Audi Unleashes New S3 Sport Hatch with 296-Horsepower 2.0 TFSI [33 Photos & Video]

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The new generation of the more practical A3 Sportback, which was revealed online on Wednesday, will be joined by the spanking new S3 at Audi's Paris Motor Show stand next week.

The performance model of Audi's MQB platform-based compact hatchback is lighter and more powerful than the model it replaces. It is scheduled to go on sale in Europe early next year with a starting price of €38,900 (US$50,500) in Germany.

At the heart of the car lies a newly developed 2.0-liter TFSI direct-injection and turbocharged gasoline engine that belongs to the EA888 engine family.

The new powerplant weighs around five kilograms (11 pounds) less than the previous EA113 2.0 TFSI and is also much more powerful delivering 296Hp (300PS) at 5,500 rpm and 380 Nm (280.27 lb-ft) of torque between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm, an increase of 35Hp and 30Nm respectively. It redlines at 6,800 rpm.

Power is transferred to all-four wheels via a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional S tronic dual clutch transmission with the same number of gears and Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

Audi quotes a zero to 100km/h (62mph) acceleration time of 5.1 seconds with the S tronic and 5.4 seconds with the stick shift and an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) regardless of the transmission choice. For reference, the outgoing S3 with a manual gearbox completed the standard sprint in 5.8 seconds.

As for fuel economy, the new S3 S Tronic needs 6.9 liters of fuel per 100 km /34.1 US mpg (manual: 7.0 liters / 33.6 US mpg), an improvement of 1.5 liters compared to the previous version, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 159 (162) g/km (255.89 and 260.17 g/mile).

The new S3 tips the scales at 1,395 kilograms (3,075 lb), making it 60kg (132.3 pounds) lighter than the car it replaces.

Audi's engineers have tweaked the chassis to improve the S3's handling over the regular three-door model. The upgrades include a sport suspension that lowers the body by 25mm (0.98 in) compared with the A3, a new set of brakes and the optional electromagnetic damper control system (Audi magnetic ride).

The S3 is set apart from its lesser siblings (but not so much from the S Line-equipped models) by a styling package consisting of an S-specific single-frame grille with an aluminum-look finish, standard LED daytime running lights, a different front bumper, aluminum-look mirror caps, side skirts, roof spoiler and a redesigned rear bumper housing a diffuser and quad tailpipes. It rolls on 18-inch wheels 225/40-series tires.

Inside, the "S" treatment brings a flat-bottom sports steering wheel, decorative inlays in matt brushed aluminum or a black 3D look, gray instrument dials, sport seats optionally available with diamond quilting (as seen in these images) and S logos used throughout the cabin.