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New Audi S3 2021 review Audi S3 Sportback what’s it like on the road

Audi S3 Sportback 2021 review

The new Audi S3 Sportback joins the standard hatch in the line-up, how it looks on the road


Audi S3 Sportback 2021 review

 

This week, the all-new Audi S3 Sportback enjoyed its launch, and we just can't bring ourselves to hate it. You see, a top-end Audi Sport model is pretentious, as an RS6 or R8 costs Porsche or even McLaren money. But the Audi S3 has always been aspirational, the kind of car a young driver can hope to one day have. And the toys they fit onto this hot hatch are always what make it interesting

the new Audi S3 is pretty cool, definitely a rival for the Mercedes-AMG A 35 or the BMW M135i. The highlight of his video is the performance test, where the quattro hatch is timed at 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.4 seconds (or less) and 12.82 seconds over the quarter-mile


New Audi S3 Sportback features

This is the new Audi S3, one of two hot A3 models on the way (the five-cylinder RS 3 is due in 2021) and the company’s answer to the Mercedes-AMG A 35, the latest BMW M135i and the upcoming Volkswagen Golf R


the Audi S3 still retains a position at the very top end of the hot hatchback performance ladder, without skirting too close to the 400bhp-plus now put out by super-hatches such as the Mercedes-AMG A 45 and likely the next RS 3. It’s an exercise in evolution, not just in terms of how it looks, but also under the skin

That’s because despite this being a new-generation 2021 Audi S3, dramatic changes really are few are far between. It uses the same platform, engine and gearbox as its predecessor, with only minor changes alongside revised suspension and steering. The end result is that while the original S3 was a bit of a pioneer back in 1999, the specification of the 2020 car doesn’t exactly jump off the page


Audi S3


The power and performance of the Audi S3 Sportback

Power is up, but only by 10bhp to 306bhp. Torque has increased, too, now standing at 400Nm. As always, there’s quattro four-wheel drive, and power gets to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with paddles on the steering wheel for driver input; there’s no proper manual gearbox available. The result is 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds, which matches the outgoing car, while top speed remains electronically limited to 155mph


The S3 rides 15mm lower than the regular A3 on its standard passive suspension set-up, but high-spec cars such as the Edition One driven here – more or less equivalent to range-topping Vorsprung models in the UK – are fitted with adaptive dampers


One new feature under the skin of the new Audi S3 is what Audi calls Modular Dynamic Handling Control. It’s a computerised management system that links the traction control set-up, torque distribution (which can be distributed fully to the front or rear axles) and adaptive dampers together so that they work in harmony. The end result is an S3 that’s ever so slightly more resolved than the last one, but you have to look hard for differences



The level of performance is well within the sweet spot of what you can realistically extract on the road. It’s pacey; the S3 surges forward with only a hint of turbo lag as the engine revs cleanly to 6,500rpm, and in Dynamic mode there’s a new engine note


The Audi S3 has turned to the dark art of sound actuation through the speakers, but rather than trying to boost the four-cylinder noise, the fake sound piped into the cabin is a five-cylinder note at the top end. It’s eerily convincing, but also odd when you remember that four cylinders reside under the bonnet. Keep things in Comfort and it defaults back to a familiar four-cylinder thrum that’s quieter for motorway cruising