Fancy yourself an alternative to the Mercedes-AMG A 35 and BMW M135i xDrive? Welll, say hello to the all-new, 2021 Audi S3. As before, the S3 is available in Sportback and Sedan guises, and Audi will be rushing out deliveries as early as October this year. Prices start from around 46,000 euros (RM227k), which is also about what the A 35 costs in Europe.

Powering the S3 is a 2.0 litre TFSI four-cylinder engine that produces 310 PS and 400 Nm. A seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission is standard, sending drive to all wheels via the automaker’s quattro all-wheel drive (with hydraulic multi-plate clutch) system. Both do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds and share the same Vmax cap of 250 km/h.

Just to give you a comparison, the S3 is slightly more powerful than the AMG A35 hatch, which offers 306 PS and 400 Nm from its M260 2.0 litre four-potter. It’s quicker than the Audi though, with a century sprint time of 4.7 seconds. Meanwhile, the BMW M135i dishes out 306 PS and 450 Nm from the B48 2.0L engine, and the 0-100 km/h sprint time is tied with the S3 at 4.8 seconds.

There are several drive modes available as standard, offering varying levels of performance and auditory experience. Suspension-wise, the standard units lower ride height by 15 mm, but the optional S sport suspension with damper control can be specified for a small fee. Audi says the spread between comfort and dynamism is wider compared to the previous S3, which should make the new car more pliable on leisurely drives and more composed at speed.

A new electric brake booster has been fitted to provide a stronger and better sustained deceleration, while all four rotors themselves are internally ventilated. Clamping units are black, but sportier red ones can be had. Finally, rolling stock measures 18-inch as standard, although this can be upgraded to larger 19-inch hoops.

In terms of design, the “Edition One” models you see here in Python Yellow and Tango Red are dressed with 19-inch wheels and black accents. Both share the same Singleframe grille with rhombus pattern, aluminium mirror caps, LED lights (upgradable to Matrix LED units), and four exhaust exits.

The cabin is pretty much the same as the regular A3 Sportback and Sedan, albeit with sportier S-specific equipment. Edition One models get the newly developed Nappa leather sports seats, whereas the standard sport seats feature an upholstery that is largely made from recycled PET bottles.

In the driver’s seat, there’s a flat-bottomed, three-spoke leather steering wheel, behind which rests a 10.25-inch digital display as standard. However, the one you really want is the Audi virtual cockpit plus, which features a 12.3-inch high-res display.

This is matched with a centrally-mounted 10.1-inch touchscreen head unit that’s angled slightly towards the driver. Like the regular A3, it too features Audi’s MIB 3 operating system, complete with LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot functionalities. Available options include the ambient lighting package plus, coloured heads-up display, and the Bang & Olufsen premium sound system with 3D sound.

Lastly, the new S3 comes equipped with a host of safety features, including Audi pre sense front, swerve assist with turn assist, and lane departure warning as standard. Additional systems such as lane change and exit warnings, cross-traffic and park assist are available optionally. So, what do you think?

GALLERY: 2021 Audi S3 Sedan in Tango Red

GALLERY: 2021 Audi S3 Sportback in Python Yellow