronounced three-dimensional air intakes and bumpers are bordered by frames finished in stainless steel look. The same finish highlights the running boards, while the exterior mirror housings have a shiny galvanized aluminum look, another characteristic of the S models. Equally distinctive are the four oversized tailpipes and sharply framed diffuser.
Audi offers eight paint colors for the first time, including Python Yellow and Turbo Blue. The optional black styling package includes the Singleframe grille frame, side air intake louvers, running board inserts, and diffuser frame. The exterior mirror caps are also available in black. For an even sportier look, the design can be complemented by large carbon spoilers for both the Sportback and the Sedan.
The new S3 features LED headlights in a flat wedge-shaped design, as well as LED taillights that include dynamic turn signals as standard. They can optionally be equipped with matrix LED headlights. Its corners, with a downward stroke, house another new feature: digital daytime running lights. They consist of a pixel matrix made up of 3×5 LED segments, ten of which form two vertical lines. In addition, matrix LED headlights provide intelligently controlled high-beam, dynamic front, and rear indicators, as well as many other functions, including animations when closing or opening the car.
State-of-the-art bodywork and aerodynamics
The passenger cell of the new S3 versions is made of ultra-high-strength hot-formed steel, which creates a very resistant structure. Those components make up about 30 percent of the body’s weight. The engine hood is made of aluminum. The bodywork is extremely shock-resistant, rigid, and acoustically comfortable. Thanks to careful soundproofing and sophisticated aeroacoustics, the car interior is always quiet.
Audi technicians have optimized many areas of the body to improve aerodynamics. An innovative feature is brake cooling with a neutral coefficient of aerodynamic resistance: air is guided from the engine compartment to the brakes through the wheel arches. This solution is more aerodynamically efficient than a conventional underbody air duct. In the new S3 versions, the underbody is almost completely cowled to ensure low air resistance. At the rear, a diffuser reduces the lift of the rear axle. In the case of the S3 Sedan, it is combined with the rear wing to ensure that the airflow has a defined shape, without creating vortices.
Generous space concept
The new S3 Sportback measures 4.35 meters long and 1.82 meters wide (without mirrors), thus adding an additional three centimeters compared to its predecessor. The S3 Sedan is the same width as the Sportback and measures 4.50 m in length, which is four centimeters more than the first generation. Both body variants also increase the height and share the same wheelbase (2.63 m). The new dimensions mean more space for the front and rear passengers. The slightly lower position of the driver and front passenger seats underlines the sporty character of both models and provides more headroom.
The boot of the Sportback and the Sedan has a capacity of 325 liters. In the five-door version, the volume increases to 1,145 liters if the backs of the rear seats are folded down. In addition, the load floor of the S3 Sportback can be fixed at different heights. As an option, Audi offers an electric tailgate that can be opened and closed with one-foot movement.
Built for performance: the 2.0 TFSI
With 228 kW (310 hp) of power and 400 Nm of torque, the 2.0 TFSI in the new S3 models is a true powerhouse. It delivers its maximum torque over a wide range, between 2,000 and 5,450 rpm. Peak power reaches the end of that range and remains constant up to 6,500 rpm. The engine accelerates both versions from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.8 seconds and allows reaching a maximum speed of 250 km / h, electronically limited.
The high-performance four-cylinder block combines the most advanced technologies. The injection system generates 350 bar of pressure and ensures an optimal formation of the mixture. This is complemented by the Audi valve lift system with variable timing on the two camshafts. Thermal management also helps ensure high efficiency, with the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head and a rotating module that precisely controls the flow of coolant through the engine. Both elements help to ensure that the cooling water heats up quickly after a cold start, shortening the phase with the highest friction loss due to the low oil temperature.
The large turbocharger provides charging pressures of up to 1.8 bar (relative), while an intercooler greatly reduces the temperature of the compressed air. Because cooler air contains more oxygen, this improves the filling of the combustion chambers. When the driver selects Dynamic mode in Audi drive select, the engine’s response time becomes even faster and it sounds even more intense.
