The hot hatch makes its official video debut, but it's still camouflaged.

It was only yesterday when Audi allowed us to have a first proper look at the next-generation A3 and now the compact hatchback is back in a lengthy preview video. Much like before, we’re dealing with the hotter S3 version, even though the video has oddly been captioned by Audi as representing a normal A3. But the “S” clues are pretty obvious – from the “S3” badge on the front grille to the quad exhaust tips at the rear. The black and white body camouflage with contrasting Quattro orange accents is there to mask the production model, but we secretly want Audi to offer this finish as a factory wrap.

Gallery: New Audi S3 Sportback preview

The wonderful footage was shot in lovely Portugal, specifically on the São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago where Audi invited journalists to get a first taste of the S3 Sportback. Aside from seeing the performance hatch in action, we also get to hear the great soundtrack provided by its 2.0 TFSI engine. As previously mentioned, the turbocharged four-pot will produce a very familiar 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters).

Why not more power? Even though it’s a new car, the engine isn’t going to get a boost in output due mainly to the stricter emissions regulations in Europe where the tough WLTP regime has taken its toll on products of the Volkswagen Group. As some of you will recall, the mechanically related VW Golf R and SEAT Leon Cupra lost 10 horses in 2018 to comply with the rules. The same thing happened with the S3 as it was downgraded to 296 hp due partially to the inclusion of a gasoline particulate filter, but now the power is back to 306 hp.

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The video gives us the opportunity to check out the matrix LED headlights and large 19-inch alloy wheels, but we’re also seeing things we’re not big fans of – fake vents at the front and rear. The silver lining is that the car does seem to have proper exhaust tips, unlike some of the other Audi Sport models such as the Euro-spec SQ5 and S6 facelift diesels with their ghastly faux tips.

The A3 and S3 Sportback will likely be followed shortly by the sedan, while the three-door hatch body won’t live to see a new generation due to slow sales.

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Dance on a Volcano:
New Audi A3 with better driving dynamics than ever

  • Top-of-the-line traction, thrilling dynamism, and tremendous driving pleasure: quattro drive
  • Sporty and direct handling: progressive steering with a variable gear ratio
  • Wide gear ratio spread between agility and comfort: adaptive damper control

Audi will be celebrating the world premiere of the new A3 Sportback at the Geneva Motor Show. Prior to this, the premium manufacturer is sending the fourth generation of its success model to take a very special test: On São Miguel Island in the Azores archipelago, journalists will test the compact sports car and experience the highest level of driving dynamics on challenging routes.