Audi's sporty new compact will take on the BMW 2 Series and Mercedes-AMG A-Class.
Audi's compact car model line is due for a redesign, as evinced by the string of Audi A3 and S3 spy photos that have cropped up over the past few months, giving us our first few opportunities to see how the car's design will evolve in the not-too-distant future.
Now, we've just gotten a good look at what appears to be a next-generation Audi S3 Sportback prototype in the buff, without any shape-masking camouflage to obscure its most crucial design elements. A pair of photos uploaded to Instagram depict the sporty new hatchback in all its sharp, angular glory, and while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we think it's safe to say: this thing looks sick.
The next-generation Audi S3 Sportback's prominent jawline is defined by a pair of jutting front inlets on either side of the main grille, and sharp, crisp creases on the hood and doors represent a break from the softer, more bubbly design character of the current model. The headlamps retain their familiar hook-bottomed appearance, but again with more straight, sharp lines. They also look enormous, taking up a sizable portion of the front fascia.
Out back, things look remarkably similar to the current Audi S3 Sportback, although the exhaust tips seem to have grown larger, and the shape of the taillights has been massaged. A set of non-functional faux grilles adorns the rear bumper, perched atop a prominent-looking rear diffuser, and another sharp crease adorns the hatch just below the rear window.
Inside the cabin, the new S3 is poised to get a new infotainment screen, digital instrument cluster, and more premium materials.
The next-gen Audi S3 is expected to build on the performance of its predecessor with around 300 to 320 peak horsepower, up from 288 in the current iteration. That thrust is still expected to come from a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, routing its torque through Audi's quattro AWD system by way a dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The new Audi S3 could debut in Sportback form as soon as this March, bowing alongside a new A3 at the annual Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. Expect both to go on sale later this year as 2021 models, but don't hold your breath for the Sportback body style to sell in the US market.