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Mercedes-AMG Forced Audi To Seriously Improve S3

Spy Shots

The A35 better watch out.

Audi is gearing up to refresh the A3 and S3, bringing them more in line with new models like the A6, A7, and A8. And while the automaker's test pilots have already been spotted driving a camouflaged version of the A3 hatchback, our spy photographers have just caught them driving in a new prototype of the sportier S3 sedan.

Whereas the hatchback body style of the A3 and S3 will likely remain a fixture of only the European market, the sedan will continue to be offered in the United States. From these new images, we can tell that the S3 sedan looks similar to the A3 hatchback at the front but obviously has a trunk in the rear instead of a hatch.

Those who were hoping for a more coupe-like roofline may be disappointed by this new S3. Audi could be working on a Sportback body style to rival the Mercedes CLA, but as it sits, the new S3 will be squarely aimed at the new A35 AMG. The Mercedes-AMG A35 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is more than the current S3 that comes packing 292 hp.

This new S3 is expected to retain a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but output is rumored to increase to around 300-320 hp. If the next S3 does offer a significant increase in power, the A35 will have some serious competition from Audi and the upcoming BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

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Audi will also offer substantial improvements to the interior of the new A3/S3. These new spy shots don't show the interior, but Audi will most likely ditch the current car's pop-up display in favor of the new touchscreen system found on its more recent models. If the A3/S3 share their interior with the Q3 crossover, they will feature a single touchscreen rather than a dual-screen layout as found in the larger A6, A7, and A8 models. Expect to see an announcement for the new A3 in the four quarter of 2019 with word about the S3 possibly coming later.