The Audi A3 is a Small Family/Compact car produced since 1996. The first two generations of A3 were based on the Volkswagen Group A platform, which they share with several other models such as the Audi TT, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Caddy, and Volkswagen Touran, as well as SEAT León, SEAT Toledo, and Skoda Octavia. The third-generation A3 uses the Volkswagen Group MQB platform.
udi released the A3-derived Audi S3 in 1999, only as a three-door hatchback. The inline-four 20v 1.8 L turbocharged petrol engine come in two versions: 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp) and 225 PS (165 kW; 222 hp). Early models (1999–2001) had 210 PS (154 kW; 207 hp). Later models (2001–2003) had variable valve timing and 225 PS (165 kW; 222 hp). The engine had a maximum of 280 N·m (210 ft·lbf) torque. This is the first time a small four-cylinder engine has been used in an Audi S-series car.
Although dubbed "quattro", the S3 uses a different four-wheel drive system. The Haldex Traction coupling adjusts the bias of torque distribution from the front to rear axle as grip requirements change – most of the time it operates as a front-wheel drive.
The S3 was sold in the Europe, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The S3 was facelifted in 2000, where it was given one-piece headlights/indicator units, different front wings, rear lights clusters, and some minor upgrades to interior trim.
Standard features include xenon HID headlamps with high pressure washers and auto levelers, front fog lamps, 17" "Avus" alloy wheels with 225/45R17 tyres, electrically adjustable Recaro leather seats, climate control, alarm and electronic stability control with traction control.
Options include a Bose sound system, boot/trunk or in-dash mounted 6-disc CD changer, metallic paint, 18-inch 9-spoke RSTT wheels, glass sunroof, centre arm rest, privacy glass (B-pillar backwards), auto-dipping rear-view mirror, parking assist, luggage net, heated front seats, cruise control, aluminium door mirror casings and part leather/alcantara (blue/silver/yellow) combination seat coverings. These items are standard in some export markets.