Audi has unveiled its new 296bhp Audi S3 hot-hatch at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.
All that power comes from a new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which easily eclipses the 276bhp on offer from the Vauxhall Astra VXR. It’ll out-perform almost every other hot-hatch on the market, too, thanks to a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds. Go for the six-speed manual rather than the DSG, and that increases to 5.4 seconds.
Kerbweight has been cut by 60kg compared to its predecessor, and that’s despite it being larger than the car it replaces. The drop in weight combined with the standard fitting of the Audi Drive Select system, which includes adaptive dampers should make for impressive handling. As you'd expect, Audi's quattro four-wheel drive system is standard, too.
Another benefit of the reduced weight, is the improved fuel consumption which is now up to a fraction over 40mpg whether you go for the manual or automatic gearbox.
The S3’s makeover is typically subtle, with LED daytime running lights as standard, a specific ‘S’ grille finished in an aluminium-look paint and some large air-intakes mounted either side of the front bumper. At the rear there are four oval exhausts mounted in a grey diffuser and a large roof spoiler. The usual grey wing mirrors and ‘S’ badges complete the look.
Meanwhile, inside there’s an additional boost pressure dial in the instrument binnacle, there’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel and new sports seats finished in a choice of materials, from part leather and cloth to Alcantara and Nappa leather.
Audi has said that the S3 will arrive in dealerships early next year, and while there are no details as to UK pricing, the newcomer will start from 38,900 EUR in Germany. This suggests a price-tag of just over £30,000 in the UK.