Wednesday 13th February 2013


(ALSO) OFFICIAL: AUDI S3 SPORTBACK

What a coincidence! Audi also has a five-door four-wheel drive premium hot hatch coming


No prizes for guessing who the new Mercedes A45 AMG is aimed at. Yes disillusioned Audi buyers - you! The hot A-Class takes an established compact Audi template - heavily boosted turbo engine, Haldex-based four-wheel drive, dual-clutch transmission, premium badge and pricing with five-door hatch practicality - and sexes it up with a dose of AMG attitude.

New S3! No, hang on, it's the old one. Er.
New S3! No, hang on, it's the old one. Er.
And in one of those weird coincidences on the very day that the embargo on official information for the A45 AMG lifts ... Audi reveals the next-gen S3 Sportback to sit alongside the three-door already announced. And it has a 300hp turbo four-cylinder, Haldex-based four-wheel drive, dual-clutch transmission, premium badge and pricing with five-door hatch practicality. Spooky, eh?

Clearly the A45 outguns the S3 by some margin and a true A3-based contender will come in the shape of a new RS3 at some point but the S3's 300hp and 280lb ft aren't disgraced entirely. It'll still hit 62mph in 5.0 seconds, four tenths down on both the old RS3 and the A45, and is likewise limited to 155mph. And it's a serious boost over the 265hp and 258lb ft of the previous S3, together with a 70kg like for like weight loss. All of which leaves plenty of headroom for the next RS3 to get properly mental in the effort to put AMG back in its place - don't expect any less than 400hp.

Much admired interior is suitably upgraded
Much admired interior is suitably upgraded
For now though we've got the S3 in both three-door and Sportback form, the former unveiled at Paris and the Sportback no doubt joining the throng at Geneva. Sales start in Germany in September at a smidge under 40,000 euros, 600 euros less than a five-door BMW M135i. That'd put the new S3 Sportback at around 31K if it's to match the BMW's base UK price of 31,085.

Of course, if you really want to go chasing the A45 you'll need one of the old 340hp five-cylinder RS3s, no longer available new but still pulling high 30s for nearly new examples in the PH classifieds. Hot hatches suddenly got a whole lot hotter...

Author: Dan Trent
Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!