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First look: S3 sizzle comes to A3 Sportback

Saucy: S3 joins the five-door A3 for the first time, as part of an A3 facelift.

Sports version of Audi’s five-door hatch headlines upgrade for full A3 range

28 Apr 2008

AUDI has released details of an upgraded A3 and A3 Sportback, both of which are due in Australia in the final quarter of 2008 and, for the first time, will see the introduction of a sizzling S3 Sportback.

This is the first time Audi has applied the S-branded hot iron to the five-door Sportback, which will use the same engine as the three-door pocket rocket – a detuned-for-Australia 188kW/330Nm 2.0-litre TFSI turbo which drives all four wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

The Euro-spec 195kW/350Nm S3 Sportback can accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 5.8 seconds, making it 0.1 seconds slower than the three-door.

7 center image Based on these figures, the Australian-spec version should cross the line in a still-respectable 6.0 seconds flat.

Top speed continues to be a governed 250km/h, while fuel consumption should be close the three-door’s quoted 9.2L/100km figure.

The scorching Sportback carries a range of other signature S3 traits – aggressive skin treatment, 18-inch wheels, black brake callipers clamping onto 17-inch disc brakes, lightweight and lowered sports suspension (down 25mm over the standard cars), for example.

It also heralds a facelift and mechanical update to the wider A3 and A3 Sportback ranges.

The most significant changes are the inclusion of Audi’s S-tronic dual-clutch transmission as an option across the entire A3 and Sportback engine line-up, and the addition of the “magnetic ride” suspension control system.

The base 1.6, 1.4 TFSI and 1.8 TFSI benefit from a new seven-speed version of the S-tronic gearbox, while the 3.2 V6, 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel engines stick with six ratios.

Magnetic ride adaptive damping will be available as an option on the 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI, as well as the 2.0-litre diesels.

Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system has also received a minor upgrade, with Audi engineering the central hydraulic multi-plate clutch to respond even faster when engine power is redistributed between the front and rear wheels.

The basic engine line-up continues, although Audi has made a number of minor mechanical changes to improve fuel economy up to 15 per cent.

Full details are still to be provided, but the 1.8/2.0 TFSI engines have been “frictionally optimised” and carry new cylinder bores, pistons and oil pumps.

The 2.0-litre diesel has also been upgraded to include common-rail fuel injection.

Borrowing design elements from the A3 convertible – which is due for release in Australia in July – the A3 and Sportback have a revised grille, modified front and rear bumpers, and a curved trim element in the headlights known as a “wing”. Daytime running lights are now standard.

Reworking of the three-door’s tailgate sees the overall length of the A3 increase 25mm to 4240mm. The Sportback’s dimensions remain unchanged.

Interior enhancements include new aluminium-look trim, redesigned centre dash stack switchgear and a sportier emphasis on the instrument panel.

Australian pricing and specifications are still to be announced, but overseas versions receive equipment such as an iPod connection socket and a host of new options, including “deluxe” automatic air-conditioning, adaptive headlights and Audi park assist.

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