AUDI wants to build a reputation as a well-known prestige brand and the S3 typifies its approach.
It is an expensive, lavishly equipped hot hatch.
The price makes it an exclusive proposition, but that is exactly what Audi believes S3 customers want.
Its closest competitors are the Volkswagen Golf R32, BMW 130i and Alfa Romeo 147 GTA – also pricey, boutique high-performance models that are expected to find only a few buyers.
The new S3 is nearly $2000 cheaper than the outgoing model and is no longer the most expensive A3 - unlike the first-generation S3 (which was $20,000 more than the next model down, the A3 1.8T).
The S3 is the same price as the A3 3.2 quattro S tronic.
Model release date: June 2007
The first S3 arrived in December 1999 with a price of $69,990.
From there the S3 fluctuated in price and specification.
In 2000, the price dropped to $66,950.
In 2002, it went up to $67,420.
Initially launched with 154kW and 270Nm outputs, the MY2001 model upgrade included new clear glass headlights, new grille, soft-touch electric hatch release and interior revisions.
In February 2002, the S3’s engine was upgraded to match the TT quattro’s 165kW /280Nm outputs.
From then on, the first generation remained unchanged to the few last remaining examples sold in 2005.
All S3s were fitted with a six-speed manual transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.