2022 Audi S3 Sedan and Sportback First Look: Anonymous No More?

UPDATE: Audi has confirmed a few things about the U.S.-spec S3 that we suspected earlier. For one, the Sportback isn’t coming—no surprise there. And the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will be the only transmission option for the standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It also seems like the striking Python Yellow exterior paint seen on the “Edition One” Sportback will come here in some form. However, we don’t have official power figures for the U.S. model, nor do we have pricing or an on-sale date quite yet. We’ll update this post further when we have those.

The outgoing Audi S3’s understated appearance doesn’t quite match its strong power output and hearty exhaust note, but that all is fixed now that Audi has given the sporty compact a makeover. It will no longer be such an outward wallflower. With a full redesign, Audi has equipped the S3 with a more memorable exterior design to go with its even greater power.

Dominating the new S3’s front end is a more assertive grille flanked by large air inlets. The updated headlights, available in matrix LED form, are connected by a thin vent stretches its way across the nose just above the grille. The new side profile reveals more fluid character lines running across the previously amorphous body sides. In the rear, you’ll find new taillights and a familiar quad exhaust setup. Early in the new S3’s run, there will be special “Edition One” models with black-painted accents as well as a Python Yellow exterior for Sportback models and a Tango Red exterior for sedan models.

Once again, the Audi S3 comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But instead of making 288 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the engine now produces 306 ponies and 295 lb-ft of twist. The mill pairs to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which routes power to all four wheels via quattro all-wheel drive. According to Audi, the powertrain is enough to propel the S3 from 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. The compact also is equipped with a standard S sport suspension that lowers the body 0.6 inch under the regular A3.

Both the Sportback (which we likely won’t get here in the U.S.) and the sedan (which we assuredly will) have grown compared to their predecessors. They are each 1.2 inches wider than before. In terms of length, the Sportback has gotten 1.2 inches bigger and the sedan has increased 1.6 inches. Inside the cabin, the Sportback provides up to 40.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. The sedan now offers 13.1 cubic feet of space in the trunk; compare that to the 10 cubic feet available on the current U.S.-market S3.

But the first thing you’ll notice inside the S3 is its new cockpit technology. In the center of the dashboard is a 10.1-inch touch display with natural language processing. Buyers can choose between a 10.25-inch instrument display or the larger Audi virtual cockpit. A head-up display is likewise optional. The new S3 makes use of Audi’s latest-generation infotainment platform that boasts 10 times the computing power of its predecessor. Additionally, a new shifter takes up less space than the traditional gear stalk of past models. Audi tops off the interior design with a choice of aluminum or carbon inlays, as well as available fine Nappa leather seats.

Audi hasn’t released yet U.S.-spec information on the S3, but we expect the updates to carry over to our market. Again, since the U.S. currently is offered only the S3 sedan, we don’t expect to see the Sportback on our shores anytime soon. Prices for the new S3 sedan may very well start above the current going rate of $43,995, though final details and timing are forthcoming. The Audi S3 arrives in Europe this October before making its way to other markets later.

This post originally published on August 11, 2020.

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