Just a few months after Audi revealed the all-new A3 three-door hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the German carmaker will debut two new variants of the nameplate at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this week: the S3 high-performance three-door hatchback and an A3 five-door hatchback it has labeled as the 'Sportback'.
Powering the S3 is an all-new 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged, gasoline direct-injection engine that produces 296hp and 380Nm of torque through a six-speed transmission in either manual or S tronic dual-clutch form. With the manual, the 0-to-100kph sprint can be taken by the S3 in 5.4 seconds. The S tronic, however, prods the car much faster as it achieves the same run in 5.1 seconds. Top speed for the S3, regardless of the transmission choice, is electronically limited to 250kph.
Although the S3 comes with Audi's quattro permanent all-wheel drive system, the transmission sends most of the power to the front wheels. If traction decreases, however, power is transmitted to the rear axle seamlessly in just a few milliseconds to keep the car under control.
As for the A3 Sportback, Audi will offer it with both gasoline and diesel powerplants, also with either a six-speed manual or the S tronic transmission.
Of the diesel-fed engines, the most efficient one is the 1.6-liter TDI that consumes on average just 3.8L of fuel for every 100km (roughly 26.316km/L) and yet powers the car from zero to 100kph in 10.9 seconds before the car reaches its top speed of 194kph.
The standard 2.0-liter TDI, meanwhile, puts out 148hp and 320Nm and can run from zero to 100kph in 8.4 seconds before it reaches its top speed of 213kph. A more powerful 2.0-liter TDI engine, however, produces 181hp and 380Nm to propel the car from a standing start to 100kph in 7.4 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 232kph.
For the gasoline-powered A3 Sportbacks, the smallest engine displacement that will be offered is a 1.2-liter TFSI model that produces 103hp and 175Nm of torque. With the S tronic transmission, this particular model can accelerate from zero to 100kph in 10.7 seconds with its top speed set at 193kph.
Next in the lineup are two 1.4-liter TFSI engines, with the first one putting out 121hp and 200Nm of torque to give it a 0-to-100kph time of 9.3 seconds on its way to its 203kph top speed. The second 1.4-liter TFSI engine, on the other hand, produces 138hp and 250Nm for a 0-to-100kph sprint time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 213kph. This particular engine is also equipped with Audi's innovative cylinder on demand system, which deactivates the second and third cylinders at low to intermediate loads and while coasting.
The most powerful gasoline engine in the A3 Sportback lineup is the 1.8-liter TFSI that churns out 177hp and 250Nm to give it a 0-to-100kph time of 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 232kph.
Other future offerings in the A3 Sportback range are: a dynamic S model; a 109hp TCNG engine-powered model that makes use of e-gas, a fuel that Audi produces itself in sustainable manner, due in 2013; and an e-tron plug-in hybrid model that will follow in 2014.
Both the S3 and the A3 Sportback are set to go on sale in early 2013.