The current-generation Audi S3 has been a bit of an also-ran to the iconic Volkswagen Golf GTI and R models here in the U.S., but it’s finally getting some attention with an update to the 2025 model year. So far previewed as just a prototype, the 2025 Audi S3 you will be able to actually buy will get a significant power bump and some upgraded tuning borrowed from the sportier RS3. Here’s what to expect from the updated car later this year.
Audi claims the S3’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine feeds charge to a revised turbo that maintains a constant rpm in part-load conditions, promising quicker response when the throttle is pegged. The engine now boasts 23 horsepower and 15 lb-ft of torque more than the outgoing car, up to a total output of 333 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, which now matches the most powerful version of the VW Golf R (in Europe). Note that these are European specs; it remains to be seen how the American-market vehicle might differ.
The seven-speed auto transmission now has stronger clutch compression which allows for higher starting torque and more rapid acceleration. Under full load, timing between gear shifts has been halved, along with the increased engine speed under partial load for improved responsiveness. The S3 also now gets the RS3’s trick torque splitter setup, though not all of its functionality (no drift mode). That means the S3 now gets an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch on each drive shaft for fully variable torque distribution between the rear wheels. Under the nose, the McPherson strut axle gets a new pivot bearing which doubles the negative wheel camber at the front for improved grip.
The S3 gets a new mode called Dynamic Plus, which sends as much drive torque as possible to the rear axle and the rear wheel on the outside of the curve. Although it’s checked by the ESC system in Sport mode, it’s tuned to get a little sideways if you push it. The new mode also delivers later upshifts and earlier downshifts from the transmission, and idle speed is increased from 200 rpm to 1,300 rpm to improve off-the-line performance.
The new S3 will get 18-inch steel brakes measuring 357mm in diameter and 34mm thick, which is 4mm thicker than before, wedged behind wheels wearing a choice of two new 19-inch 235/35 tires, one of which is a sport option from Falken. More details of the production version will be revealed later this year, including specific U.S. details. Don’t expect the hatch to show up here; we’ll just get the sedan.