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2008 Audi S3

We like to dream every so often. Which is a good thing, because our dreams of the Audi S3 coming to port here in the U.S. will, most likely, never become reality. We don't, after all, get the 3-door version of the A3 on which the S3 is based. But what those lucky Europeans get is an all-wheel-drive, 265-horsepower hot hatch capable of hitting 62 mph in 5.7 seconds. The S3 uses a much revised, strengthened version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in the Volkswagen GTI, the Audi A3, and myriad other VW/Audi products, with much of the power boost (up from 200 horsepower) coming from a larger turbo and new intercooler. Audi also claims that the S3's peak torque output of 258 lb-ft remains constant from 2500 to 5000 rpm.

To show off this newfound aggressiveness, the S3 gets 18-inch wheels, aluminum side mirrors, and a new front fascia with larger air intakes. Inside, the pedals, shift knob, and air vents are all aluminum, and Audi has added sport seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel similar to the one found in the new TT. The base price, in Germany, is 35,150 Euros ($44,799).

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