The new pricing sees the third-generation Audi S3 undercut its key premium hot-hatch rivals, the
$64,900 235kW/450Nm BMW M135i and the
$74,900 265kW/450Nm Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, the latter due to launch locally in September.
Powered by the same new turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine seen in the three-door S3 unveiled at the 2012 Paris motor show, the local Audi S3 Sportback's engine has been de-tuned from 221kW to 206kW due to Australia’s ‘hot climate’ classification. Torque remains unchanged at 380Nm.
Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system teams with the six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission to help the fastest Audi A3 Sportback variant reach 100km/h in a claimed 5.0 seconds. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.9 litres per 100km.
Both figures are increased slightly when the no-cost option of the six-speed manual transmission is fitted, with 5.4 seconds and 7.0L/100km the respective results. Top speed is electronically governed at 250km/h.
Regardless of gearbox selection, the 1445kg five-door S3 has the edge over its 188kW/330Nm, 70kg heavier, $71,200 predecessor rated at 5.6sec and 8.3L/100km (auto).
Standard equipment includes xenon plus headlights, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, park assist, front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
While the exterior gets an ‘S’-specific body kit, 25mm lower sports suspension, quad-tipped exhaust and 18-inch wheels, inside gains Nappa leather sport seats (heated front) and a leather-wrapped multi-function flat-bottom steering wheel.
Audi’s MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch is also included as is the Audi Music Interface with Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming.
An optional S performance package, priced at $4990, is also available for the S3 Sportback, adding LED headlights, Audi magnetic ride, Bang & Olufsen sound system and diamond-stitched Nappa leather ‘S’ sports seats. Alternate 18-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers complete the pack.