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Audi reveals a scalding hatch


THIS YEAR has been spectacular as far as hot hatches are concerned. Volkswagen gave us the new Golf GTI, Opel treated us to the new Astra OPC and Ford gave us the magnificent Fiesta ST. And these models are just the tip of the iceberg.

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


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