New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback & Saloon

New 2020 Audi S3 Sportback & Saloon

Audi has revealed the new 2020 Audi S3 range, based on the all-new A3 launched just last month. At 306bhp, it’s more powerful than before, and is available as a four-door saloon or a five-door ‘Sportback’ hatchback.

The S3 will take pride of place on top of the 2020 Audi A3 model range…at least until the new RS3 arrives next year. Prices start at £37,900 for the hatchback and £38,465 for the saloon, with the first customer deliveries beginning during the coming autumn.

The all-new Audi A3 already wears impressively sporty looks as standard, but the S3 adds to that with a large diffuser and four exhaust tips. Darkened headlights, a hexagonal grille mesh, bigger wheels, aluminium mirror caps and S3 badges also mark the car out as the current range-topper.

The starting price of around £400 more than the outgoing model will explain the generous list of standard equipment. Every Audi S3 gets LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, smartphone mirroring and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster. New driver assistance technology also features, including swerve assist and lane-departure warning.

Only one trim level will be available at launch on both the saloon and Sportback, but a fully kitted-out ‘Vorsprung’ specification is expected to arrive towards the end of the year. That is likely to feature matrix LED headlights, larger alloy wheels, an upgraded digital instrument cluster and additional safety tech such as adaptive cruise control and automated parking assistance. Prices are yet to be revealed for this model, but Audi usually puts a substantial price gap between Vorsprung trim and standard models.

The interior will be carried over from the new regular A3 range, so you can expect an eye-catching and hi-tech cabin. A central touchscreen and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dials – both measuring around 10 inches – will be fitted as standard, and the gear selector will be a small toggle switch similar to those found in the new Skoda Octavia vRS and Cupra Leon. Unlike the new Volkswagen Golf and its derivatives, the climate control functions will still be operated by physical buttons.

Over the standard A3, S3 versions will feature a sportier steering wheel design, while other touches like aluminium pedals and suede-like seat inserts also feature.

Like the outgoing S3, the new model will feature a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, which has been used across various VW Group performance models. It produces a healthy 306bhp which is a slight increase over the previous S3, and the top speed will be electronically limited to 155mph. Reassuring quattro all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox will again feature, giving the new model a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.8 seconds, regardless of body style.

Audi says the S3 offers great performance and cruising ability, enabled by adjusting the settings for the suspension, engine, gearbox and exhaust note. It means the car can be made quieter and more comfortable on long motorway journeys, with firmer and louder settings available for twisty and more entertaining back roads.

With regards to fuel economy, the official 39.2mpg is none too shabby given the performance on offer - although the 178g/km CO2 figure does mean that company-car drivers will face a top-tier Benefit-in-Kind liability of 37 per cent.

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By Wayne Gorrett

Wayne has been covering developments in the UK's automotive sector for over 10 years, providing news, reviews, first-drive impressions and opinion pieces for a number of print and web outlets in the UK and South Africa. A former marketing director, Wayne is based in a rural village near Winchester, Hampshire. You can follow him on Twitter: @WaynesWorldAuto Facebook: WaynesWorldAuto Instagram: WaynesWorldAuto