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Why the new Audi S3 is less powerful in South Africa

The last week of July saw the launch of the new Audi A3, with the range-topping S3 derivatives immediately garnering the most attention due to their looks, features, and the fact they produce 15kW less power than the European models.

According to Audi South Africa, this is due to Audi’s product strategy for the region, with certain engines and technologies not being made available in smaller markets.

“Bigger markets or regions – like Europe – receive priority in terms of first-to-market introductions, specific features/innovations being released, as well as new engine developments like EU6, mild hybrid, and higher performance,” Audi South Africa told TopAuto.

“Smaller markets or regions – like Africa and Near East – then get allocated a different approach, all based on Audi’s global strategic intent.”

Euro 6 (EU6) engines must comply with certain emission restrictions that are generally more strict than EU5 standards and below.

According to the company, the product planning for South Africa also takes elements including fuel quality, volume potential, and climate into account.

“[This] gives our market a particular approval for the model or derivative to be introduced,” said Audi South Africa.

As such, the South African subsidiary of Audi has not been given approval to sell the higher output (228kW) S3 models in the country.

“The European engine is based on EU6 with increased power output, which then makes it irrelevant for our region,” said Audi South Africa.

Although the local Audi S3 variants have 213kW – 15kW less power than the European models – the company said the difference in power is nearly unnoticeable when you are in the driver’s seat.

“One will be incredibly surprised by the performance of the new S3 – it just drives really well and is incredibly quick. We believe that there is no compromise,” it said.

“From an Audi SA point of view, our priority will always be to bring the right product to the local market and utilise the best opportunity available to our business.”

Audi S3 specifications

The new Audi S3 models are powered by a 2.0-litre, turbo-petrol engine that connects to a seven-speed S Tronic transmission.

Power is sent to the wheels via a quattro all-wheel-drive system, which allows for a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.

This means the S3 is the most powerful model in the Audi A3 range until the RS3 arrives in the second half of 2022.

Inside, the S3 comes with leather seats, a digital instrument cluster, a large infotainment display, an S line multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, and S-exclusive styling elements that lend it a sporty look.

At a South African starting price of R810,000, the Audi S3 Sedan Quattro arguably provides one of the best bargains in its price bracket.


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