Audi S3: pre-production prototype and official specs revealed

A month before the official premiere of the new generation Audi A3 in Geneva Motor Show, Audi revealed the specifications of the model together with a set of photos showing a lightly camouflaged pre-production prototype. Several members of the press drove this car in Azores (Portugal) where it was also photographed.

Visually, Audi designers took an evolutionary approach for the new model, which retains similar silhouette and window lines with its predecessor. At the front, the new LED headlights have a more angular shape, the Singleframe grille is wider, while the intakes on the front bumper have also grown in size. Above the grill, we find the usual three slits at the base of the bonnet which has stronger dynamic lines. At the back, the slimmer LED taillights are more aggressive than ever before, while the sporty rear bumper is dominated by faux openings, a prominent diffuser and four tailpipes.

The new A3 will be based on the MQB Evo platform, which also underpins the brand new VW Golf VIII, SEAT Leon IV and Skoda Octavia IV. Suspension will consist of MacPherson struts at the front and multi-link at the rear, while the progressive steering will offer three settings – Balanced, Dynamic and Comfort. The 19″ wheels are shod in Bridgestone tires developed exclusively for the S3.

Under the bonnet, the 2.0 TFSI engine will produce 228 kW / 310 hp of power and 400 Nm of torque – which is the exactly the same with its predecessor. Power will be sent to all four wheels through a 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox and a new version of the quattro (Audi’s permanent AWD system) offering a more tail-happy setup. Audi didn’t reveal the performance figures but we expect something close to the previous generation (0-100 km/h in 4,7 “ and a top speed of 250 km/h).

The same engine-platform-gearbox combination will be used by the upcoming VW Golf VIII R, although this car is rumoured to be even more powerful with 245 kW / 333 hp.

The new Audi S3 will compete against the likes of the BMW M135i xDrive and the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic  in the premium C-Segment hot hatch category.

See also: Rivalry: BMW M135i xDrive VS Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic