Forbidden Fruit: 2013 Audi S3 Sportback

By Brandon Turkus

February 13, 2013

Take this as an example North American buyers: Audi doesn’t love you (or maybe thinks you don’t love it enough). If the German brand did, it’d be making plans to import its 300-horsepower, all-wheel-drive S3 Sportback to the new world.
But it isn’t. Sit here and weep with us.
Ostensibly, Audi has always stated that importing the S3 would cannibalize Volkswagen GTI sales. We’ve argued that this is a silly excuse, especially now that the most powerful VW hatch is the 256-horsepower Golf R (which isn’t even all that special). So unless Volkswagen has plans to bring out a Golf R Plus, we see no reason to deny North American buyers this speedy five-door.
Besides the 300 horsepower, the S3’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged mill delivers 280 pound-feet of torque, will snap to 60 in five seconds flat, and will return 34 miles per gallon. For reference, the VW GTI tops out at just 31 miles per gallon on the freeway, takes 6.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour, and only delivers 207 horsepower. We’ve reached out to Audi to see if it cures cancer or can revive the ozone layer, but haven’t heard back yet.
Channeling power to the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is Audi’s excellent S-Tronic, dual-clutch transmission. Sporting six gears, it should deliver quick upshifts and downshifts. There’s also an optional six-speed manual, but you’ll need the S-Tronic to hit that five-second run to 60.
Finally, Audi’s trick Drive Select system comes standard, allowing drivers to optimize the throttle response, shift points, and steering ratio independently of each other. 
Forbidden Fruit: 2013 Audi S3 Sportback
The subtle, quad-tipped exhaust of the S3 is a traditional design feature of Audi's S models, as are the larger wheels and fender flares.
Forbidden Fruit: 2013 Audi S3 Sportback
A more aggressive grille/fascia is in line with Audi's other S offerings. The headlights appear to use LEDs accents, rather than the pricier full LED setup of higher-end S models.