The Audi S3, once available only in Europe, is now state side. This is cool, very cool, because this smaller platform opens up a world of tuning possibilities. And it comes in a four door model as well! Things just keep getting better and better. What’s that you say? A 300hp engine, on four cylinders? Wow, this is great. We can’t wait to get our hands on a manual…….. Oh. Well this is a bummer; Audi explained that the S3 would not be coming over seas with a manual transmission, citing cost problems as the reason for doing so. The new sedan S3 is very clearly Audi’s answer to BMW’s highly successful One Series class; the new S3 comes with a smaller and more efficient 4 banger and is aimed at the same group as the BMW is. Everything about this car is exciting, as it opens up a new market for tuners; however there are several problems with Audi’s new endeavor. We will tackle the biggest first, the lack of a manual tranny. This comes as huge disappointment as the car is smaller than the S4 and is marked for sports car drivers. It is important to note that the S3 does come with a flappy paddle gearbox and the S Tronic system, and will do 0-60MPH in 4.9 seconds, .4 seconds faster the European manual models. So yes this new system is technically better than the manual. However manuals provide a more grounded feeling in the car, really connecting the driver to the car. So is .4 seconds worth losing a critical bond between man and a machine meant for road driving? The answer is no, and if you answered otherwise you should stop reading this and go let your car park for you too. Now CleanAudi won’t be so quick to write off this new system, but for now we stand firmly in believing that small fast sports cars should come with a manual option. That being said, we have other concerns regarding the new S3, mainly with market saturation. The old A3 filled a market for a hot hatch, while the S4 filled the need for a small fast jet plane, er…I mean car. The new S3 and A3 sedans may pose a threat to the S4 platform, drawing sales away from the S4. This may explain why the S3 won’t come with a stick option, as Audi may be trying to protect the S4. However, seeing as the new S4 comes with only 33HP more than the S3, we might have a problem with spending fifty K on the S4 just for a manual. We think that the S3 should have stayed a hatch, keeping balance in the market. But that’s just our opinion, and we are excited to have the options. (Maybe a manual for 2016? Hint Hint) Overall we can’t wait to see what comes out of the shops in the near future.
Audi Press Release:
March 26, 2013. Just a few months after the launch of the new A3 Sedan model series, Audi will introduce the top model – the S3 Sedan. The 2.0 TFSI produces 221 kW (300 hp) and 380 Nm (280.27 lb ft) of torque. Its high-performance four-cylinder engine combines highly advanced efficiency technologies – dual fuel injection, exhaust manifold integrated in the cylinder head, the Audi valvelift system and a rotary valve module for thermal management.
Pictures courtesy of Audi Group