Audi S3 Sportback and A3 facelift first official pictures

Published: 24 April 2008

Audi has facelifted the A3 and while the tweaks can at best be described as mild, a new S3 Sportback has joined the line-up. The hot five-door runs the same 261bhp 2.0-litre TFSI engine found in the three-door S3, and of course the quattro four-wheel drive system is standard.

The exterior cosmetic surgery brings the looks of the A3 Cabriolet to the rest of the range. Tweaks include new headlights with standard daytime running lights and a new grille. The optional bi-xenons feature LEDs while the rear end of the A3 also gets new tail lights and a revised rear bumper that lengthens the car.

What about proper engineering tweaks for the facelifted Audi A3 and S3?

The VW Group’s new seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox will be available with the 1.6, 1.4 TSFI and 1.8 TFSI engines, while others engines will have the option of the six-speed S-tronic box. The semi-auto system is standard on the 3.2 quattro. Audi’s magnetic ride system also becomes an option on higher-end models, while tweaks to petrol engines cut consumption by as much as 15 percent.

Audi was the first premium manufacturer to offer a small hatch back way back in 1996, and the changes to the A3 should keep it fresh while Ingolstadt launches a whole raft of niche products over the next few years.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy