(Also) official: Audi S3 Sportback


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...

 

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Comments (48) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Guvernator 14 Feb 2013

    MonkeyMatt said:
    Guvernator said:
    This to be honest ^^^^

    I have no idea why Audi decided that it's smallish 5 door hatchback should look like an estate from now on but it looks sh*t.

    In fact why do all modern hatchbacks either look like an MPV, an estate, boring or are otherwise badly designed? SOMEONE please design a good looking normal 5 door hatchback so I can buy one!
    The sportback is longer than the 3 door and has always been marketed as a halfway house between estate and hatch
    Oh I know, just really confusded why they decided to go with the "sportback" model in the first place. The first gen Audi A3 5 door was normal hatched shaped and IMO looked much better for it.

  • k-ink 14 Feb 2013

    The Audi is HUGELY better looking than the Vauxhall Astra, I mean new Mercedes Astra thing.

  • toppstuff 14 Feb 2013

    NelsonR32 said:
    toppstuff said:
    oojonoo said:
    toppstuff said:
    I think Audi misjudged the market with the A3. It will sell well I am sure. But it is too conservative.
    it will sell well - and this is a misjudgement of the market?
    Yes, because it will lose ground to competitors such as the A class IMO. If the A3 was more innovative, and not a clone of the previous model, they would sell more.

    I can't imagine an owner of a , say, 2011 model A3 being in a desperate rush to upgrade. In contrast, every potential buyer in this class will look at the new Merc. Some will buy one. In the past they would have all probably defaulted to the A3. Not any more.

    It will sell well. It is an Audi after all. But IMO they would sell more if they had been a bit braver.
    Hmm. The new A3 is lighter, faster, has much more efficient engines with the lowest CO2 in its class, has a better designed interior, has more room inside, has technology Mercedes can only dream of and is cheaper when compared spec for spec.

    Yeah, they really dropped a clanger there didn't they.
    Yes. I think they did "drop a clanger".

    Old A3 owner rocks up to a dealer to maybe chop in their 2 year old A3. Only problem is that if they buy the new one, their neighbours and workmates are not going to even notice they got a new car. This matters !

    A friend of ours has an A3. Early 30's, professional couple, classic target A3 customer. Fancied a change. Looked at the A3. Got a bit bored. They have a new Mercedes A220Cdi on order. By all accounts Mercedes dealers are seeing a LOT of traffic from A3 owners making a change. I can understand why.

  • HighwayStar 14 Feb 2013

    MonkeyMatt said:
    HighwayStar said:
    And yet all that doesn't make it a better car... What is this technology Mercedes can only dream of???
    The new A3 is way better than the last one. I havnt driven the A-class but in all the tests I have read the A3 comes out on top.
    The previous A3 was so woefully boring and devoid of anything beyond being achieving it's it's fundamental role of getting you from here to there. So the new A3 being 'way better' than the old one is only to be expected. I find the A3 to be one of Audis most clinical cars. A new one lives 6 or so houses down the road... I passed if for weeks before I realised it was the new one. The sort of car the would be discribed as nice... Nice to drive, nice be in, nice touches. If you press this button here, oooh isn't that nice. I get what people like about Audis, I have one too, great build, pleasing to the eye, attractive cabins but for the enthusiast... Low on character and involvement.
    I really like my car, for what it is it's cheap to run, looks great but I don't love it. If Audi don't get it together come time to change then I'm done with Audi.

  • MonkeyMatt 14 Feb 2013

    HighwayStar said:
    And yet all that doesn't make it a better car... What is this technology Mercedes can only dream of???
    The new A3 is way better than the last one. I havnt driven the A-class but in all the tests I have read the A3 comes out on top.

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