The four-cylinder engine in the S3 Sportback has been overhauled. The only thing in common with its predecessor is a displacement of 1,984 cc. Its rated output of 221 kW (300 hp) is available at 5,500 rpm; maximum torque of 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) is constantly available from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm.
The high-performance four-cylinder engine responds immediately to the driver's wishes and boasts a sportily sonorous sound. When the Audi drive select system is in dynamic mode, the engine's power is also underscored acoustically. The 2.0 TFSI provides power and exemplary efficiency alike by relying on many new technologies, ranging from dual injection through the Audi valvelift system and an exhaust manifold integrated within the cylinder head to innovative thermal management.
When equipped with the optional six-speed S tronic, the S3 Sportback sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in only 4.9 seconds. The six-speed manual transmission needs just four-tenths of a second more. Top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Launch Control delivers the engine's power to the road with defined tire slip. The 2.0 TFSI consumes just 6.9 liters per 100 kilometers (34.09 US mpg) on average when paired with the S tronic (7.0 liters [33.60 US mpg] with the manual transmission). This engine thus requires 1.5 liters per 100 kilometers less compared to the previous S3 Sportback.
The lower gears of both transmissions are tightly spaced for sporty performance while the tall sixth gear reduces fuel consumption. The dual-clutch transmission can be controlled via optional shift paddles on the steering wheel and offers the automatic modes D and S in addition to manual mode.
Equipped with quattro permanent all-wheel drive and a redesigned multi-plate clutch, this new high-end vehicle in the model line can accelerate more quickly and safely when exiting a corner. It is dynamic and stable in all conditions, even rain or snow.
The front axle is forward compared to the previous model. The 2.0 TFSI is more than five kilograms (11.02 lb) lighter than the previous engine and is tilted backward by 12 degrees.
In addition to a sophisticated suspension and the S sport suspension, which lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in), the axle-load distribution (59 percent to 41 percent, front to rear) and new, progressive steering contribute significantly to sporty handling. The key to progressive steering is that steering movements determine the steering ratio. This results in stable and virtually neutral steering characteristics for outstanding precision during sporty driving and easier steering while parking.
The new Audi S3 Sportback features 7.5 J x 18 wheels. The low rolling resistance of the 225/40-series tires helps reduce fuel consumption. The calipers of the large brakes, which measure 340 millimeters (13.39 in) in diameter up front, are painted black and bear S logos. They can optionally be red. The electromechanical parking brake governs the rear axle. Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) reflects latest-generation technology.
The new S3 Sportback comes standard with Audi drive select. This system handles characteristics of the electronic gas pedal, shift points of the optional S tronic and the steering ratio for progressive steering.
At the push of a button, the driver specifies whether these systems should operate in comfort, auto, dynamic or efficiency mode. An additional mode, individual, is available in models equipped with the MMI Radio or above. The optional Audi magnetic ride system, which situationally regulates the shock absorbers, is also controlled via Audi drive select.
Lightweight construction also contributes significantly to the very dynamic performance of the Audi S3 Sportback. This five-door car has a curb weight of 1,445 kilograms (3,185.68 lb) – 70 kilograms (154.32 lb) less than the previous model. Most of this reduction in weight is on account of the body. A large amount of ultra-high-strength steel was used for the passenger cell. The front fenders and the hood are made of aluminum.
Moreover, the exterior design clearly underscores the dynamics of new Audi S3 Sportback. This top-of-the-line model is 4,324 millimeters (170.24 in) long, 1,785 millimeters (70.28 in) wide and 1,404 millimeters (55.28 in) tall.
The S-specific grille sports aluminum-look, double horizontal bars and the insert is matt Platinum Gray. The bumper has integrated air inlets with aluminum-look double ribs. There are faux air intakes on the sides. As an alternative to standard xenon plus headlights, Audi can fit this compact model with technology from the luxury class: all-LED headlights. They ensure that the road is always well illuminated.
Aluminum-look exterior mirror housings and special sill strips accentuate the side view. The rear bumper has been redesigned. The Platinum Gray diffuser with an aluminum-look double bar houses the exhaust system’s four oval tailpipes, which sport chrome tips. LED technology is also used in the tail lights. The S3 roof spoiler, in the same color as the body, visually extends the roof. Highlights among 14 available paint finishes are the crystal-effect finishes Panther Black and Estoril Blue.
Large and round air vents, an elegant air-conditioning control panel and decorative inlays in either matt brushed aluminum or a 3D black look exquisitely accentuate the interior. As in every Audi, controls are intuitively easy, quality is top-notch and there is ample room – even in the rear.
The optional multifunction sport steering wheel, covered in leather, features a flat-bottomed rim. Pedals and footrests are made of brushed aluminum. Instrument gauges are dark gray and the indicators white. The tachometer’s gauge integrates a boost-pressure display. The driver information system, featuring a color screen and rest-recommendation alerts, is standard. The on-board monitor extends electronically (standard with MMI Radio and above) and greets the driver with an S logo on the screen when the driver turns on the ignition.
Color-contrasting seams accentuate the otherwise black interior of the new Audi S3 Sportback. The two-tone Audi design selection in black/corso red is also available. The standard sport seats come in one of three coverings. S sport seats with integrated head restraints and shoulder inserts with diamond quilting are also available.
Topping the range of infotainment modules is MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. Audi connect delivers the brand's tailored Internet services to the car.
Upon request, Audi will equip the S3 Sportback with every driver assistance system available for the model series – including adaptive cruise control, which automatically brakes or accelerates the S3 Sportback as per the speed of the vehicle ahead. This new top-of-the-line model will be available starting in September 2013. The base price in Germany will be 40,100 euros.