Audi S3 Sportback Sedan
Maximum power in kW (CV) at rpm
to 5,450 – 6,500
Maximum torque / Nm at rpm
400 / 2,000 – 5,450
Top speed km / h
0 – 100 km / h in s
Combined fuel consumption l / 100 km
8.3 – 8.1
7.8 – 8.1
Combined CO2 emissions g / km
WLTP: 183 – 188
NEDC: 170 – 169
WLTP: 178 – 183
NEDC: 166 – 165
7v s Tronic
The seven-speed S Tronic is distinguished by its extremely fast transitions between gears. The lever, designed as a compact selector, allows the driver to change by pushing or pulling it. The dual-clutch gearbox can adopt modes D and S or can be controlled directly with the paddles on the steering wheel, which are included as standard. When Audi drive select is set to the “efficiency” program, it is disengaged to activate the coasting function as soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator.
Like all Audi S models, the new S3 Sportback and S3 Sedan are equipped with Quattro all-wheel drive as standard. At its core is an electro-hydraulic multi-disc clutch with electronic control that distributes the torque between the front and rear axles in a totally variable way, depending on the driving conditions. The clutch, which for weight distribution reasons is at the end of the propeller shaft, is of a new generation. It is around a kilogram lighter than its predecessor and offers greater efficiency thanks to various details, such as bearings and lubrication.
The Quattro traction clutch management combines dynamic performance with stability and efficiency. During normal driving, most of the torque is directed to the front wheels. The electric motor driving the axial piston pump is temporarily disabled, leaving the multi-plate clutch fully (or almost fully) open. When starting or when there is little traction on the front axle, this electric oil pump kicks in, causing the disc sets to tighten together with up to 40 bar hydraulic pressure. The stronger the pressure, the more torque is directed to the rear axle, up to 100 percent if the multi-plate clutch is fully closed.
The clutch can send a part of the torque to the rear axle when the driver is driving sporty. As soon as you accelerate, the S3 literally snaps into the corner. During load changes the torque distribution allows for precise turning, further increasing driving dynamics. Also contributing to its stability is the selective control of torque on the wheels, which performs precise interventions on the brakes. If the wheels on the inside of the curve lose grip and may show excessive slip, this system breaks them with gentle pulses.
The management of the multi-plate clutch is integrated into the modular dynamic stability control system. This central system collects data from all relevant components for transversal dynamics and manages the interaction between them quickly and precisely. It calculates the optimal settings for the Quattro system clutch, electronic stability control, and adaptive dampers (optional), and does so predictively based on steering movements. The result: even more agile and sporty reactions.
Sporty but suitable for everyday use: the suspension
The suspension on the new S3s is sporty and firm but adequate for everyday use. Its design incorporates all the strengths of its predecessors. This includes the advanced four-link rear axle and progressive steering, which varies in relation to the steering angle – the more the steering wheel is turned, the more direct it becomes.
The new S3 models are equipped as standard with an S sports suspension with conventional shock absorbers that reduce the height of the body to the asphalt by 15 millimeters compared to the A3. The S sport suspension with damping control, which is also 15 millimeters lower, is optionally available. It uses an adaptive system with which valves vary the oil flow and, therefore, the setting of the shock absorbers. Each of them is controlled separately in the compression and extension phases, in cycles of thousandths of a second. This takes into account the condition of the road, the driver’s style, and the settings selected in the Audi drive select. Thanks to the adaptive dampers, the difference between a dynamic and a comfortable ride is even greater than in the previous model.
The Audi drive select dynamic stability control system is part of the standard equipment. The driver can use it to vary not only the setting of the shock absorbers but also the operation of the Quattro drive and the sound of the engine, the response of the steering and throttle, as well as the shift points of the S Tronic. There are five profiles available: efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual.
The new S3s are fitted as standard with 18-inch wheels in a 10-spoke star design and 225/40 tires. Alternatively, Audi and Audi Sport offer different 18 and 19-inch wheel designs, the latter with 235/35 tires. All four brake discs are internally vented and have a diameter of 340mm at the front and 310mm at the rear. Electric brake assist is a new development that works faster than a conventional vacuum system. This has allowed Audi engineers to increase the space between the brake pad and the disc, almost completely eliminating friction losses due to slight contact between them while riding. As standard, the brake calipers are black and can optionally be painted red; the front ones have the “S” logo.
