Audi S3 And A3 Sportback
(Friday 21 September 2012)
The latest high-performance Audi A3 derivative is just over a week away from making its first official appearance at the Paris Show. Bearing the S3 name which has traditionally been used for cars of this sort, the new model is the most powerful of the bunch so far, with a maximum output of 296bhp from its new two-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine.
The effect of this varies depending on whether you choose manual transmission or the S tronic twin-clutch semi-automatic. With the former, the S3 has a 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds, combined fuel economy of 40.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 162g/km. The S tronic is better in all three respects, with figures of 5.1 seconds, 40.9mpg and 159g/km respectively.
Regardless of the gearbox, drive is transferred to the road through all four wheels, and the top speed is limited to 155mph.
The S3 will be available to order in the UK later this year (pricing and specification will be confirmed nearer the time), and first deliveries are due "in early 2013".
A closely-related car also making its debut at Paris is the A3 Sportback, an estate version of the hatchback which is just arriving on the UK market.
There have been A3 Sportbacks before, but none as practical as this one. Thanks to the use of the highly adjustable MQB platform on which the A3 (and many forthcoming Volkswagen Group products) is based, this is the first Sportback to have a longer wheelbase than the hatch, allowing for a luggage capacity of 1220 litres when the rear seats are folded down.
Costing £625 more than the hatch, the Sportback will be offered initially with a choice of three engines, two petrol and one diesel, but many more will follow, including a 1.6 TDI diesel which gives the car a CO2 rating of 99g/km and renders it exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty and the London congestion charge.
UK dealers are accepting orders now, and customer deliveries will start in March next year.