The Audi S3 as we’ve had it in America has only always uncomfortably positioned as a more expensive, less-spacious cousin of the Volkswagen Golf R. The VW shared most of the Audi’s running gear for a lower price. It seems Audi is capitalizing on the few years it will take for the next Golf R to launch by throwing power at the S3.
The outgoing Audi S3 currently makes 288 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, with a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of 4.8 seconds utilizing the brand’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. It starts at $43,000. Compare that to the old Mk. 7 Golf R, which has the exact same engine and performance specs, but starts at $40,395 and, for a time, was offered with a manual transmission.
Today, Audi announced the next-gen S3 for the European market, and it theoretically runs the 2019 Golf R into the ground with its shiny new output of 305 horsepower (310 PS) and 295 lb-ft of torque. Of course, that’s probably what the next-gen Golf R will do when it goes on sale in the next couple of years, but the Audi got here first.
Over on the cousin continent, the S3 will get two special launch editions in new colors. The sedan gets Tango Red and the hatchback gets Python Yellow—two very good colors with very good names—and the package comes with Nappa leather sport seats, black styling accents, and 19-inch wheels. Don’t expect to get the hatch in America, but let’s pray for the Python Yellow.
The new S3 gets the same updated design language as the new A3 it’s based on, and has also grown 1.2-inches wider and 1.6-inches longer than its predecessor. It keeps Quattro all-wheel drive, a seven-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch wheels standard or a 19-inch option, and is available with either a standard, lowered suspension dropped by half-an-inch over the standard A3, or there’s the option of an S-tuned sport suspension setup.
Audi claims the seat materials are mostly made up of recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles, and they’ve also adopted a new gear selector reminiscent of the one in the new Porsche 911. The Volkswagen Group is seemingly working to reduce the gear selector down to the status of a measly stalk.
What’s weird, at least beyond getting upset over gear selectors, is that Audi isn’t in a rush to sell the new S3 stateside even though it goes on sale in Europe later this year. We don’t even get the standard new Audi A3 in America until next year, so we’ll have to wait.
Just seems like Audi should be trying to snap up that “I need a 300 horsepower compact Volkswagen Auto Group vehicle for over $40,000” demographic before VW starts shipping the new Golf R.