So it’s official – the new Audi S3 is joining the third-gen A3 Sportback on the list of wheeled Paris motor show attendees. The souped-up A3 will do the century sprint in five seconds thanks to an all-new 2.0 litre TFSI which develops 300 PS at 5,500 rpm and 380 Nm of torque between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm, while being able to return up to 6.9 litres of fuel per 100 km.

The engine’s a point of interest, so let’s start there. Audi says the powerplant shares nothing with its predecessor except its 1,984 cc displacement and was designed specifically for the car. The pistons have stronger bolts and new rings, while the crankcase and conrods have been reinforced.

Boasting a high compression ratio of 9.3:1 and tipping the scales at 148 kg (more than 5 kg lighter than the previous unit), the turbocharged four-cylinder features an electromechanical sound actuator and a sound flap in the exhaust to provide a sporting soundtrack.

Indirect injection works with FSI direct injection at part load to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. FSI is used at higher loads and during starting, and can operate at pressures of up to 200 bar. The Audi valvelift system controls both intake and exhaust valve stroke – the camshaft can be adjusted steplessly through 30 degrees of crank angle on the intake side and 60 degrees on the exhaust side.

The newly-developed turbocharger achieves a max boost of 1.2 bar, and a water circuit-integrated intercooler helps keep compressed air temperatures down. Also keeping a watchful eye on heat levels are two rotary slide valves that regulate coolant flow, maintaining engine oil and coolant temperatures at their optimum levels.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard; S tronic dual-clutch and steering wheel paddles are optional. quattro permanent all-wheel drive is standard – during normal driving, the system sends most of the power to the front wheels, but when traction is lost there, a multi-plate clutch transfers torque to the rear in milliseconds. There’s launch control, too.

Kerb weight is just under 1.4 tonnes; 60 kg less than the model it replaces. Power-to-weight ratio thus stands at 214 PS per tonne, and the S3 hits the electronic buffers at 250 km/h. As on the new A3, suspension is a McPherson front, four-link rear affair. Standard rollers are 18-inchers wrapped in 225/40 series rubber.

Also standard is Audi drive select – here it influences steering, accelerator response and gearbox shift points – while Audi’s electromagnetic damper control system, called magnetic ride, is an option. LED headlamps are also an option – Audi says this is a first for the premium compact class.

Visually, the S3 isn’t worlds apart from the A3. There’s the trademark single-frame grille and a new lower bumper design with gills and inlets. Round the back, you’ll find a roof spoiler and quad oval tailpipes within a re-designed rear bumper and diffuser. Of course, there are a number of S badges here and there but even these are fairly subtle. A total of 14 exterior hues are available.

The S3 will go on sale early next year in three-door form; the five-door will follow soon after. Base price has been announced for Germany at a smidgen under €39k, while UK pricing will be revealed at the end of this year, closer to order-taking.