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The new Audi A3 has arrived, and an updated 328bhp S3 is on the way

Audi’s premium family hatch gets a new face and more equipment, with the forthcoming S3 hot hatch set to offer 328bhp

Hot on the heels of the Mk8.5 Volkswagen Golf, Audi has unveiled its revised A3 hatchback designed to go head-to-head with the likes of the BMW 1-series and Mercedes A-class. The fourth generation A3 – codenamed ‘8Y’ – first appeared in 2020, and this latest version offers Audi's latest infotainment tech, extra equipment and a refreshed design inspired by the hot S and RS variants. 

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At the front, Audi's ‘single-frame’ grille has been updated with a new mesh design, flanked by restyled LED headlights and intake vents. The rear end, meanwhile, gets new tail lights and a more aggressive bumper design for a pseudo-hot hatch appearance. 

Speaking of which, the new A3 will form the basis of an updated S3 hot hatch due later in the year, sharing key components with Volkswagen’s Golf R. The S3’s EA888 2-litre turbocharged engine will be boosted to 328bhp and 310lb ft of torque as part of the updates, enabling a 0-62mph time of 4.7sec.

As with the Golf R 20 Years edition, the S3 will use a new throttle valve calibration to keep the turbocharger on the boil for crisper responses, working with a faster-acting seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox for a more energetic power delivery. The S3’s four-wheel drive system will be upgraded too, with the inclusion of a variable ‘torque splitter’ differential to send drive to the outside rear wheel under hard cornering. 

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A new front suspension pivot bearing, extra negative camber and a recalibrated progressive-ratio steering rack are designed to bring more bite and precision to the S3 driving experience, with larger discs, pads and twin-piston calipers improving braking performance. The chassis electronics have been adjusted to suit the more playful, agile dynamic character Audi is hoping to achieve. 

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For the standard A3, Audi isn’t offering the existing three-cylinder 30 TFSI petrol model at launch, so the range kicks off with the 35 TFSI instead. This uses a mild-hybrid 1.5-litre four-pot with 148bhp, driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Diesel versions also offer 148bhp, this time from a 2-litre engine. More engine options, including a plug-in hybrid model, will arrive later this year. 

Inside, the new A3 gets a new gear selector, fabric trim inlays and a standard-fit ambient lighting package, extending to the doors and footwell. An enhanced interior lighting package is available at extra cost, with a selection of 30 colours chosen through the A3’s MMI infotainment system. This includes a 10.1-inch touchscreen, a DAB+ digital radio and Audi’s virtual cockpit instrument panel as standard, with a navigation plus package and online app store functionality available in the options list. 

For a fee, Audi can activate certain features – such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, high-beam assist and dual-zone climate control – after the car has been delivered, with monthly or yearly payment plans available. 

Audi is yet to announce UK pricing for the new A3, but expect it to carry a small premium over the current £28,600 Sport 35 TFSI when it goes on sale.

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