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Geneva show: Audi’s five-door S3 breaks loose

Under the skin: The Audi S3 Sportback quattro is lighter, more powerful and more efficient than its predecessor.

Audi S3 Sportback emerges, showing us the version we will get in Australia soon

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Audi logo13 Feb 2013

WE saw the three-door in Paris last September, and now Audi has revealed the five-door Sportback version of its hardcore S3 three weeks out from its formal debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

The Ingolstadt marque’s newest model will give it a rival to pocket rockets such as the BMW M135i and the similarly just-revealed Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG when it hits European showrooms in September this year.

More importantly Australia, this is the version that Audi plans to bring Down Under late this year, having already announced its intention to bypass the three-door in favour of its more practical sibling.

As reported following the reveal of the three-door at the Paris motor show, all S3 models get a newly developed 2.0-litre TFSI turbo petrol engine producing 221kW at 5500rpm and 380Nm of torque between 1800 and 5500rpm.

These figures would normally be even more eyebrow-raising, were it not for arch-rival Mercedes’ announcement overnight that its new A45 AMG would have a massive 265kW/450Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo.

As with its predecessor, the Audi gets a standard six-speed manual gearbox and quattro-branded Haldex all-wheel-drive system.

A six-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle-shifters will also be offered.

With the optional automatic fitted the S3 can dash from zero to 100km/h in a slick 5.0 seconds – one-tenth faster than the BMW but four-tenths behind the AMG – while the manual gearbox adds an extra half a second.

Audi has also slashed fuel consumption by more than 20 per cent on the lighter new S3, with a claimed combined-cycle figure of 6.9 litres per 100km with the automatic (7.0L/100km for the manual).

The new S3 Sportback is the latest model to use the Volkswagen Group's new modular transverse MQB platform – the regular A3 was the first car to use it – and as such is an accurate pointer to the next Volkswagen Golf R that is also set to take a bow in Geneva.

Due to the lighter platform and extensive use of aluminium in the bodyshell, the new Audi has a claimed 1445kg kerb weight that undercuts the previous version by 70kg, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 152kW per tonne.

The company claims to have sharpened the handling by shifting the front axle further forward – thus reducing the front overhang – chopping five kilograms from the engine’s weight and tilting the block backwards by 12 degrees.

Special sport suspension that lowers the body by 25mm, new 59:41 axle-load distribution front/rear and a new speed-sensitive electro-mechanical power steering system also join the party.

The understated design is differentiated from the regular A3 Sportback by its more aggressive grille, integrated front air inlets, faux side intakes, aluminium-look side mirror housings, a re-designed rear bumper with a platinum grey diffuser, quad tail-pipes, LED tail-lights and a roof spoiler.

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