TheAudi S3is a hot hatch version of the A3 small family car, built by the German automaker Audi.
The first generation S3 is built on the same A platform of the Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, Audi TT, SEAT León and Škoda Octavia. The straight-4 20V 1.8 L turbocharged petrol engine comes in two versions of power output: 210 bhp and 225 bhp. Early models (1999-2002) had 210 bhp which is said to be a de-tuned Audi TT engine and was specifically reduced to lessen brand competition with the more powerful TT. Later models (2002-2003) had variable valve timing and 225 bhp. The engine provides a maximum 280 N•m of torque, most of which is available from 2200 through to 5500 rpm. This is the first time a small four-cylinder engine has been used in an Audi S-series car.
Although dubbed Quattro, the S3 uses a different four-wheel drive system. The Haldex coupling adjusts the bias from the front to rear axle as grip changes — most of the time it operates as a front-wheel drive.
The S3 was sold in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico, and Australia, but was not officially marketed in the United States.
The S3 was facelifted in 2000, where it was given one-piece headlights/indicator units, different front wings, rear lights clusters and some minor upgrades to interior trim. There had been minor changes to the design previous to this, including digital clock on the dash.
Standard features include xenon HID headlamps with high pressure washers, front fog lamps, 17 in «Avus» alloy wheels with 225/45R17 tires, electrically adjustable Recaro leather seats, climate control, alarm and electronic traction control/stability program. Options include a Bose sound system, boot/trunk mounted 6 disc CD changer, metallic paint, 18 inch 9-spoke RSTT wheels, glass sunroof, centre arm rest, auto dipping rear view mirror, parking assist, luggage net, heated front seats, cruise control, aluminium door mirror casings and part leather/Alcantara (blue/silver/yellow) combination seat coverings.
The second generation Audi S3 is powered by a 261bhp VAG 2.0 T-FSI. As with all S models the design is done inhouse by Quattro gmbh, as RS models are usually tuned in collaboration with Mahle Powertrain (ie..Cosworth Technologies). The engine features revised boost/fuel mapping, increased compressor wheel size. The most powerful form of this widely used engine, and permanent all-wheel drive, makes for a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. While badged a Quattro model, the all-wheel drive system used in the S3 does not employ a Torson-Gleason center differential as other common Quattro models, but instead the Swedish [Haldex] system, system.
In the United Kingdom, the S3 is priced at £27000, higher than many rivals. BMW’s 130i M Sport offers 265bhp, but is slower to 62mph at 6.1 seconds. It costs £26540. Other cars of similar power are a good deal cheaper; the VW Golf R32 sports 247bhp, and comes in £24240, or £500 more than the five door, with 0-62mph achieved in 6.5 seconds. The Vauxhall Astra VXR comes with less power — 237bhp — but manages 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and costs less again at £19120, whilst the Seat Leon Cupra (2.0 T-FSI with 247bhp), Volvos C30 (268bhp 2.5 inline turbo),and Mazdaspeed 3 (2.3 litre turbocharged engine with 257bhp) are both around the corner, with estimated price tags of roughly £19000.
Sadly the US market is overlooked once again for the S3. Quite the disappointment to Audiphiles who want a true hatchback. Considering the R32 has the V6 variant and the S3 has the favored 2.0T, you would think Audi of America might bring it to the states. The 2.0T has greater tuning capabilites than the VW VR6, and even with mild modification surpasses the 3.2 VR6.