2021 Audi S3 Sportback Previews a New S3 Sedan

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It has been greater than 20 years since Audi launched the S3, a high-performance model of the A3. Again then, its 20-valve 1.8-liter four-banger made 207 horsepower, a quantity that appears quaint immediately. Whereas that authentic S3 by no means made it to america, we did get the 292-hp S3 in 2015, a punchy and engaging sports activities sedan able to hitting 60 in 4.4 seconds. We had been so smitten, we questioned why anybody would spend extra for the slower S4 sedan.

A brand new S3 has arrived in Europe, and we took the first-to-market four-door Sportback hatchback for a drive. Audi will not be bringing the Sportback stateside, just like the final technology. We’ll solely get the S3 sedan, and it will come someday in 2021.

The S3 has really grown up. It weighs a bit greater than earlier than at about 3300 kilos, and energy is up from the last-gen’s 292 horsepower to 306 from Audi and Volkswagen’s turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. As easy right here because it was within the earlier S3, the engine makes 295 pound-feet of torque from 2000 to 4750 rpm and most energy from 5450 to 6500 rpm. Energy is seemingly proper there everytime you hit the accelerator, and there is a pretty snarl that comes into the cabin. The S3 builds velocity with ease and confidence.

Audi claims that the dash from zero to 62 mph takes a mere 4.8 seconds. We’re guessing that estimate will show to be a number of tenths conservative than what we’ll extract from the sedan after we take a look at it subsequent 12 months. Must you need extra energy, a brand new RS3 is within the works, and its turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder will produce greater than 400 horsepower.

All-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission are customary. The six-speed handbook provided up to now is gone, even in Europe. The S3’s all-wheel-drive system makes use of a multi-plate clutch to handle the torque distribution between the entrance and rear axles.

On tight, curvy roads, the S3 shines. It’s simple to go quick on this automobile. The electrically assisted energy steering is crisp and on the marginally lighter aspect, turn-in is aggressive, and the bounds of adhesion are terribly excessive. An 18-inch wheel with 225/40R-18 tires is customary, and 235/35R-19 tires are elective. Our S3 wore the 19-inch wheel possibility, which provides a remarkably harmonious compromise between agility and luxury. The softness of the A3 is gone, though the Consolation setting turns even the S3 into a really snug long-distance cruiser.

The inside of the brand new S3 is spacious, with ample room each up entrance and within the rear. Now we have praised the supplies and workmanship within the A3, however the S3, which can begin at about $45,000 when it hits the U.S., is not sufficiently differentiated from the less-expensive A3. Whereas we like particulars such because the frameless mirrors and the stitching on the instrument panel, the exhausting plastic across the air vents seems to be misplaced. And the shifter paddles on the steering wheel really feel flimsy, with too little journey and an absence of suggestions.

The outside design is sporty and engaging, however the S3 is fitted with various fake air vents. The Audi S3’s section is increasing. Mercedes-AMG provides two sedans, the A35 and the CLA35. BMW rolled out the M235i Gran Coupe this 12 months. Cadillac’s wonderful CT4-V’s longitudinal engine and rear-drive format is a standout towards this class of transversely mounted all-wheel-drive machines. If the shortage of an S3 hatch is holding you again, a brand new VW Golf R ought to arrive stateside in late 2021 and is predicted to share the brand new S3’s mechanicals. We’ll have to attend a bit longer to check out the S3 sedan, however our time with the Sportback leaves few doubts that one other nice S3 is on its manner.



2021 Audi S3 Sportback


front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback




turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct gas injection

121 in3, 1984 cm3

306 hp @ 6500 rpm

295 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm


7-speed dual-clutch automated


Wheelbase: 103.5 in

Size: 171.3 in

Width: 71.5 in

Peak: 56.6 in

Cargo quantity: 12 ft3

Curb weight (C/D est): 355 lb


60 mph: 4.5 sec

100 mph: 11.9 sec

1/4 mile: 13.2 sec

Prime velocity: 155 mph


Mixed/metropolis/freeway: 24/22/28 mpg

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