Alas, of all the not-for-U.S. models we see every year, some sting more than others. While the Volkswagen GTI may define 'hot-hatch' stateside, the 2013 Audi S3 ups the ante, and it looks even tastier and forbidden up close.

The centerpiece of the A3 is the new 2.0-liter TFSI inline-4. The turbocharged mill generates a whopping 300 horsepower and 280 pound feet of torque. Power is sent through either a six-speed manual transmission or optional S-Tronic gearbox to quattro full-time all-wheel drive. With a curb weight that is 132 pounds lower than its predecessor, the S3 is able to get from zero to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds. Fuel economy is listed at 6.9-liters per 100 kilometers, which converts to just over 34 miles per gallon, though the EPA testing cycle differs.

A lot of the luxury and safety tech found in the S3 comes from its larger stablemates. Adaptive cruise control, MMI user interface, navigation, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system all put the 'premium' in 'premium performance compact.'

If you're one of the lucky European hooligans with €38,900 ($50,699) to plunk down, the S3 could be yours. You'll have to wait a few months, though, as it doesn't land in dealerships until early 2013. Audi's PR blast is posted below.
Show full PR text

The new Audi S3
 New 2.0 TFSI with turbocharging and gasoline direct injection
 Ample power and minimal consumption: 221 kW (300 hp) and
380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) torque, but just 6.9 liters per 100 km
(34.09 US mpg)
 From zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.1 seconds
Ingolstadt, September 21, 2012 – 221 kW (300 hp) of power and 380 Nm
(280.27 lb-ft) of torque – the third-generation Audi S3 raises the bar once again.
Scheduled to launch in early 2013, the lightweight premium compact model
combines its dynamic performance with groundbreaking efficiency and comes
packed with all the high-tech Audi has to offer in every field of technology.
The long-stroke 2.0 TFSI in the Audi S3 has been developed from scratch. The only
thing it has in common with its predecessor, which was named Engine of the Year
five times in a row between 2005 and 2009, is its displacement of 1,984 cc (bore x
stroke 82.5 x 92.8 millimeters [3.25 x 3.65 in]). The four-cylinder unit delivers a
constant 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque to the crankshaft between 1,800 and
5,500 rpm. Rated power at 5,500 rpm is 221 kW (300 hp), and the engine redlines
at 6,800 rpm.
The S3 delivers impressive performance. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h
(62.14 mph) is completed in 5.1 seconds when equipped with the S tronic
(5.4 seconds with the manual transmission). The electronically governed top speed
of 250 km/h (155.34 mph) is just a formality. The S3 with S tronic consumes on
average just 6.9 liters of fuel per 100 km (manual: 7.0 liters) [34.09 and
33.60 US mpg]. This corresponds to CO2 emissions 159 (162) grams per kilometer
(255.89 and 260.17 g/mile) and for models equipped with the manual transmission,
an improvement of 1.5 liters compared with the previous version.

The powerful four-cylinder engine features two balance shafts rotating at twice the
speed of the crankshaft for tremendous smoothness. The sound is emotion-inspiring
and sporty. An electromechanical sound actuator at the bulkhead brings the engine
sound to life in the cabin. The exhaust system also includes a sound flap that opens
at certain engine speed ranges to give the S3 a sportily sonorous sound.
The 2.0 TFSI boasts groundbreaking solutions in many fields of technology. One of
these is the additional use of indirect injection. It supplements the FSI gasoline
direct injection at part load to reduce consumption and particulate emissions. FSI
injection, which works at pressures up to 200 bar, is used when starting and at
higher loads.

The developers achieved new degrees of freedom when it comes to filling the
combustion chambers. On the exhaust side, the Audi valvelift system varies the
stroke of the valves in two stages; the camshaft on the intake side can be adjusted
steplessly through 30 degrees of crankshaft angle while 60 degrees of adjustment is
available on the exhaust side. The compression ratio of 9.3:1 is unusually high for a
turbocharged engine.

