Audi reveals 300bhp S3 Sportback
Its here: second generation five-door hot-hatch appears ahead of Geneva Show debut
The timing is important here. It's been just four months since Audi gave us the three-door version of its new S3, but fittingly, on the day Mercedes announces the most powerful production four-cylinder turbo petrol engine ever, Audi reveals the S3 ‘Sportback'. If there were a wall nearby, it would be quite wet.
So, it's the five-door version of the S3, better for legroom and boot space and yadda yadda yadda. You want to know about power. You want to know about performance. Well, it gets a 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine pushing out 300bhp and 380Nm of torque, driven through Audi's permanent quattro system, via a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed S tronic auto. In any other sane universe, this is quite sufficient to assist your entry into one of her majesty's finest detention centres. But after that Merc, well...
Anyhow, the latter gearbox gets you from 0-100kph in five seconds, while the manual does it in 5.5s. Blame your pesky human hands and slow, grubby fingers for the extra half a second. Top speed is of course, limited to 250kph.
Incidentally, that engine is 5kg lighter than the previous S3's 2.0-litre, and the whole car sits 25mm lower than a standard A3 thanks to S sport suspension. The front axle sits 52mm further than the previous model too, and forms part of the Volkswagen Group's new MQB platform. It might be 50kg heavier than the three-door S3, but it's still a good 70kg lighter than the last S3 Sportback. Good platform, too.
Wheels are of the 18-inch variety, hiding 340mm brakes up front, while you also get Audi's Drive Select which determines the throttle response, S tronic shift times and steering ratio. Switch it to maximum attack and sellotape it there. You can also get the Audi magnetic ride system too, though that's an option.
The other option of course, is a big one. Now that the new Merc A-Class AMG has shoulder barged it's way onto the scene, what would you plump for? Of course, the upcoming RS3 will probably be a more natural rival for the A45 AMG, and these S model Audis are normally quick, but a bit sedate; nothing compared to the fury of that Merc. So if it were your money, which German über-hatch would you go for?