2021 Audi S3 interior exposed in spy photos, polarizes opinions

Zac Palmer

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We’ve seen everything there is to see on the exterior of the next-gen Audi A3 and S3, but now it’s time for a peek on the inside. Our first impression: it pushes the current Audi interior design language further than any previously. The current A3 did something similar when it was launched, and much like that car, this one has already divided opinions. 

Before we get to those, let's take a closer look. The Audi family look is apparent at first glance from all the angular straight-edged lines and geometric shapes. The dash is clean, modern and awfully angular at first glance, but we’re also seeing influence from the new Mk8 Volkswagen Golf. Look no further than the tiny trimmer of a gear selector on the center console. The size and functionality of it looks identical to what's in the new Golf, but the Audi’s little switch is finished in what looks like a shiny aluminum as opposed to the piano black and silver combo in the VW.

Similarities like this are expected when two cars share a platform. However, there are plenty of distinct Audi touches, too. The center stack relies on more physical buttons than touchscreen controls, as we can clearly make out a bunch of climate control buttons tucked under the screen. It resembles what we’d expect other new Audis to look like if they didn’t have the stacked dual touchscreens. Since the A3 and S3 will be some of the cheapest Audis available, the decision to forego a dual-screen infotainment system is no surprise. There is a second screen visible in these shots, though — the Audi Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster is here and we suspect it'll be standard. 

Although the overall angular nature of the design divided opinions among our editors, one detail that stands out as a bit funky to even those generally in favor is the air vent situated just above the infotainment screen. It juts out awkwardly, and it’s not joined by a symmetrical vent on the other side.

As for the exterior, there’s nothing new that we haven’t already seen in other spy shots. This particular S3 is the hatchback, which we won’t be getting in the United States anyway. Regardless, these photos of the interior have us intrigued for the future of Audi design. This isn't just a shrunken version of pricier models, it's something different, something bolder. That's appropriate for a more youthful car like the A3. Mercedes went bold with the interiors found in the new A-Class and even newer CLA, so it’s a good thing that Audi is bringing something similar to the table.

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