A good 20 years ago, Audi opened up the sporty premium compact market segment with the first S3. Now the brand is presenting the new generation – an S3 Sportback and an S3 Sedan. Its 2.0 TFSI engine produces 228 kW (310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque. Both models accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds. A seven-speed S tronic, the quattro drive with intelligent control, and an S-specific sport suspension with optional damper control deliver the power to the road effortlessly. A number of other new features – including the operating concept, infotainment, and assist systems – round off the high-tech character of the S3 models.
Characteristic design and lighting
The new S3 models display their dynamic character from the very first glance. The front is dominated by the Singleframe with its large rhombus-patterned grille and impressive air inlets, while the housings of the exterior mirrors have a gleaming aluminum look. The shoulder of the body extends in a strong line from the headlights to the rear lights. The areas below are curved inward – a new element of Audi’s design that places a stronger emphasis on the wheel arches.
The new Audi S3 Sportback and the S3 Sedan can be fitted with matrix LED headlights on request. Their digital daytime running lights consist of a pixel array made up of 15 LED segments, ten of which form two vertical lines. At the rear end, the large diffuser and the four exhaust tailpipes accentuate the sporty look.
With 228 kW (310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque, the new S3 models are powered by the 2.0 TFSI engine. High-tech features like the Audi valvelift system (AVS) – which adjusts the lift of the intake valves as required – mean that the combustion chambers are well filled, while thermal management helps to ensure high efficiency. Both models accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). The driver can use the standard series Audi drive select system to make the sound of the powerful four-cylinder turbo engine even crisper.
The seven-speed S tronic with lightning-fast gear shifts and freewheeling function and the quattro all-wheel drive deliver the torque to the road. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch in front of the rear axle is fully variable and moves between the front and the back as required, combining dynamic performance with stability and efficiency. It is managed by the modular dynamic handling control – a new system that closely links the quattro drive to the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and the controlled dampers that are available optionally.
With its four-link rear axle and progressive steering, the standard suspension offers everything that is required for pleasurable driving. It lowers the body by 15 millimeters (0.6 in). Audi can also install the series S sport suspension with damper control on request. Valves control the oil flow in the dampers so that they adapt to the condition of the road, the driving situation, and the driver’s requests in an individual and ongoing in a few thousandths of a second. The spread between comfort and dynamism is even wider than for the predecessor model.
The new electric brake booster ensures strong and spontaneous deceleration. All four brake disks are internally ventilated. The brake calipers come in black as standard, with red offered as an option. The S3 models come with 18-inch wheels as standard, with 19-inch wheels available optionally.
2021 Audi S3 Sportback – UK Version Front View 3/4
Generous space concept
Compared with their predecessors, the new Audi S3 models have grown in size: The Sportback and the Sedan are three centimeters (1.2 in) and four centimeters (1.6 in) longer respectively, while both models are three centimeters (1.2 in) wider.
The five-door car is now 4.34 meters (14.2 ft) in length, while the four-door is 4.50 meters (14.8 ft) long. Other than minimal differences, the two body variants are identical in terms of width (1.82 m (6.0 ft)), height (1.43 m (4.7 ft)) and wheelbase (2.64 m (8.7 ft)). The interior offers greater shoulder room and elbow room. The luggage compartment of the S3 Sportback holds between 325 and 1,145 liters (11.5-40.4 cu ft) depending on the position of the rear bench seat, while the Sedan has a capacity of 370 liters (13.1 cu ft).
The strikingly sporty design of the new Audi S3 models continues on the inside – with the new, compact shifter for the seven-speed S tronic and decorative aluminum or carbon inlays whose design evokes the cut of the headlights. The cockpit is focused on the driver. The distinctive air vents form a single unit with the instrument cover, underlining the sporty character. A 10.25-inch digital display is offered as standard. Alternatively, the Audi virtual cockpit and its “plus” version can be selected. Both have a 12.3-inch diagonal, with the latter also offering three different screens. The optional ambient lighting package plus delivers targeted lighting effects in the dark. The sport seats have been newly developed, and their standard series upholstery is largely made from recycled PET bottles, accentuated by stylish contrasting stitching.
In the middle of the instrument panel is a 10.1-inch touch display embedded in a large black panel. It recognizes letters entered by hand and provides acoustic feedback. As an additional operating level, the infotainment can also be voice-controlled using natural language as standard. Audi also supplies a head-up display as an option.
2021 Audi S3 Sportback – UK Version Interior
A new generation of infotainment
The MMI operating concept of the new Audi S3 models is powered by the third generation modular infotainment platform (MIB 3). Its computing power is ten times higher than that of its predecessor, it performs all tasks relating to connectivity with LTE Advanced speed, and it has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. Route guidance is flexible and accurate. Navigation offers predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from Google Earth, and information about the traffic flow. Individual settings, such as frequently selected destinations or air conditioning preferences, can be stored in up to six user profiles.
The Audi connect online services also include car-to-X services, which help with finding available parking spots on the roadside or allow the driver to surf the green wave by communicating with traffic lights in cities like Düsseldorf and Ingolstadt. Connectivity between the new Audi S3 and the user’s smartphone is free of charge via the myAudi app, as well as via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the Audi phone box – which links the device to the vehicle’s antenna and charges it inductively.
Another feature is the Audi connect key, which authorizes the customer to lock and unlock the car and start the engine via their Android smartphone. For HiFi fans, the Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound delivers a particularly spatial soundscape.
Helpful driver assist systems
The driver assist systems in the new Audi S3 models also demonstrate Audi’s technical expertise. Audi pre sense front, swerve assist with turn assist, and lane departure warning all have the potential to prevent accidents and are included as standard. Further assist systems, such as lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, are available optionally. The adaptive cruise assist helps with longitudinal and lateral guidance. It maintains the speed and distance to the vehicle in front and assists with lane guidance by means of gentle interventions in the steering. The efficiency assist supports an economic driving style.
2021 Audi S3 Sportback – UK Version Rear View
Scheduled: Market launch and prices
Presales of the new compact S3 models start in many European countries in August 2020, with the first vehicles being delivered to dealers from beginning of October 2020. In Germany, prices for the Audi S3 Sportback start at €46,302, 53, while the Audi S3 Sedan is listed at €47,179, 83. The market launch is accompanied by the limited “Edition one.” It comes in Python Yellow (Sportback) or Tango Red (Sedan) paint finishes with black accents and has 19-inch wheels, and fine Nappa leather sport seats.