It's no secret that the Audi A3 sedan and hatch are based on the more humble Volkswagen Golf and Jetta. These cars share engines, suspension components, and many more parts with one another. Some would even dismiss the Audi A3 as merely posh versions of the Jetta and Golf.
This time Audi sprinkled even more magic for the all-new Audi A3 to build the S3. Introduced earlier this year, it got the bold and edgy makeover that it deserved. With that, Audi's compact range got a bit more attitude and aggression, even in their lowest trim levels. But with a new A3 sedan and hatch means a next-generation S3 as well.
So the question now is this: Is the all-new S3 just a pumped-up Golf GTI, or is it more than that? Short answer: No. Here's why.
One look at the stats and the S3 has some serious performance credentials. Power is sourced from a 2.0-liter turbo engine, which is the same as the Golf GTI. That's where the similarities end because this Audi packs 310 PS and 400 Nm of torque. To put things into perspective, that's 65 PS and 30 Nm more than the GTI. As it is, the GTI already packs an impressive 245 PS and 370 Nm of torque.
With those power figures, it's a lot faster than the Golf too. The upgraded 2.0-liter engine can propel the S3 to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds. You'll have to wait a second longer for the GTI to do the same task. Helping it get those numbers is its Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which the Volkswagen doesn't have. When it comes to performance then, the S3 is on a different level.
The suspension in the S3 is also more advanced that its Volkswagen counterpart. It's available with electronically-controlled suspension with active oil control valves within the dampers. Not only that, it even has a novel electronic brake booster, which should help reel in the S3's power.
The Audi is also brimming with tech with features such as automatic emergency braking, swerve assist with turn assist, and lane departure warning. If that's not enough, lane change and exit warnings, as well as the cross-traffic and park assist systems, can be fitted as options in this high-performance compact car.
With its stats, specs, and equipment levels, the S3 is more than a Golf GTI with all-wheel-drive. The Audi is more of a rival to the Subaru WRX STI and Honda Civic Type R. Come to think of it, these three cars have identical power, torque, and even 0 to 100 km/h times. This would be an interesting comparison test if Audi Philippines would bring this in. Since they've brought in the S3 here in the past, there's a good chance of the new one coming here too.