The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head, where it is bathed in
coolant. This solution lowers the temperature of the exhaust and accelerates
warmup following a cold start, which lowers consumption during the cold-start
phase. This concept also has a positive effect on fuel consumption during sporty
driving because full-load enrichment is no longer necessary. The large turbocharger
is also a new development. It achieves a maximum boost pressure of up to 1.2 bar
for even more spontaneous engine response. A high-performance intercooler
integrated into the water circuit greatly reduces the temperature of the compressed
air and thus increases the amount of air required for combustion.
With the 2.0 TFSI's innovative thermal management system, two rotary slide valves
consolidated in a single module regulate the flow of coolant. These valves ensure
that the engine oil heats up to its operating temperature soon after the vehicle is
started; they also maintain the coolant temperature, as per a given driving situation,
between 85 and 107 degrees Celsius (185.0° F and 224.6° F). As a result –
regardless of load or engine speed – the valves always strike the perfect balance
between minimal friction and high thermodynamic efficiency.

The 2.0 TFSI has been designed specifically for use in the new Audi S3. Pistons with
stronger bolts and new rings plus reinforced connecting rods with new mounts
transfer the power to the crankshaft. The gray cast iron crankcase has been
reinforced at the main bearing seats and the main bearing cover.

The cylinder head is made of a new, particularly lightweight aluminum-silicon alloy
characterized by high strength and temperature resistance.

An innovative coating on the piston skirts and mounting the balance shafts in roller
bearings keep internal friction low. The regulated oil pump only consumes as much
energy as is necessary for the current driving situation.

Despite its complexity and the high performance, the new 2.0 TFSI weighs just
148 kilograms (326.28 lb) – more than five kilograms (11.02 lb) less than the
previous engine. The dimensions are compact: 603 millimeters (23.74 in) long,
678 millimeters (26.29 in) wide and 664 millimeters (26.14 in) high.


The new Audi S3 comes standard with a manual six-speed transmission with a
lightweight magnesium case. The optional S tronic boasts high efficiency and a tall
sixth gear. The lower gears are short in the interest of dynamics, as is also the case
with the manual transmission.

The S tronic comprises two subunits, with two multi-plate clutches controlling the
gears. The large K1 clutch located on the outside directs the torque via a solid shaft
to the gear wheels for gears 1, 3 and 5. A hollow shaft rotates around the solid shaft.
It is connected to the smaller K2 clutch, which is integrated inside its larger sibling,
and which acts on the gear wheels for gears 2, 4 and 6, as well as reverse.
Both transmission structures are continuously active, but only one of them is
connected to the engine at any one time. For example, when the driver accelerates
in third gear, the fourth gear is already engaged in the second transmission section.
Shifts are performed by switching the clutches. This takes just a few hundredths of a
second and happens so quickly and smoothly that it is barely perceptible.

S tronic can be operated using the short selector lever or with the optional paddles
on the steering wheel. It includes the modes D and S in addition to manual mode.
The driver can activate launch control at the push of a button. This manages starts
with controlled tire slip to deliver maximum engine power to the road.
quattro permanent all-wheel drive is an integral component of the powertrain. It
gives the new top model in the A3 series a decisive edge over its two-wheel-drive
competition. The Audi S3 can accelerate earlier and more safely when exiting a
corner. It remains dynamic and stable under all conditions, particularly in the rain
and snow.

The heart of the quattro drive system is an electronically controlled and
hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch. In the interest of balance axle load
distribution, it is located at the end of the prop shaft, in front of the rear axle

Inside is a package of plates that rotate in an oil bath. The metal friction rings are
arranged behind one another in pairs – one ring of each pair is rigidly meshed with
the housing, which rotates with the prop shaft; the other ring is meshed with the
output shaft to the rear axle differential.

During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the engine's power to the front
wheels. If traction decreases there, the clutch can transfer torque steplessly to the
rear axle in just a few milliseconds by forcing the packages of plates together via
controlled action. An axial piston pump generates the necessary pressure almost


The new Audi S3 offers the dynamic driving characteristics of a sports car. It
responds to steering input precisely and spontaneously, and takes all types of
corners at high speed and with little body movement. Its handling is precise, safe
and virtually neutral.

One reason for this performance is the finely balanced distribution of the axle loads.
The front axle has been shifted forward 52 millimeters (2.05 in) compared with the
previous model. The new 2.0 TFSI is 5 kilograms (11.02 lb) lighter than the previous
engine and is installed tilted backward by 12 degrees. This layout is a result of the
Group's modular transverse platform, on which the new Audi S3 is based.

