Audi is wrapping things up with the local introduction of the all-new S3, which is perhaps the classiest hot hatch we’ve seen in a while. There are only a few subtle hints to its blistering performance and we like that a lot. Imagine the disappointed looks on the faces of GTI owners as you smoke them off the line in the ultimate Q-car.
Audi claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds for the seven-speed S tronic and 5.2 seconds for the six-speed manual transmission. Both models have an electronically governed top speed of 250km/h. The S tronic consumes on average just 6.9 litres of fuel per 100 km (the manual 7.0 litres), an improvement of 1.5 litre/100km compared with the previous generation. This corresponds to carbon emissions of 159g/km.
These impressive performance and consumption figures come courtesy of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder that Audi has developed from scratch. Power is rated at 206kW, with 380Nm of torque on tap from 1 800rpm.
To add an extra dash of sportiness to the mix, the S3 has an electromechanical sound actuator that pumps engine noises into the cabin. The exhaust system also includes a sound flap that opens at certain engine-speed ranges to give the S3 a genuine and sporty sound.
Handling is set to be foolproof thanks to Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel-drive system. During normal driving, most of the power is sent to the front wheels, but if traction decreases, the clutch can transfer torque to the rear axle in a few milliseconds.
Audi Drive Select is standard fitment on the S3. This allows the driver to set the car up according to their driving needs at the push of a button. The modes range from comfort for the drive to the office to dynamic for when the road is empty and you just can’t help but push it a bit.
The minimalist interior of the standard A3 has been carried over, but you get a few sporty additions to differentiate the S3 from lesser models. The instrument dials are grey with white needles and the tachometer includes a boost gauge. In models equipped with the S tronic transmission, the steering wheel incorporates aluminium-look shift paddles. The pedals and footrest are also made of brushed aluminium. S logos adorn the door-sill strips, steering wheel, gear selector and instruments. The dual-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning and the storage package are standard on the S3.
Other standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, sport suspension, progressive steering, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.
A five-door Sportback version will be available in South Africa next month. Pricing and specification for that model will be released closer to launch.
The new Audi S3 three-door is now available in South Africa with pricing inclusive of all taxes and the standard 5-year/100 000km Audi Freeway Plan.
Pricing: Audi S3 hatch 2.0T FSI quattro manual: R 457 500 Audi S3 hatch 2.0T FSI quattro S tronic: R 474 500