|March 2, 2000
The equipment and data stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. We reserve the right to make changes. Errors and omissions excepted.
With the S3, Audi has added a superior top-of-the-range sports model to its range in the compact class.
The S3 has a high-torque turbocharged engine and power transmission to the road by quattro permanent four-wheel drive. This ensures superior acceleration and optimum adhesion in all situations. Sporty handling, high directional stability and agile mobility whatever the road surface are further characteristic features of this compact sports model.
As usual with Audi's S models, the S3 is distinguished by its distinctive yet discreet exterior design. Contoured wheel arches and large air intakes in the specially shaped front bumpers are as much a part of this as the standard xenon headlights prominent behind their clear glass covers and the fog lights integrated into the front apron.
The 17-inch "Avus" alloy wheels fitted with 225/45 R 17 W tyres also contribute to the car's sporty appearance. The integral roof spoiler and the stainless-steel tailpipes are neat visual touches at the back.
There are Recaro sports seats for the driver and front-seat passenger, with a choice of three different materials for the seat covers. The standard material for the series is Jacquard satin, while a combination of Alcantara and silk nappa leather or full silk nappa leather are available at extra charge. A total of five interior colours offer the A3 buyer a more personal choice. High-gloss lacquer applications are also available.
The extensive range of standard equipment includes the electronic stability program (ESP), the driver information system (DIS) with on-board computer and Auto-Check Control, an anti-theft alarm which monitors the car's interior, remote central locking and illuminated make-up mirrors in the sun visors.
The list of optional extras includes the SIDEGUARD side-head airbag safety system, automatic air conditioning, three audio systems, various telephone packages, a navigation system and outside mirrors with polished aluminium housings.
The S3's engine demonstrates once again Audi's long-standing expertise in turbocharging. From its cubic capacity of 1.8 litres, this four-cylinder unit develops a muscular maximum torque of 270 Nm, which is available from just 2100 rpm and remains at this high level right up to 5000 rpm. That means vivid acceleration potential in every situation. The S3 takes just 6.8 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, for instance. Power is delivered smoothly from low engine speeds and peaks at 154 kW (210 bhp) at 5800 rpm. At the same time, fuel consumption figures for this power unit, which falls within the D3 standard low-emission category, are decidedly modest: overall consumption according to 93/116/EC is 9.1 litres/100 km..
Power is transmitted to the front and rear wheels via a six-speed gearbox with a precise shift and suitably spaced ratios and an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch between the axles.
As is usual for Audi's S models, the sports suspension results in a slightly lowered body, but the S3 nonetheless offers above-average ride comfort for a car with sports suspension settings. McPherson strut suspension with new forged wishbones, new guide joints, cast steel pivot bearings and specially configured suspension geometry at the front ensures precise steering. At the rear there is independent suspension with double wishbones and a trailing arm for each wheel. The springs and the angled shock absorbers are mounted separately to save space.
Large ventilated disc brakes at all four wheels, assisted by ABS and electronic brake-force distribution, ensure that the A3 has recourse to plenty of reliable braking power.
Naturally, the S3 offers the same high level of safety as all Audi cars. In the demanding Euro NCAP crash test, the S3's structure, which is based on that of the A3, achieved the maximum of four points (NCAP = New Car Assessment Programme). High-strength aluminium beams in the doors increase protection against side intrusion. In addition, there are airbags for the driver and front passenger, side airbags integrated into the front seat backs and pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners for all four lap-and-shoulder inertia-reel seat belts.