New 2021 Audi S3 spotted testing

Audi’s new S3 has been spied completely undisguised in both hatchback and sedan bodies.

The fourth-generation Audi S3 has been spotted completely undisguised during its developing assessment at the Nurburgring. It’ll follow the all-new standard A3 into the showrooms, offering fresh competition for the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A 35.

Cosmetic revisions over the standard Audi A3 are extensive. Buyers will get a set of larger alloy wheels, a more aggressive front bumper, broader side skirts, a new rear diffuser and the brand’s trademark, quad-exit exhaust system. Hatchback models will also get a larger tailgate wing, while the sedan gets a lip spoiler for the boot-lid.

Inside, buyers will get the usual list of Audi “S” equipment, including sports seats, a sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals. Like the standard A3, there’ll also be a new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster – both of which should be updated with unique graphics, which are specific to the S model.

Audi has previously confirmed that the new S3 will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as the old model. That means roughly 224kW and 400Nm of torque, as well as a 0–100km/h time of around five seconds.

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During our recent prototype drive, Audi engineers told us that the revised quattro system can vary the torque split between the S3’s front and rear axle. The car’s traction control system now also brakes the front and rear inside wheels when cornering, which the firm says will help trim the car’s line.

Finally – and perhaps most controversially – Audi has added a new sound actuator to the S3’s interior, which pumps a synthesised engine note into the cabin. The system is at its loudest when the car’s drivetrain is in “Dynamic” mode and, in our experience, it does an uncanny impression of the bassy five-cylinder engine note from the RS 3.

Luke Wilkinson

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