Audi S3 Sportback Unveiled

19 February 2013

The five-door Sportback version of the premium hot hatchback Audi S3 has been officially unveiled. Slightly longer than the three-door S3 with an extended wheelbase to house its two extra doors, the Audi S3 Sportback gets the same 221 kW and 380 Nm thumping heart beneath its neatly folded bonnet.

Those numbers place the new S3 just 30 kW and 70 Nm shy of last year’s power-crazed Audi RS3 Sportback. The new Audi S3 Sportback promises to combine some rather serious performance with added family practicality to the VW Groups MQB (Golf/A3) platform underpinnings.

Replacing the boosted EA113 motor in the old Audi S3 model, this substantial power figure is achieved thanks to tweaks to the VW Group’s venerable TFSI EA888 2.0-litre engine. The only thing in common with its predecessor is a displacement and the Audi S3 can now boast about 26 kW more power and 30 Nm than it did previously.

The power and exemplary efficiency come from developments like dual injection through the Audi Valvelift system and an exhaust manifold integrated within the cylinder head to optimise thermal management. The engine itself is 5 kg lighter than in the previous Audi S3.

In terms of performance, the S3 will now get to from zero to 100 km/h 0.6 seconds faster, completing the task in five seconds flat if the car is fitted with the optional S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox. According to Audi, the standard manual is half a second slower to 100 km/h. That’s quite a substantial difference.

As is always the way with an improved model, the fuel economy sees a significant improvement as well, with it now averaging 6.9 L/100 km. Despite the power hike, the more efficient engine, 70 kg lighter weight and redesigned Quattro all-wheel drive system amounts to a 18% reduction in consumption and emissions.

Compared to a standard A3 Sportback, the S3 gets 25 mm lowered sport suspension, revised steering, larger brake discs all around and lightweight 18-inch wheels. Audi drive select comes as standard and it can tailor the throttle response, shift pattern and steering assistance when paired with the optional Audi magnetic variable damper ride system.

Much like the beefed up grille, bumpers, side sills, aluminium wing mirrors, S3 badges and four exhaust pipes you’ll find on a three-door Audi S3, the S3 Sportback is easily distinguishable from a standard A3; the only thing exclusive to the S3 Sportback are the practical roof rails.