2022 Audi S3

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AUDI’s sizzling new S3 has touched down in Australia almost two years behind its European rollout in May of 2020. Delays associated with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and semiconductor shortages meant the availability of the mid-tier sports model was curtailed, although, arguably, the wait has been worthwhile.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the S3 Sportback and sedan in Tasmania, Audi Australia product planner Peter Strudwicke said the home-ground debut of the new model was of critical importance to the Ingolstadt-based brand on the local market, where it has accounted for almost a quarter of A3 range sales.

“The S3 is a really important car for us because it’s brand new in the A3 range. We sold over 10,000 examples of the previous-generation car, so it’s done extremely well for us, and we expect similar numbers in this generation – a mix of around 25 per cent (of all A3 sales),” said Mr Strudwicke.

Priced from $69,900 (plus on-road costs), the fourth-generation S3 is $5700 dearer than the outgoing model, and is now more closely aligned with the entry price of its nearest competitors – the BMW M135i Pure (from $65,990, +ORCs) and the Mercedes-AMG A35 (from $71,576, plus ORCs).

The new model features a revised EA888-series engine which now develops 228kW and 400Nm, up 15kW and 20Nm on its predecessor, recalibrated seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, revised quattro all-wheel drive system, and faster-acting electro-hydraulic dampers in place of the outgoing model’s magnetic units.

Audi quotes a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 4.8 seconds for the new S3, with claimed fuel consumption figures of 7.4 litres/100km for the Sportback and 7.3L/100km for the slipperier sedan.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder mill under the S3’s bonnet develops a peak torque band that lasts from 2000-5450rpm and peak power that takes over from there until 6500rpm. The additional outputs were liberated by a reclassification of Australia’s climate by Audi’s Volkswagen Group parent company.

“The new S3 is up 15kW and 20Nm over the outgoing model so it’s a really strong, muscular engine. It’s also been refined over a number of generations to achieve good, solid fuel consumption figures,” added Mr Strudwicke.

“The new-generation electro-hydraulic adaptive dampers also have a lot more to offer drivers than was possible from the Magnetic Ride system of the previous generation. It has a broader bandwidth than before so it responds more quickly, as does the updated multi-plate clutch system at the rear to control the quattro all-wheel drive, and the progressive rate steering… It’s safe to say that everything has been upgraded.”

Riding on 15mm lower suspension and 19-inch alloy wheels in a five-spoke Y-arm design in matte titanium finish – or five double spokes in anthracite black for $300 extra – the S3 is fitted with 234/35 tyres. Stopping power comes from 340mm ventilated front brake rotors (with gloss red callipers) and 312mm rear discs. 

Inside, a redesigned dashboard houses a 10.1-inch touchscreen (powered by hardware packing ten times the computing power of the old unit) and a 15-speaker premium Bang & Olufsen sound system through which audio can be sourced from digital radio, Bluetooth or USB streaming via the Audi smartphone interface, or wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto connectivity.

Audi’s 12.3-inch customisable Virtual Cockpit digital instrument panel is now standard and includes a unique S Performance display format, as well as special layouts when Dynamic or Sport drive modes are selected.

The extra computing “horsepower” enables 3D navigation mapping with natural speech recognition, free text search (with predictive destination suggestions and pre-programming) via the myAudi or Google Maps smartphone apps plus live traffic, hazard, parking, fuel pricing and weather information.

A long list of safety and driver assistance equipment includes adaptive Matrix LED headlights, pedestrian and cyclist detection for the forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency braking system, lane-departure and lane-change warning, rear cross-traffic alert and assisted parking, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam and emergency assist, exit warning and tyre pressure monitoring.

Embedded online services enable remote car finding, remote lock/unlock, emergency calling and online roadside assist.

“We’ve added a few extra luxuries for the Australian market this time around, some nice details that we think increase the luxury of the model a little bit,” said Mr Strudwicke.

“There’s contrast stitching on the dashboard and the door armrests, fine Nappa leather upholstery, LED ambient lighting, a perforated steering wheel, and metal-faced pedals.”

A moderately larger cabin provides S3 occupants with a bit more elbow room, while lower positioned front seats add to this variant’s sporty theme. The S3 is further differentiated over its donor model by stainless steel pedals, S emblem on the seats and ‘wheel – the latter with paddle-shifters – as well as dark aluminium trim highlights, an anthracite colour scheme with contrast stitching and 30-colour ambient lighting.

The redesigned front sports seats include heating and four-way electric lumbar support adjustment and in terms of practicality, the Sportback variant is said to provides a 325-litre load-bay capacity. When the 5-door’s 40:20:40 split-folding rear-seat backrests are folded the load volume balloons to a claimed 1145 litres.

Like all new Audi passenger vehicles, the S3 Sportback and sedan are backed by a five-year warranty and a pre-paid five-year servicing plan will cost buyers an additional $2580.

Mr Strudwicke said the S3 remained one of the best value and most exciting Audi Sport models available, and said the range would be further bolstered by the upcoming addition of the fire-breathing RS3.

“And that’s not the end of the story, because around mid-year we’ve got the RS3 coming, and that’s something we’re all looking forward to,” he concluded.

The Audi A3 and S3 ranges are available now.

2022 Audi S3 pricing*:

Sportback        $69,900    (+$5700)
Sedan            $72,400    (+$6600)

*Pricing excludes on-road costs.

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