AUDI has unleashed its power-packed S3 Sportback.
With a sprint time of 0-100kmh of five-seconds-flat, it's an imposing piece of equipment with a retail price less than $60,000.
It's available with either a six-speed manual (enthusiasts can nod their head in approval) or a six-speed dual clutch automatic.
We sampled the new hot hatch at the national launch in Tasmania this week and can confirm it lives up to the figures. It is pure four-ringed weaponry.
Compliant suspension manages to do a damn fine job of ironing out the bumps while also staying firm in the bends.
There isn't much need to go for the options list, with standard items including 18-inch five-spoke alloys, CD stereo with sat nav and colour screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, dual zone climate control with rear air vents, flat-bottom leather wrapped steering wheel and key less entry with push button start.
The S3 takes the fight up to Mercedes-Benz's new stars, the A45 AMG and the A250 Sport, but sits in the middle in terms of price and performance.
That leaves space for an even hotter RS3 from Audi in the future…fingers crossed it's coming here.
This latest addition is the first of several new models to join the "3" family. Coming early next year is the A3 sedan, followed by the RS Q3 in February/March, the S3 sedan in April and then the A3 cabriolet in July.
"The new S3 Sportback sets a benchmark for compact premium performance - it is a sensational package," said Audi Australia's managing director Andrew Doyle.
"Not only does the new S3 Sportback deliver exceptional performance, but it is equipped with all the sophisticated features expected in a luxury vehicle. This car will change the way enthusiasts view the premium 'hot hatch' market. Our positioning for this third-generation S3 Sportback makes progressive performance more accessible than ever before."
Model: Audi S3.
Details: Five-door all-wheel drive performance hatch.
Engine: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbocharged petrol generating maximum power of 206kW @ 5100-6500rpm and peak torque of 380Nm @ 1800-5100pm.
Transmission: Six-speed S-tronic dual clutch automatic or six-speed manual.
Consumption: 6.9 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.0 seconds (a); 5.5 seconds (m).
Bottom line: $59,900 (manual or auto).
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