Audi is sharpening its knives in the premium hot hatch segment

Created to do battle against the likes of BMW M135i, Mercedes-AMG A45, and to some extent, the VW Golf R, Audi’s squeaky-new S3 Sportback (and Sedan) debuts two decades after the original S3 hit the shelves. And we like what we’re seeing.

  • 2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    305
  • Torque @ RPM:
    295
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.6 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

What powers the Audi S3?

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927850
We’ll start with the juicy stuff. Regardless of what body shape you pic - Sportback or Sedan - your poison will be a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-pot with 310 PS (228 kW, 305 horsepower) and 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of torque.

That’s an increase of five horsepower over the previous model, while torque remains untouched.

Routing these resources to all four wheels is Audi’s seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive, with a little bit of help from a hydraulic multi-plate clutch positioned in front of the rear axle.

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927821

Whether it’s the Sedan or the Sportback you look at, they both need 4.8 seconds to zap from 0 to 100 kph (0-62 mph) an on to a top speed of 250 kph (155 mph).

Audi S3 specifications
Engine 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower 305 HP
Torque 295 LB-FT
Transmission seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch
0 to 62 mph 4.8 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

How does the S3 fare against the competition?

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927828

The Audi S3’s main rivals are the Mercedes-AMG A45, the BMW M135i, and the Volkswagen Golf R. As things stand right now, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 makes 416 horsepower and 369 pound-feet, the M135i is good for 302 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist, while the Golf R produces 288 horsepower and 280 pound-feet.

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927835

Translated into street performance, the 0-60 sprint times look like this on paper:

Audi S3: 4.6 seconds (est)
Mercedes-AMG A45: 3.7 seconds (est)
BMW M135i: 4.5 seconds (est)
VW Golf R: 4.5 seconds

While in terms of top speed, we’ve got complete equality:

Audi S3: 155 mph
Mercedes-AMG A45: 155 mph
BMW M135i: 155 mph
VW Golf R: 155 mph
2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927845

Other mechanical tweaks include a lowered suspension (by 0.6 inches), the option of having the S sport suspension with damper control, a new electric brake booster, ventilated discs on all four corners, black (or red, optional) calipers, as well as 18-inch wheels (upgradable to 19-inch ones).

How is the Audi S3 different from the regular A3 design-wise?

left right

To be completely honest, the new Audi S3’s design is quite similar to the S-line version of the standard A3, except some blackened out bits and bobs and the S badge on the front Singleframe grille - which also gets a more detailed, albeit chunkier hexagonal mesh pattern. In the rear, the visual package is completed by four exhaust tailpipes and a race-style diffuser.

On top of these bits and bobs, customers can also specify matrix LED headlights.

OK, but what’s it like on the inside?

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan
- image 927796

Well, nothing changes from the regular A3 expect for nifty little details and S badges that let you know you’re inside the baddest A3 of them all - aluminum, carbon fiber, and sport seats with upholstery crafted out of recycled PET bottles with the compulsory contrasting stitching.

On the cargo space front, the S3 Sportback still offers 325 liters (1,145 with the rear seats folded down), which translates to 11.5 cubic feet and 40.4 cubic feet, respectively. The S3 Sedan ups the ante with 370 liters worth of cargo space (13.1 cubic feet).

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan
- image 927806
Tech-wise, the standard offering is a 10.25 multimedia screen, but you can go up the ladder with the Audi virtual cockpit and the plus version, which mates two 12.3-inch screens.

Ambient lighting is also on the table, as is smartphone connectivity compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

How much will I have to pay for one?

2021 Audi S3 Sportback and Sedan Exterior
- image 927849

We can’t give you U.S. prices yet, but in Germany, the 2020 Audi S3 Sportback starts at €46,302 ($54,800, roughly), while the Sedan will set you back €47,179 (around $55,800).

