2025 Audi S3: Bringing Some RS 3 Magic Into the Mix

Published on February 12, 2024 in First Drives by Gabriel Gélinas

The road heading down the mountains of Dhofar in Oman is like a mini-Stelvio Pass, with plenty of turns including a few hairpins. This is where we got the opportunity to drive a camouflaged prototype of the upcoming new Audi S3. With neon orange accents on the front fascia and wheels, it looked almost like a trail running shoe.

Inside, only the instruments and centre display remained visible on the dashboard, as everything else was kept under wraps to hide the final design of the cockpit.

While pushing the S3 at high speeds, we noticed that the car is eager to attack corners and happy to drift when sprinting out of them, showing an even more playful side than its predecessor. One reason for that is the addition of a Torque Splitter from the almighty RS 3.

Photo: Audi AG

The Difference Maker

Arguably the ace up the new S3’s sleeve, the Torque Splitter consists of two multi-plate clutches that handle torque vectoring from one side to the other. In Dynamic Plus mode, it sends more torque to the outside wheel, causing the little sedan to oversteer.

This new system positively enhances handling when compared with the previous S3. Forget about a Drift mode, however. The only way to enjoy that is with the RS 3, which we also got to sample on a closed track back in the fall of 2021.

Photo: Audi AG

Other than the Torque Splitter, the new S3 benefits from revised front suspension geometry with a McPherson strut design that doubles wheel camber for quicker turn-in. Additionally, a progressive steering system means the more you turn the steering wheel, the more direct steering becomes.

Extra Power and Torque

The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine nestled under the hood now generates 328 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Just as important, the turbo is pre-loaded in order to ensure immediate throttle response, and shifts from the S tronic tranmission are twice as fast as before. The result is 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.

To handle that extra performance, the S3 is fitted with 18-inch ventilated discs and dual-piston callipers up front, plus Bridgestone Potenza Sport tires in a size of 235/35R19.

Photo: Audi AG

Despite being quicker and more potent, the new S3 isn’t blessed with an exceptional powerplant like the 2.5-litre five-cylinder in the RS 3, which sadly is not available in Canada, but as we’ve  mentioned above, the addition of the Torque Splitter combined with other chassis optimization makes the car more playful and more fun to drive than in the past.

Again, we need to remind you that we tested a pre-production prototype that was still wearing camouflage on the exterior and concealing part of its interior. We expect an official debut to take place later this year, at which point we’ll be able to comment on styling, technology and refinement.  

Photo: Audi AG

The new 2025 Audi S3 sports sedan will arrive in Canadian showrooms next winter. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. The five-door Sportback variant that’s available in Europe and other markets is still not slated to come to Canada, which is a real shame.

Watch: 2022 Audi RS 3 First Drive

Test drive report
Test model 2024 Audi A3
Trim level N/A
Price range N/A
Price as tested N/A
Warranty (basic) 4 years/80,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 4 years/80,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) N/A
Options N/A
Competitive models Acura Integra, BMW 2 Series Coupe, Cadillac CT4, Mercedes-Benz CLA, MINI 3 Door, MINI 5 Door
Strong points
  • More powerful engine
  • Sharper handling
  • Torque Splitter from RS 3
Weak points
  • Prices are likely to go up
  • Still no five-door variant in Canada
Editor's rating
Fuel economy N/A Hard to assess fuel economy when driving a pre-production prototype.
Comfort 4.0/5 Just activate Comfort mode through Audi Drive Select to soften the ride.
Performance 4.5/5 Definitely improved, and the addition of a Torque Splitter from the RS 3 has something to do with it.
Infotainment 4.0/5 Again, this was a prototype. However, we expect the system to be similar to the one in other Audi models.
Driving 4.5/5 So fun to drive. The brakes are strong and the S3’s progressive steering is a nice improvement.
Overall N/A Now with enhanced performance and more dynamic handling, the S3 is better than ever.
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