The VW Golf R’s posher cousin is on its way. The full S3 reveal won’t be happening until later this year, but we already know what it’ll look like - Audi hasn’t bothered adding any camouflage to these two fly-splattered prototypes.
Yep, prototypes plural - what we have here is a buy one, get one free S3 spotting, with both ‘Sportback’ hatch and four-door saloon variants papped on and around the Nurburgring Nordschleife.
As is the Audi S way, neither car looks all that different to the equivalent S Line-equipped S3. There are some subtle changes, however, including tweaked front bumpers, new rear diffusers and bigger side skirts. Distressingly, the standard A3’s big, fake rear vents are still present, but at least there’s the trademark quad exhaust serving as a distraction.
There won’t be a three-door S3 this time around - the A3 base car is bereft of a three-door option, with Audi not bothering to make a new-generation one owing to low demand.
As with the last S3, the new one will be powered by VW Group’s widely-used ‘EA888’ 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine, although it’ll be pokier than before. We’d expect the output to match that of the incoming VW Golf 8 R, which - according to a recent stats leak - will be good for 329bhp.
During a drive of an S3 prototype, our Auto Express colleagues learned that the all-wheel drive system is now fully variable between the front and rear axles. So in some situations it might - we hope - have a noticeable rear-bias.
The question is, would you go for the saloon of the hatchback?