I liked the 2015 Audi S3 enough to recommend it anyone looking for a quick, stylish, competent small sport sedan, but a lot of you were turned off by the fact that it only comes with Audi's S Tronic dual clutch transmission instead of a true manual. Now we know Audi might just change their mind.
The guys at Fourtitude also attended the S3 event in Austin that coincided with the Lone Star Le Mans race, and they had a chat with Audi of America President Scott Keogh. Their conversation left me optimistic about the chances of a manual S3 in the U.S.:
First up was talk of the Audi S3. John Hindhaugh interviewed Keogh on stage and asked him specifically about manual transmissions. After walking through the costs associated with adding such model complexity and how that effects both cost and dealer availability, Keogh mentioned Audi of America is looking very closely at adding the manual transmission version of the S3. While not yet a done deal, we take that as very, very good news.
It's not a "nope," it's a "we're thinking about it." I agree that this should be considered good news.
I can say that the dual clutch in the S3 is, in typical Volkswagen Group fashion, very very good. It shifts fast and works wonderfully in automatic mode, too.
But hey, choices are always good. And adding a true manual should only help to broaden the S3's appeal, and maybe even steal some sales from the similar upcoming Volkswagen Golf R.
As for the Audi RS3, Keogh didn't confirm it was coming here, but he did mention a sedan version. Iiiiiiiinteresting.
Check out Fourtitude for the full scoop.