Unveiled in Europe last March, we finally know exactly what Americans can expect from the new, fourth-generation A3 and S3.
Sold exclusively as a sedan in the U.S. and Canada, the new A3 will start at just $33,900 for the front-wheel-drive A3 Sedan 40 TFSI Premium and prices will rise to an MSRP of $43,200 for the all-wheel-drive A3 Sedan 40 TFSI Quattro. The S3, meanwhile, starts at $44,900 for the Premium trim and the highest MSRP you can get is on the Prestige trim, which starts at $51,500.
Two Liters Of Fury
No matter which you get, the car will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four under the hood. It makes 201 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque in the A3 and 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque in the hopped-up S3, which is an increase of 18 horses and 15 lb-ft over the outgoing S3.
Both the 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and the 48-volt mild-hybrid system are standard on the A3. That combination is good for a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds in the S3. Bigger brake discs (14.1-inches up front) that are internally ventilated, help the sporty car slow down more impressively, too.
A new S sport suspension with damper control will help the S3 perform even better and thanks to adaptable oil flow settings, the ride handling will be more adjustable. That combines with a 15mm (0.6-inch) ride height lowering to make the S3 look even more menacing than the A3. Either way, the new A3/S3 is 0.8-inches wider and 1.6-inches longer than the outgoing model.
Inside, the new A3 gets a standard panoramic sunroof and standard leather seating surfaces with contrast stitching and new color options: Santos Brown with Steel Grey stitching and Parchment Beige with Steel Grey stitching. The S3, meanwhile, will get newly developed S sport seats that are heated, adjust in eight directions, and are available in diamond-stitched Fine Nappa leather. To further differentiate it from the standard A3, the S3 also gets Carbon atlas structure inlays.
Audi says it has pointed the 10.1-inch infotainment screen toward the driver to help them access the touchscreen more easily. A standard 10.25-inch (optional 12.3-inch) digital instrument cluster will keep all the important information clear and configurable. Standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, meanwhile, will keep occupants well-served in terms of infotainment.
Subscriptions And Safety
Now that the A3 has the latest infotainment technology, it will also be available with “Function on Demand.” That will allow buyers to sign up for improved navigation and traffic sign recognition technology. Although pricing for the A3’s version of the tech has not yet been revealed, the same feature goes for $85/month on the vehicles like the A4.
As for safety technology, the new A3 will come standard with pre sense basic and front, which helps avoid or prepare for an imminent impact; standard high beam assist; and lane departure warning. Available are pre sense rear, which does the same as the other two pre senses but at the back bumper; blind-spot monitoring; Parking system plus, which gives you an audio cue when you get too close to something; automated parallel parking; rear cross-traffic alert to help you when you’re backing out of a spot; and adaptive cruise control.
The new A3/S3 will be available at dealerships this year. Separately, Audi also confirmed that the new RS3 would again feature the 5-cylinder engine that brought the outgoing RS3 and TT RS to such prominence. It will go on sale in the U.S. next year.
Note: European specification model pictured