Audi’s S3 was introduced in 2015, and it brings pleasing levels of performance to the compact luxury sedan segment. The S3 entices with sharp handling, a sumptuous cabin and a relatively reasonable price tag.
Audi has made a name for itself by providing a value-oriented take on Germanic automotive excellence. The S3 is a high-performance variant of the Audi A3 compact sedan, and it perfectly embodies all the attributes that have helped the brand carve an enduring niche. The S3 expertly balances luxury and performance, and it does so while maintaining a relatively accessible price. It’s a good choice for shoppers seeking a sporty premium sedan that won’t break the bank.
The Audi S3 is a compact luxury sedan with seating for five, and its sheet metal is elegant but understated. A large six-cornered grille rules the front fascia, while alloy wheels are visible in profile.
S3 buyers have just one engine choice. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder power plant lives under the hood, and it provides 292 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard, and all models are governed by a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Crisp acceleration and responsive handling combine to create a thoroughly engaging driving experience when you’re behind the wheel of the S3. There’s no mistaking the upgrade in power and performance when the car is compared to its A3 sibling. Keep in mind, though, that ride quality can be a bit firm in daily driving.
The S3’s cabin comes with a healthy share of Audi style and refinement. Materials quality is top notch, and the design all throughout is stylish and thoughtful. The car’s compact footprint brings some compromises. Front-row passengers enjoy lots of room, but space is tight in the second row. There is also a dearth of cargo capacity, as the S3 offers just 10 cubic feet of space in the trunk for your belongings.
This little sedan offers no shortage of standard features. All models come with amenities such as a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control and heated front seats. Base models also come with a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio.
Available features include power-folding side mirrors, a navigation system and a premium sound system. Driver-assistive features such as lane departure intervention and blind spot monitoring are available.
For 2016, a rearview camera was added to the S3’s list of standard features, along with front and rear parking sensors. The top trim level welcomed a bundle of driver-assistive technology as standard equipment.
The 2017 model year brought a minor cosmetic refresh. Forward collision mitigation became standard on all models, and rear cross-traffic alert, a USB port and a revised infotainment system became available.
The S3 should be cross-shopped against the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and Acura ILX. Another rival is BMW M235i, and while this model offers outstanding performance, it comes with just two doors. Less luxurious options include the Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru WRX STI. While every competitor listed above is a capable choice, the S3 stands apart on the strength of its commitment to both luxury and performance.
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