Audi S3 Could Get Manual Transmission in the U.S.
There appears to be hope that Audi is strongly considering a manual transmission option for an upcoming S3. The news comes by way of Fouritude, an Audi-enthusiast website, that attended a celebratory dinner held in honor the Audi Club of North America’s recent 30th anniversary. Speaking at the event were several personalities that included Allan McNish, John Hindhaugh, and Audi of America President Scott Keogh.
During the event, Hindhaugh, the famous Le Mans radio announcer, interviewed Keogh on stage. Hindhaugh asked specifically about manual transmissions in Audi’s future. Keogh began by laying out the costs associated with adding model complexity and how that affects vehicle cost and dealership availability. Nevertheless, Keogh says Audi is looking very closely at adding a manual transmission to the S3.
At this point, it’s not set in stone, but the possibility is still present.
Adding more to the mix of possibilities is the RS3 sedan. Keogh continued the same speak about Audi North America looking strongly at it. However, this isn’t the first time Keogh has mentioned the RS3 sedan. He said similar words back at the 2014 New York Auto Show, leading us to believe the RS3 might already be in development. Perhaps it will come with a manual transmission.
While both of these scenarios are still just rumors, the fact the president of Audi North America is talking about the subject with more than some “we don’t talk about future products” garble is promising.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi S3.
Why it matters
Manual transmissions are a dwindling breed; less and less vehicles come with a stick or even the option of a stick. Sadly,that includes high-performance sports cars as well. While dual-clutch flap-paddle gearboxes of today shift much faster than even the best driver with sweet clutch skills, the automatic looses some of that connection a driver has with the car. Hopefully Audi will restore this with a manual in the S3.
Even more exciting is the possibility of an RS3, a hyped-up version of the already-sporty S3. An RS3 would provide great competition against the BMW M3, so hopefully Audi’s bean counters will allow the build to happen.
The S3 is Audi’s sportier version of its popular A3 sedan. Built as a compact luxury car, the A3 checks all the boxes except for the one labeled “next-level performance.” That’s where the S3 comes in.
It’s powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged engine putting out 296 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 comes in a quick 4.9 seconds and its top speed is limited to a very German 155 mph. Even with the extra power, the S3 still returns a combined fuel-economy rating of 34 mpg.
Pricing for the S3 starts at $41,100 and goes north with options.