The subframe, the pivot bearings in the McPherson front axle, the crash
management system, the front fenders and the engine hood are made of aluminum.
All together they save 17 kilograms (37.48 lb) of weight. The front wheel
suspension has a track width of 1,535 millimeters (60.43 in). A stabilizer bar is used
front and rear.

Another innovation in the Audi S3 is progressive steering. The steering rack is geared
in such a way that the ratio varies. It is somewhat more indirect around the center
and very direct when steered sharply. For the driver, this technology combines a
pleasantly smooth character when driving straight ahead with highly spontaneous
response in tight corners.

The powerful electric motor providing the servo boost harmonizes perfectly with the
character of the steering system, decreasing its output as speed increases. It
consumes no energy when driving straight ahead and thus reduces fuel consumption
by as much as 0.3 liters per 100 kilometers. The progressive steering works closely
together with various systems on board the new S3, such as the standard rest
recommendation and the optional Audi active lane assist and park assist systems.
The four-link rear suspension has a track width of 1,511 millimeters (59.49 in). Its
sword-shaped trailing links absorb the propulsion and braking forces. Their bearings
are large and relatively elastic in the interest of a more comfortable ride. On the
other hand, the three wishbones per wheel for absorbing lateral forces are attached
very rigidly to the steel subframe for improved handling. All of the bearings are
sportily taut compared with the A3.

The links of the rear axle are made of high-strength steels; the wheel carriers are
aluminum. The shock absorbers and the compact coil springs are separate from one
another, resulting in sensitive response and a high luggage capacity. The sport
suspension lowers the body by 25 millimeters (0.98 in) compared with the A3.
The new Audi S3 rolls on 7.5 J x 18 alloy wheels with 225/40-series tires. The wheels
sport an S-specific design with five parallel spokes. They are produced using
sophisticated flow forming technology, in which the outer rim is rolled out over a
cylinder at high pressure and high temperature. While the system is shaping the
wheel blank it is also strengthening the material, which allows for thinner wall
thicknesses – the wheel is lighter, yet stronger. Despite their dynamic performance,
the tires also feature low rolling resistance and thus contribute to the efficiency of
the Audi S3.

The brakes of the new S3 can be very precisely metered. The pedal feel is
spontaneous and firm. The front discs are internally vented and measure
340 millimeters (13.39 in) in diameter. The black brake calipers are emblazoned
with S3 logos. The new electromechanical parking brake, which the driver operates
via a button, is integrated into the rear axle brake system. The latest evolution of the
ESC electronic stabilization control intercedes very precisely.

Audi drive select comes standard in the new Audi S3. It incorporates the
characteristics of the electronic accelerator, the boost of the progressive steering
and the shift points of the optional S tronic. The driver determines with the push of a
button whether these systems operate in comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency or
individual mode. In individual mode (available with the MMI radio or above), drivers
can compose their own preferred profile within certain limits.

In efficiency mode, the function of the standard deluxe automatic air conditioning,
the cruise control or adaptive cruise control and the adaptive light is modified for
optimal fuel consumption. In this case, the S tronic switches to coasting mode when
the driver takes his or her foot off the gas pedal.

Another optional module integrated into Audi drive select is the electromagnetic
damper control system Audi magnetic ride. A synthetic hydrocarbon oil containing
microscopically small magnetic particles circulates within the damper pistons. When
a coil applies a voltage, the particles align perpendicular to the direction of flow of
the oil, impeding its flow through the channels in the pistons.

The control unit constantly analyzes the condition of the road and the driver's style,
repeatedly adapting the damper forces within milliseconds. The driver can choose
between three modes. The new S3 is balanced in normal mode and tightly connected
to the road in sport mode. Steering response becomes even more spontaneous, and
yaw movements are largely suppressed.


Ultra lightweight construction is an Audi core competence. The new S3 weighs no
more than 1,395 kilograms (3,075.45 lb), a value that is easily the best in its
competitive environment. Compared with the previous model, curb weight has been
reduced by 60 kilograms (132.28 lb). Thanks to hot-shaped, high-tech steels, the
body-in-white alone represents a weight saving of 28 kilograms (61.73 lb) over the
previous model. The large aluminum parts in the front section of the car round out
the lightweight construction concept.

