Next-generation performance hatchback edges closer to production.
The all-new Audi S3 has been spied again during development testing, ahead of an anticipated production debut sometime next year.
Like the vehicle snapped in August, there's plenty of camouflage concealing the finer design details, but we can see the overall shape of the new-generation hatchback and certain elements that will distinguish the S3 hot hatch from its more sedate brethren.
Sporty bumpers and side skirts and large alloys hiding big brakes indicate this vehicle's performance skew, while the quad-tipped exhaust out back is a trademark of Audi's 'S' models.
Compared to the model currently on sale, the new A3/S3 will sport a more angular design drawing inspiration from the company's latest models, including the smaller A1 Sportback and larger A4 sedan and Avant wagon.
The overall shape appears wider and flatter than the current car, too, lending it a more athletic look.
Inside, expect a minimalist cabin layout akin to Audi's latest range incorporating a larger central display than the current model's 7.0-inch unit, along with the latest and greatest infotainment and driver assistance systems.
The A3 should once again aim to be a technology showcase in the premium small car segment, and it's likely Audi will offer high-end semi-autonomous systems from its flagship models on the next-gen small car.
We reckon the A3 may offer new colour options inside and out for more personalisation like the new A1, as well, to further distinguish itself from the next-generation Volkswagen Golf and better target its youthful demographic.
Speaking of the Golf, the new A3 and S3 will once again utilise a version of the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform, meaning we can expect small capacity turbocharged engines, hybrid and electric options, along with front- and all-wheel drive.
The performance-oriented S3 should once again share its running gear with the Golf R, which could see its power output approach 300kW – Volkswagen has previously said it wants its next-gen sports models to be more extreme.
Whether this significant power bump (the current one makes 228kW, for reference) will be achieved with or without electric assistance is yet to be seen, though given the ever-tightening emissions regulations in Europe (and the WLTP testing regime) we'd argue the former is most likely.
Expect the new A3 to debut in the first half of next year, with the S3 to follow later in 2019. With that in mind, the range probably won't hit Australian showrooms until the tail-end of next year.
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