The new Audi A3 Sportback won’t be the only new model joining the latest A3 lineup. Debuting alongside the five-door hatchback at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the all-new performance-oriented Audi S3 will be the model of choice for those looking for thrills.
The new S3 will initially be offered in three-door guise, with a five-door variant scheduled to go on sale at a later date. It is distinguished from the standard model by a S-specific single-frame grille with an aluminum-look finish, standard LED daytime running lights, a redesigned front bumper, aluminum-look exterior mirrors, side skirts, roof spoiler, redesigned rear bumper housing a diffuser and quad tailpipes and 18-inch allows wearing 225/40-series tires.
The interior package includes decorative inlays in matt brushed aluminum or a black 3D look, a flat-bottom sports steering wheel, gray instrument dials, sport seats optionally available with diamond quilting, aluminum-look shift paddles and an abundance of S logos plastered throughout.
On the performance front, the 2013 S3 is powered by a new 2.0-liter TFSI direct-injected and turbocharged gasoline engine that produces 296-hp (300 PS) at 5,500 rpm and 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm, which represents an increase of 35-hp and 30 Nm over the outgoing S3′s output.
A standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional S tronic dual clutch transmission transfers all that power to all four wheels, allowing for a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 5.1 seconds (5.4 seconds with the manual) and an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). In comparison, the outgoing S3 ran to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds.
Weighing 1,395 kg (3,075 lb), the new S3 is 60 kg (132.3 pounds) lighter than the car it replaces, complementing its acceleration and handling. Compared to the standard A3, the chassis has been sports-tuned and features new brakes and an optional electromagnetic damper control system. Ride height has been lowered by 25 mm (0.98 in), reducing drag.
The 2013 Audi S3 goes on sale across Europe in early 2013 with prices starting at €38,900 (US$50,500) in its home market of Germany.