As the Geneva Motor Show approaches, we will no doubt see an influx of official photography revealing some of the metal will see in the flesh when it comes to March 7. Audi has joined in and released images of its keenly awaited new S3 Sportback, the five-door version of the range’s most sporty model.
Looks wise, the S3 Sportback certainly fits the bill of a dragged up Audi A3 Sportback, but there’s no doubt that the flared wheel arches and aggressive bumpers have some aerodynamic purpose too. However, much of the visual additions we can see from the images have already been showcased on the S-line versions of the new A3 Sportback, with Audi perhaps taking a more cautious approach as not to outdo the monstrous RS3.
Under the bonnet, the story is pretty much the same; the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine has been fettled to give a very generous 296bhp and healthy dose of torque to match at 280lb ft. That’s an increase of 35bhp and 22lb ft respectively.
Audi claim that the four-cylinder engine is the most advanced of its type the German company has created thanks to 1.2 bar worth of turbocharger boost, twin counterbalancing rotation shafts and a clever direct injection system that sends fuel to each cylinder depending on throttle load, as well as apparently weighing 5kg less than its predecessor.
As standard, the S3 Sportback comes with a six-speed ‘box and a multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system. Those with deeper pockets and looking for a more fluid driving experience can fork out for the optional dual-clutch automatic S-tronic system with steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
Extensive amounts of aluminium have been implemented to create the bodywork in order to keep weight down, something very important when adding two more doors, and as a result the new car undercuts the previous generation by 70kg. With the new Audi S3 Sportback’s weight at 1445kg, the car has a power-to-weight ratio of a handy 136bhp per tonne, helping the hot-hatch from 0-62mph in just 5.0sec with the dual-clutch ‘box and 5.5sec with the standard manual.
This new Audi will have stiff competition from two of its fiercest compatriots this time around, BMW and Mercedes, with the former’s M135i enjoying many plaudits in the motoring world. Mercedes’ recently confirmed A45 AMG will also pose a threat, with the Stuttgart-based firm entering the hot-hatch fray for the first time with the A-Class based rival.
Audi will try to woo customers with such new equipment as the Audi Drive Select which enables the driver to alter the characteristics of the throttle, shift points of the optional dual-clutch system and the steering ratio. ADS is to be offered as standard, but like any Audi, there are a plethora of additional extras you can get for a little extra cash, including magnetic ride control which uses an electromagnet system to provide constantly variable damper rates.
The S3 Sportback is set to go on sale in September priced from an expected £34,000 in the UK.