The Audi S3 Sportback is set to undercut its German hot-hatch rivals with a circa-$65K starting price when it launches locally in December.
Audi Australia today confirmed it will offer both six-speed manual and six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic versions of the third-generation high-performance small car priced from “around $65,000 to $70,000”.
At that price point, the Audi S3 Sportback appears set to enter the competitive market below the rear-wheel-drive BMW M135i ($68,400 manual, $72,400 automatic) and Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG ($74,900 dual-clutch only, from September). It will also come in below the existing S3 Sportback, which starts from $71,200.
The S3 Sportback will be joined a few months later in the first quarter of 2014 by the all-new Audi S3 sedan.
The Audi S3’s new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine produces 221kW of power and 380Nm of torque. Paired with the auto, it launches from 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds and consumes 6.9 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, while the manual takes an extra half-second to complete the sprint and consumes an extra tenth of fuel.
Launch control is standard, while the car’s top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.
The S3 Sportback sits on a sports suspension that makes it 25mm lower than a standard A3, and it is fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels and larger brakes.
Aluminium front guards and bonnet, and a 5kg lighter engine, contribute to a 70kg weight saving over the old S3 – to 1445kg.
Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the new S3 would carry a “similarly high level of specification compared to its predecessor”, but insisted the brand intended to “add even more value to the package”.
Full pricing and specification details will be revealed closer to the Audi S3 Sportback’s local launch at the end of this year.