The three-door body of the S3 is also very stiff, crash-safe and quiet.
A noiseinsulating windshield is standard. The coefficient of drag is just 0.33. The new Audi
S3 is 4,254 millimeters (13.96 ft) long, 1,777 millimeters (5.83 ft) wide and
1,435 millimeters (4.71 ft) tall. Its wheelbase measures 2,595 millimeters (8.51 ft),
17 millimeters (0.67 in) more than its predecessor.

Exterior design

The new Audi S3 has a firm and sporty road stance. Each element of the design is
precise and distinctive. The athletic sculpture with the low engine hood, the
characteristic tornado line below the windows and the sharply sloped C-pillars
stretch the body visually. Audi supplies xenon plus headlights with LED daytime
running lights as standard. The flat rear lights, into which the adaptive brake light is
integrated, are also fitted with light-emitting diodes.7/9
The xenon-based Audi adaptive light swivels into curves. It is also linked to the
navigation system and can be upgraded with special lighting functions of urban,
interurban and highway driving, as well as for intersections and tourist attractions.
When combined with the front-facing camera, the light-dark boundary of the
headlights is automatically and steplessly adjusted for substantially improved
visibility and safety.

A true first in the premium compact class are the optional LED headlights, which
previously have only been available in full-size models. The low beams are generated
in two free-form reflectors with a total of nine high-performance LED chips. Ten
high-performance LEDs in the matt aluminum trim provide the high beams.
Depending on the features chosen, the high beams are switched on automatically
and LED cornering lights illuminate tight corners. Interurban, highway and tourist
attraction lighting round out the lighting convenience functions. The all-weather
lights enhance safety in fog or snow.

The Audi S3 sports the S-specific single-frame grille as a symbol of uncompromised
sportiness. The frame has an aluminum-look finish, and the insert is matt platinum
gray. The horizontal double bars also shine in an aluminum-look finish. The newly
designed bumper features aluminum-look double ribs integrated into the lateral air
inlets. Pronounced edges frame the large air inlets with the high-gloss black
honeycomb inserts. Additional implied air openings are found toward the wheels.
When viewed from the side, the aluminum-look exterior mirrors and the pronounced
side sills catch the eye. The rear bumper has also been redesigned. The platinum
gray diffuser houses the exhaust system's four oval tailpipes, which sport chrome
tips. A large roof spoiler generates downforce on the rear axle.

S badges adorn the rear and the single-frame grille. Highlights among the 14 colors
available for the Audi S3 are the exclusive crystal-effect finishes Panther Black and
Estoril Blue.


The athletic design of the exterior carries over into the interior. A distinct arch
encircles the instrument panel; slim and low, the instrument panel appears to float
on the center console. Large, round air vents, the elegant control panel for the air
conditioning and the decorative inlays in matt brushed aluminum or a black 3D look
provide exquisite accents. The controls are clear and intuitive, as in every Audi. The
quality is unsurpassed and there is a generous amount of room. Luggage capacity is
365 liters (12.89 cu ft), which can be increased to 1,100 liters (38.85 cu ft) by
folding down the rear seats.8/9

The instrument dials are gray, the needles white. Another S-specific feature can be
found on the tachometer, which now includes a boost pressure indicator. The driver
information system with rest recommendation is standard; the power-retractable
on-board monitor (standard with the MMI radio and above) powers up to display a
special S3 screen when the ignition is turned. The optional leather multifunction
sport steering wheel has been redesigned with the flat-bottomed rim. In models
equipped with S tronic, it also has aluminum-look shift paddles. The pedals and
footrest are made of brushed aluminum.

The sport seats with the pull-out seat cushions are also a new development. The
seat coverings are one of three variants: In the first, the large side bolsters are
covered in Pearl Nappa leather while the seat center sections are covered in cloth.
The second is a combination of perforated Alcantara and Pearl Nappa leather. The
third variant is a mix of Velvet leather with Fine Nappa leather. Audi also offers
optional S sport seats with integrated head restraints and diamond quilting.
The interior of the S3, including the headlining, is in black with contrasting stitching.
The two-color Audi design selection in black/parade red is available as an option.
S logos adorn the door sill strips, the steering wheel, the gear/selector lever knob
and the instruments. The two-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning and the
storage package are standard in the Audi S3.


