It’s time to add another hot hatch to the list of European forbidden fruit. Audi has just taken the wraps off of its third-generation S3 prior to its unveiling at next week’s Paris Motor Show, but it’s unlikely to be sold in North America.
Given that Audi just revealed the all-new A3 earlier this year, it’s not too surprising an S3 is now rearing its head. The hotter hatchback uses an all-new 2.0-liter turbo-four that’s derived from the 2.0-liter turbo from the Volkswagen GTI. The S3′s new powerplant is quite potent: it has been rated at an impressive 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which even manages to trump the 265-hp offered in the TT-S. As per the norm for the brand’s “S” cars, the 2013 S3 will send power to all four wheels through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system, although it is front-biased in the S3. Buyers can choose between a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic, but both transmissions utilize magnesium casings to help curb curb weight.
On that note, Audi cranked up the use of aluminum with the S3 – the subframe, front axle bearings, front fenders, and hood are all made of the lightweight metal, and save roughly 37 pounds over the previous-generation S3. Audi expects the S3 to sprint from 0-62 in just 5.1 seconds with the S-tronic gearbox, or 5.4 seconds with the manual. When it’s time to bring things to a halt, the new S3 is fitted with 13.39-inch vented front brake discs, along with black calipers adorned with S3 branding.
Differentiating the S3 from lesser A3s is an affair best left to the aficionados. In true Audi fashion, aesthetic upgrades to the sportier model are subtle. An aluminum-look grille gains matte grey accents, the 18-inch wheels boast a split five-spoke design, mirrors are capped with silver accents, the side sills have been extended slightly, and the rump is decked out with a new diffuser and quad exhaust tips. The subtle upgrades continue within the interior. Sports seats are standard on the S3, as is an all-black interior with contrast stitching (although a two-tone black and red color combination is available). The seats are trimmed in Nappa leather and accented with either Alcantara or Velvet Leather. Aluminum trim helps brighten the cabin, and S badges appear on the sill plates, steering wheel, shift lever, and unique gauge faces.
Sadly, the Audi S3 will once again not make it to our shores. We can hope that maybe Audi will grace us with an S variant of the upcoming A3 sedan, but until then we’ll have to pine from across the pond. Make sure to stay tuned for all the information from the Paris Motor Show next week when the S3 makes its debut alongside the A3 Sportback.