New 2020 Audi S3

All-new 306bhp Audi S3 arrives in sharp-looking
Sportback and Saloon

New 2020 Audi S3

New 2020 Audi S3 1920 1280 Jack

The Audi S3 has always been something of a traffic light grand prix weapon of a hot hatch. Sporty (but not shouty) styling, class-leading power figures, and of course the legendary quattro four-wheel drive system proved to be a potent mix right from the offset that humiliated cars from classes above.

The first S3 was launched over twenty years ago in 1999 with over 200bhp – a lot for the time. Since then, there have been two more generations of S3, with each following the same basic aforementioned recipe that made them a hit with hot hatch fans worldwide. Now, Audi has just launched the all-new fourth generation with even more power and presence.

2020 Audi S3 design

Although clearly based on the standard new A3 launched earlier this year, the S3 features clear sporting intentions with a huge honeycomb grille at the front, large air intakes, and quad exhaust pipes around the rear. However, the sporty styling is more subtle and reserved when compared to rivals such as the Mercedes A35 AMG, with its aggressive aero parts.

2020 Audi S3 interior

Inside, the new S3 is brought bang up to date for the new decade, which is crucial when rivals such as the new BMW M135i and the Mercedes A35 feature best-in-class infotainment systems. You get Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit screen paired alongside a large central touchscreen to bring a modern and connected experience. The latest safety equipment is also present, with swerve assist and lane-departure warning included as standard. The design language has been refreshed, too, with modern, angular looks not too dissimilar to the Audi-owned Lamborghini Urus.

2020 Audi S3 performance

Ultimately, however, it’s the performance that will either make or break the new Audi S3. Its four-wheel drive Quattro system was something of a unique selling point back in the day (save for the ludicrous Golf R32), but today, all of its key rivals employ the same method of driving all four wheels. So, has the new hot Audi fallen behind?

The 306bhp power figure is only a modest increase from the previous generation’s figure, but it’s enough to propel the new S3 from 0-60mph in just 4.8 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 155mph. Most importantly, it keeps the Audi competitive with its key rivals; the new BMW M135i also has around the same power, the same top speed, and completes the acceleration sprint in exactly 4.8 seconds as well. The Mercedes A35 AMG has the same power and top speed but officially does 0-60 a fraction faster, at 4.7 seconds. Needless to say though, they are very closely matched hot hatch rivals.

Whilst they are indistinguishable on performance, the new S3 does command a slight premium when it comes down to the nitty-gritty details of price. Whereas the BMW and the Mercedes start at just over £35,000, Audi wants £38,500 for their latest hot hatch. Whether it’s worth the extra cost would be up to you, but one thing is for certain: the S3 has a new lease of life, and it’s ready to take on any competitor that puts up a fight.

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