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
About the author

More Dynamic, More Power, More Driving Pleasure:
The Audi S3 Sportback and the Audi S3 Sedan
 Powerful 2.0 TFSI engine with 228 kW (310 PS) of output and 400 Nm
(295.0 lb-ft) of torque
 Seven-speed S tronic, S-specific sport suspension, and quattro all-wheel drive
as standard
 Driver-focused cockpit, technology from the full-size class
 Limited-edition model in Python Yellow or Tango Red
Ingolstadt, August 11th, 2020 – A good 20 years ago, Audi opened up the sporty premium
compact market segment with the first S3**. Now the brand is presenting the new
generation – an S3 Sportback** and an S3 Sedan**. Its 2.0 TFSI engine produces 228 kW
(310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque. Both models (S3 Sportback:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.4* (31.8 US mpg*); Combined CO2 emissions
in g/km: 170–169* (273.6–272.0 g/mi*); S3 Sedan: Combined fuel consumption in l/100
km: 7.3–7.2* (32.2–32.7 US mpg*); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 166–165* (267.2–
265.5 g/mi*)) accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds. A seven-speed
S tronic, the quattro drive with intelligent control, and an S-specific sport suspension with
optional damper control deliver the power to the road effortlessly. A number of other new
features – including the operating concept, infotainment, and assist systems – round off the
high-tech character of the S3 models**.
Characteristic design and lighting
The new S3 models** display their dynamic character from the very first glance. The front
is dominated by the Singleframe with its large rhombus-patterned grille and impressive air
inlets, while the housings of the exterior mirrors have a gleaming aluminum look. The shoulder
of the body extends in a strong line from the headlights to the rear lights. The areas below are
curved inward – a new element of Audi’s design that places a stronger emphasis on the wheel
arches.
Product and Technology Communications
Julia Winkler
Phone: +49 841 89 44904
Email: julia.winkler@audi.de
www.audi-mediacenter.com
Product and Technology Communications
Tobias Söllner
Phone: +49 841 89 36188
Email: tobias.soellner@audi.de
www.audi-mediacenter.com
Audi
MediaInfo
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany.
Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.
* Information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as efficiency classes in ranges depending
on the tires and alloy wheel rims used.
** The collective fuel consumption values of all models named and available on the German market can
be found in the list provided at the end of this MediaInfo.
2/5
The new S3 Sportback** and the S3 Sedan** can be fitted with matrix LED headlights on
request. Their digital daytime running lights consist of a pixel array made up of 15 LED
segments, ten of which form two vertical lines. At the rear end, the large diffuser and the
four exhaust tailpipes accentuate the sporty look.
Powerful drive
With 228 kW (310 PS) of power and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of torque, the new S3 models**
are powered by the 2.0 TFSI engine (S3 Sportback: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km:
7.4* (31.8 US mpg*); Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 170–169* (273.6–272.0 g/mi*);
S3 Sedan: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.3–7.2* (32.2–32.7 US mpg*); Combined
CO2 emissions in g/km: 166–165* (267.2–265.5 g/mi*)). High-tech features like the Audi
valvelift system (AVS) – which adjusts the lift of the intake valves as required – mean that
the combustion chambers are well filled, while thermal management helps to ensure high
efficiency. Both models** accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.8 seconds on the
way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155.3 mph). The driver can use the
standard series Audi drive select system to make the sound of the powerful four-cylinder turbo
engine even crisper.
The seven-speed S tronic with lightning-fast gear shifts and freewheeling function and the
quattro all-wheel drive deliver the torque to the road. The hydraulic multi-plate clutch in
front of the rear axle is fully variable and moves between the front and the back as required,
combining dynamic performance with stability and efficiency. It is managed by the modular
dynamic handling control – a new system that closely links the quattro drive to the Electronic
Stabilization Control (ESC) and the controlled dampers that are available optionally.
Dynamic suspension
With its four-link rear axle and progressive steering, the standard suspension offers everything
that is required for pleasurable driving. It lowers the body by 15 millimeters (0.6 in). Audi can
also install the series S sport suspension with damper control on request. Valves control the oil
flow in the dampers so that they adapt to the condition of the road, the driving situation, and
the driver’s requests in an individual and ongoing in a few thousandths of a second. The spread
between comfort and dynamism is even wider than for the predecessor model.
The new electric brake booster ensures strong and spontaneous deceleration. All four brake
disks are internally ventilated. The brake calipers come in black as standard, with red offered
as an option. The S3 models** come with 18-inch wheels as standard, with 19-inch wheels
available optionally.
Generous space concept
Compared with their predecessors, the new S3 models** have grown in size: The Sportback**
and the Sedan** are three centimeters (1.2 in) and four centimeters (1.6 in) longer
respectively, while both models are three centimeters (1.2 in) wider.
Audi
MediaInfo
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany.
Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.