Progressive: the interior design
The powerful exterior design and striking three-dimensional details continue inside. Precise horizontal lines and cleanly traced surfaces dominate, with a black panel effect on both the dashboard and center console. A wide air outlet from the air conditioning system on the passenger side accentuates the horizontal line of the dashboard. In front of the driver, the vents are harmoniously associated with the instrument panel cover, underlining the sporty character of the cabin. A horizontal decorative surface completes the lower part of the dashboard and extends across its entire width, only interrupted by the steering column.
Many of the design details inside the new S3 versions are references to the exterior design. For example, the hockey stick shape of the interior door handles recalls the geometry of the headlights and taillights. As in the Audi models in the luxury segment, design and the new operating concept are interrelated. The main element is the large MMI touch screen in the center of the dashboard. Integrated into a trapezoidal black panel, when it is off it is hardly visible.
Below the central screen is a newly designed control unit for the air conditioning unit, the main functions of which are operated by comfortable and aesthetic paddles. In the tunnel in the center console, you will find the new seven-speed S Tronic gearbox and the new touch control for volume, which response to even the softest touches.
Elegant, high-quality colors, materials, and equipment
The interior of the new S3 is designed in anthracite tones. Aluminum and carbon are present in the decorative inserts. The central armrests, as well as those on the doors and dashboard, are finished with contrasting stitching. Door sill trims are illuminated and floor mats have colored piping. The sporty character is accentuated by the black roof, stainless steel pedals, S-engraving on the front seat backrests and a contrast-stitching steering wheel and S emblem.
The new sports seats have integrated head restraints. As standard, the side supports are upholstered with artificial leather, while the central sections are covered with a material made largely of recycled polyester from PET bottles. For this, this material is crushed, melted, cut and extruded, in order to create fibers that are later braided into threads to make upholstery. The designers have developed a new diamond pattern for the optional Alcantara, double leather, and fine Nappa upholstery. Colors can be black, steel gray, black/red, and black / silver.
An additional option is the ambient lighting package, with lighting effects in 30 different colors. Among the comfort devices are also a pneumatic massage function in the lumbar area, heating in the seats, a panoramic sunroof and the automatic three-zone climate control. The three-spoke steering wheel is also available in a flattened variant.
Fully digital: controls and displays
The control and display concept of the new S3 dispenses with the analog instruments and rotary knob of previous models. The new main unit is the third generation of the Modular Infotainment Platform (MIB 3), providing 10 times more computing power than the previous MIB 2. It works with the Online Connectivity Unit (OCU), with an integrated SIM card and a Wi-Fi module. The OCU performs all tasks related to connectivity, including fast data transfer.
The new S3 models are equipped as standard with the central 25.6 cm (10.1 inches) touchscreen with acoustic feedback. Audi virtual cockpit instrumentation with a 31.2 cm (12.3-inch) screen is also standard. It is operated with the multifunction steering wheel and offers a choice between three different display modes. With the MMI Navigation plus, they provide many additional functions. As an option, the head-up display projects various information in color onto the windshield, with images that appear to be 2.2 m from the vehicle.
Available from October: prices and market launch
The market launch of the new S3 versions will begin in Europe in early October. In Spain, the price of the S3 Sportback starts from 53,920 euros, while the prices of the S3 Sedan start from 54,890 euros.
Fuel consumption of the mentioned models:
Audi S3 Sportback:
Combined consumption in l / 100 km: 8.3 – 8.1
Combined CO2 emissions in g / km: 188 – 183; (NEDC: 170 – 169)
Audi S3 Sedan:
Combined fuel consumption in l / 100 km: 8.1 – 7.8
Combined CO2 emissions in g / km: 183 – 178; (NEDC: 166 – 165)
Figures depend on selected tire/rim combination and engine and transmission variant