Audi will reveal the new four-door S3 this April at the Shanghai motor show, cementing its commitment as the first German automaker to build a compact performance saloon. Audi revealed a preview of the S3 saloon – the A3 saloon concept -- at the 2011 Geneva motor show. Audi developed the model to boost its already impressive standing in the profitable Chinese car market and offer an additional sales pillar for its US operations.
S3 saloon will be powered by the 296bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive underpinnings that are also used on the newly unveiled S3 hatchback. It is slated to start selling in the UK in late 2013, with a price tag of about £33,000. On whether an even more striking RS3 saloon will join the lineup, Audi insiders won’t confirm but they would say that it’s not a top priority for now.
An Audi spokesman said that this type of car would be exciting but is not essential. When Audi first introduced the concept version in Geneva, Audi’s new price-leading saloon displayed a highly tuned version of its turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, with an output of 402bhp and 369lb ft of torque.
New S3 saloon is about 4500mm long, making it nearly as long as the old Audi 80 — the precursor to the existing A4. It is built on the latest front-wheel drive platform by Volkswagen, its parent company.
The potential of Audi’s newest segment leading and dynamic A3 is evident on the first look alone. The RS3 Sportback for instance has the bumpers in the rear clearly having a new design. It now has a diffuser insert, in high-gloss black, which surrounds a pair of elliptical and large exhaust tailpipes. Just beside the license plate is the RS3 lettering while the long roof spoiler goes all the way to the rear windshield.
Compared to the outside segment, the middle segment is shorter, as if to show just how aerodynamic it really is. Looked at from its side, the wide flared front fenders instantly catches one’s attention. Since they are composed of CFRP, or carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, they result in a weight lower by 4.63 lbs. (2.1 kg), especially when compared to one made of the usual steel panel.
Highlighting this particular style are the chiseled side sills. Meanwhile the housings of the outside mirror have been integrated with the turn signals that use LED. These housings come with a matt aluminum appearance. On the front section, the main feature is the single-frame grille. It has the anthracite-colored high-gloss insert with a diamond-patterned style.
Surrounding the grille is a matt-aluminum frame decorated with the RS3 badge. Fitted as standard are the xenon plus lights that have been combined with daytime running LED lights in order to give that stunning curve. One change in the RS3 Sportback is that the air intakes positioned under the headlights are now larger. By making the edges even more pronounced, air is channeled more precisely to the engine bay.
That is, going to the left intake takes the air to the S tronic seven-speed transmission. The right intake on the other hand goes to the extra radiator. This vehicle’s turbocharger meanwhile gets its air from the single-frame’s upper region.
Finally, the intercooler has been positioned on the grille’s bottom portion. Another significant change is the removal of the fog lights. Redesigned as well is the front apron which now has a horizontal splitter which ensures that the front suspension’s output shaft is raised.