Some prototype drives of the next-generation 2020 Audi S3 have recently been released, mostly by European publications. While the new S3 seems to be an improvement over its predecessor in almost every way, there’s one area where it hasn’t improved at all — its engine. So why is that?
Well, when asked about this, Audi execs gave most journalists a similar answer and it has to do with emissions. Current European WLTP (World Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) emissions standards are very strict and are only getting stricter. So while the 2020 Audi S3 will be an entirely new car, it will have the same engine as the car it replaces, simply due to emissions restrictions.
That’s a bit disappointing for fans, as it would have been nice to get a performance increase. Instead, the new Audi S3 will continue to make 310 hp (306 bhp) and 295 lb-ft of torque as before (for European models, US specs haven’t been revealed). While those aren’t poor power figures, they’re not improved at all over the current car and that’s what’s a bit of a bummer.
Having said that, it should still be quick. That engine is still going to be paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive. Audi hasn’t given any performance figures yet but expect 0-60 mph to happen in around the same 4.7 seconds as the current Audi S3. It might be a touch quicker, this newer car, thanks to being a touch lighter. But it’s not likely to be significantly faster.
Instead, the 2020 Audi S3 will be sweeter to drive, more comfortable, more high-tech and more spacious. That’s mostly due to a new centralized brain that controls all aspects of the car itself, rather than having several different control units for the dampers, drive select modes, traction control, all-wheel drive system and engine ECU. Now, it’s all one cohesive unit, which can act and respond quicker, making it a more capable, more dynamic car.
So while it won’t really be any faster, it will be better in every single other way. Let’s just hope the Audi RS3 gets a performance bump.