If desired, Audi equips the new S3 with all of the groundbreaking mobile
infotainment and driver assistance solutions available for the model series. Audi
connect is the name for a broad range of tailored online services that network
drivers with their surroundings and rapidly supply them with key information in an
easy-to-comprehend format.

Audi has designed a variety of infotainment elements for using the new services,
topped by MMI navigation plus with MMI touch. The high-end system boasts a
super-flat, power-retractable, seven-inch monitor and a new operating concept in
which MMI touch is integrated into the rotary pushbutton. The Audi Phone Box
connects cell phones to the vehicle in a convenient way, and the sound system from
Bang & Olufsen offers pure hi-fi enjoyment, with LED light guides accentuating the
woofers in the doors.

The assistance systems in the S3 come directly from the full-size class. The range
begins with adaptive cruise control, which when combined with the safety system
Audi pre sense front brings the car to a stop autonomously from speeds below
30 km/h (18.64 mph), and continues through Audi side assist, Audi active lane
assist and camera-based traffic sign recognition to the park assist system. There are
also a number of sporty and convenient options, including adaptive light (also with
variable headlight range control), the convenience key and the panoramic glass roof.
The Audi S3 will arrive at dealerships in early 2013. The base price in Germany is

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      America never gets nice things.
      Shahul X
      • 2 Years Ago
      Car will be here in 2014 as an s3 sedan
      Ron McCord
      • 2 Years Ago
      Looks wise we are missing nothing and arguably the 2013 gti will look as good or better. Now the Scirroco is another matter, frustrating to not see the A3 sedan yet in production form been a long wait
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron McCord
        The S3 sedan can stay theoretical, as far as I'm concerned.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd much rather have the same drivetrain in more special-looking sheetmetal. The A3 is an okay looking car, but it's fundamentally a pretty pedestrian, extremely conventional European family hatch, regardless of its wheels and body kit. It's the drivetrain that entices me, not the boring two-box form. If they built something with this drivetrain, but with the styling of the Sport Quattro concept, THEN I would be slitting my wrists for one.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man that interior is terrible, very unlike Audi, who usually excels at interior quality. The wheel's nice, but everything else screams cost-cutting and uninspired.
        • 2 Years Ago
        WHAT? that interior is someone who has owned and driven many Audis....the new A3 interior is definitely up to standards. Very much like the A3 Concept interior....inspired by the MK1 TT interior, which is one of the most beautiful and expensive (to produce) interiors ever put in a production car.
          • 2 Years Ago
          i think it is a step up even...very elegant and reduced to the max.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Sorry, but some folks might happen to disagree. In particular, the nav screen integration is really inelegant, and the MK1 TT interior was more restrained and better proportioned.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Really wish Audi would stop ignoring North America!
      • 2 Years Ago
      imho totaly booring car. has 300 hp, but nothing more.
      • 2 Years Ago
      We should get the S3 sedan, and the RS3, in the US. Probably not the next RS4 though. So it will be interesting to see how they differentiate the next A4 from the S3, and the RS3 from the S3.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      The design is nicely detailed, but it can't hide that massive front overhang. Proportions like that will never let it get over the econocar roots.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If it goes zero to sixty in 5.1, then the 34 mpg is questionable. As is the price.
        • 2 Years Ago
        How is it questionable if the MPG rating is for the highway only? You burn excessive amounts of fuel in a turbocharged application if your AFRs become fuel-rich (in order to keep the cylinders cool while boosting), which is what happens when you try to go from 0 - 60 in 5.1 seconds. Otherwise, if you're just cruising along at very low load, then it is possible to lean out your AFRs enough to get 34MPG. My 2010 MS3 can get 32 - 33MPG on the highway, it's not much of a stretch to imagine newer engines getting better mileage than my MZR series, even if the car in question is fulltime AWD.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Price is questionable? You must be new here. AB always posts these useless conversions. The car wouldn't actually cost $50k were it available here.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Euro prices work with higher market averages and include taxes in the bottom line, and their efficiency testing cycle is rather optimistic. Expect both cost and mpg to be lower if it makes it here. For a very rough estimate, drop 20% off each. Actual results vary widely, of course.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Type just one reason to hate Audi - really wish they'd stop depriving North America !
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