* Information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as efficiency classes in ranges depending
on the tires and alloy wheel rims used.
** The collective fuel consumption values of all models named and available on the German market can
be found in the list provided at the end of this MediaInfo.
3/5
The five-door car is now 4.34 meters (14.2 ft) in length, while the four-door is 4.50 meters
(14.8 ft) long. Other than minimal differences, the two body variants are identical in terms of
width (1.82 m (6.0 ft)), height (1.43 m (4.7 ft)) and wheelbase (2.64 m (8.7 ft)). The interior
offers greater shoulder room and elbow room. The luggage compartment of the S3 Sportback
holds between 325 and 1,145 liters (11.5–40.4 cu ft) depending on the position of the rear
bench seat, while the Sedan has a capacity of 370 liters (13.1 cu ft).
Sporty interior
The strikingly sporty design of the new S3 models** continues on the inside – with the new,
compact shifter for the seven-speed S tronic and decorative aluminum or carbon inlays whose
design evokes the cut of the headlights. The cockpit is focused on the driver. The distinctive air
vents form a single unit with the instrument cover, underlining the sporty character. A 10.25-
inch digital display is offered as standard. Alternatively, the Audi virtual cockpit and its “plus”
version can be selected. Both have a 12.3-inch diagonal, with the latter also offering three
different screens. The optional ambient lighting package plus delivers targeted lighting effects
in the dark. The sport seats have been newly developed, and their standard series upholstery
is largely made from recycled PET bottles, accentuated by stylish contrasting stitching.
In the middle of the instrument panel is a 10.1-inch touch display embedded in a large black
panel. It recognizes letters entered by hand and provides acoustic feedback. As an additional
operating level, the infotainment can also be voice-controlled using natural language as
standard. Audi also supplies a head-up display as an option.
A new generation of infotainment
The MMI operating concept of the new S3 models** is powered by the third generation
modular infotainment platform (MIB 3). Its computing power is ten times higher than that of
its predecessor, it performs all tasks relating to connectivity with LTE Advanced speed, and it
has an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot. Route guidance is flexible and accurate. Navigation offers
predictions on the development of the traffic situation, high-resolution satellite images from
Google Earth, and information about the traffic flow. Individual settings, such as frequently
selected destinations or air conditioning preferences, can be stored in up to six user profiles.
The Audi connect online services also include car-to-X services, which help with finding
available parking spots on the roadside or allow the driver to surf the green wave by
communicating with traffic lights in cities like Düsseldorf and Ingolstadt. Connectivity between
the new Audi S3** and the user’s smartphone is free of charge via the myAudi app, as well as
via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the Audi phone box – which links the device to the
vehicle’s antenna and charges it inductively.
Audi
MediaInfo
The equipment, data and prices specified in this document refer to the model range offered in Germany.
Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.
* Information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as well as efficiency classes in ranges depending
on the tires and alloy wheel rims used.
** The collective fuel consumption values of all models named and available on the German market can
be found in the list provided at the end of this MediaInfo.
4/5
Another feature is the Audi connect key, which authorizes the customer to lock and unlock
the car and start the engine via their Android smartphone. For HiFi fans, the Bang & Olufsen
premium sound system with 3D sound delivers a particularly spatial soundscape.
Helpful driver assist systems
The driver assist systems in the new S3 models** also demonstrate Audi’s technical expertise.
Audi pre sense front, swerve assist with turn assist, and lane departure warning all have the
potential to prevent accidents and are included as standard. Further assist systems, such as
lane change and exit warnings as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, are available
optionally. The adaptive cruise assist helps with longitudinal and lateral guidance. It maintains
the speed and distance to the vehicle in front and assists with lane guidance by means of
gentle interventions in the steering. The efficiency assist supports an economic driving style.
Scheduled: Market launch and prices
Presales of the new compact S3 models** start in many European countries in August 2020,
with the first vehicles being delivered to dealers from beginning of October. In Germany, prices
for the S3 Sportback start at €46,302,53, while the S3 Sedan is listed at €47,179,83. The
market launch is accompanied by the limited “Edition one.” It comes in Python Yellow
(Sportback) or Tango Red (Sedan) paint finishes with black accents and has 19-inch wheels,
and fine Nappa leather sport seats.
Fuel consumption of the models named
Information on fuel/electricity consumption and CO2 emissions in ranges depending on the
equipment and accessories of the car
Audi S3 Sportback
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.4* (31.8 US mpg*)
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 170–169* (273.6–272.0 g/mi*)
Audi S3 Sedan
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.3–7.2* (32.2–32.7 US mpg*)
Combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 166–165* (267.2–265.5 g/mi*))

Press release

Related Articles

2021 Audi A3

2017 Audi S3

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: