New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback blasts in with 306bhp

Audi’s latest hot hatch keeps four-cylinder power but turns up the wick and level of standard tech

This is the Audi S3, the first of two hot versions of the German firm’s latest hatchback. Now packing 306bhp, it’s available as a five-door hatchback and four-door saloon. 

The S3 still competes with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R and Honda Civic Type R, but also goes up against new competition such as the Mercedes-AMG A 35. As ever, a five-cylinder RS 3 superhatch will crown the A3 line-up, but it won’t be revealed until 2021. 

  • Best hot hatchbacks 2020

Under the bonnet, the S3 sticks with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which now develops slightly more power than before, with a maximum claimed output of 306bhp and 400Nm torque. 

That’s an increase of 10bhp and 20Nm respectively, but Audi’s claims of 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph are unchanged. As such, performance improvements will only be found during in-gear acceleration, and not the benchmark 0-62mph sprint. A seven-speed S-tronic gearbox sending drive to a quattro all-wheel drive system is standard; a manual gearbox will not be offered to buyers. Audi claims 39.2mpg fuel economy, with CO2 emissions of 178g/km. 

The S3 also receives S-specific suspension that’s 15mm lower than the rest of the A3 line-up, while adaptive dampers are optional. They’ll be standard fit on high-spec Vorsprung versions of the hot hatch, coming to the UK not long after launch. 

From the outside, the S3 is subtly sportier looking than S-Line versions of the A3. The S-Line bodykit is upgraded with gloss black detailing on the singleframe grille and air vents at the front, aluminium wing mirror housings, and a large rear diffuser with dual twin-exhaust pipes. Full LED headlights are standard, and 18-inch graphite grey wheels are found too – up to 19-inches as standard on the S3 Vorsprung edition. 

The interior is headlined by new sports seats trimmed in nappa leather, red pinstripe detailing on the dashboard and doors, decorative aluminum or carbon-fibre inlays, and bespoke S3 graphics for the standard 10.25-inch digital instrumentation panel. A larger 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit display is optional. Audi’s MMI Navigation operated via the central 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment unit is standard, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Audi pre-sense front, swerve assist with turn assist and lane departure warning are included as standard on all S3s; Vorsprung edition cars come equipped with matrix LED headlights, lane change and exit warnings, the rear cross-traffic and park assist systems and adaptive cruise assist, which combines adaptive cruise control with steering assist to enable semi-autonomous driving assistance on motorway style roads. 

The new S3 is available to order in the UK now, with prices starting from £37,900 for the S3 Sportback and £38,465 for the S3 Saloon. Cars will be on the road with customers from this Autumn, with the S3 Vorsprung to go on sale later in 2020. 

Check out our review of the Audi S3-rivalling BMW M135i here…

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