The new Audi S3 sedan (and five-door Sportback) looks fantastic, and the Four Rings had us salivating when it revealed the compact luxury car last month. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long for the company to officially confirm a 2022 S3 for the US market.
The S3, which will compete with the Mercedes-AMG A35 and BMW M235i Gran Coupe, is likely to arrive just after its humbler sibling, the 2022 Audi A3. That model has been confirmed for a late-2021 launch, leading us to believe we’ll see the S3 in dealerships in December of next year at the earliest. However, for fans of the Audi brand, it will likely be worth the wait.
Gallery: 2021 Audi S3 Sportback and S3 Sedan
Zesty, Zippy, Zoomy
As we reported during the global launch of the European-spec 2021 Audi S3, the sport sedan is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, paired exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. Quattro all-wheel drive is a given – what remains in question is the US-spec car’s official power and torque ratings. The global model will produce a stout 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters), but Audi USA would only confirm that our car will produce more than the outgoing S3 sedan, which makes 288 hp (215 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 Nm).
As reported last month, the S3 sits 0.6-inch lower to the ground than the standard A3, courtesy of a sport-tuned suspension. An available S sport suspension option with damper control brings more adjustability, improving both comfort and performance depending on the drive mode selector. The adaptive dampers alter oil flow, responding to changing road conditions within a few thousandths of a second. Further improving response are four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, modulated by a new electric brake booster.
Audi Sport Styling
Inside and out, the S3 clearly resembles its plebeian A3 sibling, but it’s appropriately juiced up for Audi Sport duty. A more aggressive front fascia sports an unusual under-vented hood, recalling the company’s RS products, while genuine large-diameter quad exhaust outlets spice up the rear end a bit. The S3 benefits from its less powerful stablemate’s already aggressive styling, boasting a wider body and Ur-Quattro–aping fender flares.
Power-adjustable S-specific sport seats get diamond quilting, an Audi hallmark, and the A3’s driver-oriented touchscreen displays carry over intact. The S3 will get a 10.1-inch center touchscreen and a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster standard, while the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster will be an option.
In price, as in performance, the 2022 Audi S3 should be very competitive with the $45,500 BMW M235i Gran Coupe and the as-yet-unpriced Mercedes-AMG A35 (the mechanically identical CLA 35 starts at $46,900). Audi hasn’t confirmed a US price yet, but plan on it increasing somewhat over the 2020 model. The current S3 starts at $43,000 even – expect the 2022 sport sedan to demand $45,000 or more.