Audi's new A3 range is picking up steam, with the new Sportback model joining the recently-revealed three-door style this week.
Now, Audi has pulled the sheets from the range's new flagship (for now), the three-door S3 hero. However, as with the current range, Australian buyers will be limited to the five-door Sportback model.
Powered by a 2.0 litre TFSI four-cylinder engine, which Audi promises is an all-new beast, the new S3 delivers a hefty 221kW and 380Nm of torque - a massive leap from the old model's 195kW and 350Nm (in overseas markets).
The new engine's output is also a good bit greater than the predictions of reports earlier this year, which had suggested a figure closer to 210kW.
The new engine, along with the lightened new A3 body, gives the 2013 S3 a 0-100km/h time of 5.1 seconds with the S tronic auto - down from 5.5 seconds in the predecessor - and not far off the 4.6 second sprint of the RS 3 flagship.
Owners with a preference for rowing their own gears are promises a 5.4-second run with the six-speed manual transmission.
Fuel consumption for the new engine is also improved, falling to 6.9 l/100km with the auto and 7.0 l/100km with the manual. That's compared to 8.3 and 8.5 l/100km for the outgoing S3.
Among the new engine's features is a new indirect injection system, supplementing the FSI direct injection at part load, reducing consumption and emissions. FSI injection is used only in starting the car, and at higher loads.
The new engine weighs in at 148kg, making it around 5kg lighter than its predecessor. In all, the new S3 has shed 60kg, with the new model listing a kerb weight of 1395kg. Audi credits the savings to new steel-shaping methods and a greater use of aluminium.
The new A3's chassis has also come in for the usual tweaks, gaining 25mm-lower sports suspension, bigger brakes and the option of electromagnetic damper control.
On the styling front, there's a new S-specific grille, along with new bumpers and skirts and big new 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/40 rubber.
In the cabin, there's Audi's flat-bottomed steering wheel, satin brushed aluminium highlights, sports seats - with optional diamond quilting - and S badging throughout.
Speaking with TMR today, Audi Australia's Anna Burgdorf said that while timing is still to be confirmed, the local S3 line-up will stick with the five-door Sportback version - which is still to be revealed.
Expect the A3 Sportback to be unveiled in the coming months, with an Australian debut - we reckon - likely to occur late in 2013.
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