Audi will reveal a new and more powerful S3 hot hatch at next week's Paris Motor Show. The hot hatch will open UK orders near the end of 2012.
The first images of the three-door model have been revealed just a day after Audi confirmed a new A3 five-door Sportback would be displayed in Paris as well.
Get a FREE AUDI Brochure
Looking for a new car then why not start with a glossy AUDI brochure
The S3 model will boast an attention-grabbing 296bhp provided from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. The hot hatch now has about 35bhp more than the previous S3 boasted from a similar 2.0-litre engine.
The new engine can be connected with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or Audi's S Tronic direct-shift gearbox.
With the manual gearbox the new Audi S3 will cover the 0-62mph sprint in 5.4 seconds, but this time is reduced to 5.1 seconds with the direct-shift gearbox. With either transmission the top speed is electronically restricted to 155mph.
With this engine output and performance figures, the Audi S3 will be one of the quickest and most powerful modern hot hatches on the market.
How does it compare to rivals?
The S3 outperforms virtually all of its 2.0-litre rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf R and the Vauxhall Astra VXR, which produce 266bhp and 276bhp respectively. Both rival hot hatches also have a limited top speed of 155mph, like the S3, but their 0-62mph times fall behind. The Golf R covers the sprint in 5.7 seconds, the Astra VXR in 5.9 seconds.
Design and equipment
Looking past the more powerful engine and improved performance figures, the new Audi S3 also has a larger and lighter body. The car is reported to way 60kg less than the previous S3, a move which has contributed to the improved 0-62mph sprint time and which also benefits the fuel economy and CO2 emissions output.
At the same time though the new S3 is slightly larger than its predecessor, meaning a little more cabin space for passengers inside.
In terms of styling, little has noticeably changed compared to the new and previous S3. The new hot hatch does now boast LED daytime running lights as standard though. Other subtle changes include larger front air intakes, four oval exhausts in the rear diffuser and a larger rear spoiler.
Inside the changes are also subtle but include new sport seats finished in either Alcantara cloth or Nappa leather.
The new S3 hot hatch along with the more conservative A3 Sportback will go on sale next year. Prices for the S3 are unclear at the moment, but reports suggest it could start from £30,000.
You can watch our sneak preview of the Audi S3 in Paris with
Written by Stephen Goldasz