Like numerous different Volkswagen Group merchandise, a 2.0-liter turbo-four motivates this sedan. However to ship efficiency worthy of an Audi S mannequin, this engine has been totally massaged to crank out a strong 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, figures which might be mainly in lockstep with the S3’s closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG CLA35. In case you’re counting, the S3 has 105 extra hp and 74 extra lb-ft of twist than an everyday A3. Managing all that fury is a typical, seven-speed, dual-clutch automated transmission that shifts with immediacy, but it is by no means clunky or tough. This is among the greatest twin-clutch gearboxes I’ve ever skilled.
Unleash the S3’s full fury and it could attain 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, the engine hitting like a roundhouse kick to the face previous about 3,500 rpm. Making certain this Audi by no means loses its footing is customary Quattro all-wheel drive. Given the S3’s efficiency, you may anticipate it to be thirsty, but it surely’s not. This automotive stickers at 23 mpg metropolis, 32 mpg freeway and 27 mpg mixed. In combined use, I am getting about 26.1 mpg, which is rattling spectacular for an all-wheel-drive luxurious automotive with greater than 300 hp.
Regardless of its rowdy character, the S3’s engine is extremely easy, feeling prefer it churns away in a crate of packing peanuts as a result of zero vibration or harshness is felt within the cabin. Regardless of its refinement, this four-cylinder can placed on fairly a present. A element known as a “soundaktor” (German for “sound actuator”) pumps up the powertrain’s vocals, emitting a shocking quantity of snarl within the S3’s extra dynamic drive setting. Refreshingly, no artificial vroom-vroom is piped by way of the sound system.
Conserving pace in verify are beneficiant 14.1-inch entrance rotors and vented rear discs. Modulating these brakes is useless easy because the pedal is nearly completely tuned, neither too gentle nor overly grabby.
Like bigger Audis, the S3’s steering is decently weighted and freed from kickback, which provides this automotive a planted and premium really feel. At low speeds, the steering additionally will get tremendous gentle for easy-breezy maneuverability and parking. Regardless of its substantial and classy five-spoke, two-color wheels (included within the $1,950 Black Optic Bundle) wrapped in low-profile 235/35 19-inch Continental VikingContact winter tires, the S3 has a dreamy journey. The best way this automotive handles bumps and roadway imperfections, it feels prefer it’s about two dimension courses bigger than it’s due to the $1,100 S Sport Bundle, which incorporates adjustable dampers. You possibly can fine-tune their firmness by switching between driving modes, however even at their starchiest the S3 is totally livable, by no means crashing over bumps or broadcasting roadway grit.
The S3’s heated, eight-way power-adjustable entrance seats hold you locked in place whereas exercising the chassis, although they don’t seem to be so aggressively bolstered as to be annoying. I notably just like the slide-out decrease cushions as a result of they make these chairs much more hospitable for taller of us. What the lengthy of leg won’t admire, nonetheless, is that this Audi’s backseat. It is brief on headroom and when you’re round 6 toes tall your knees will in all probability kiss the entrance backrests. Easing the sting is my tester’s buttery-soft Nappa leather-based. Embellished with a diamond sew sample, these rich-feeling cow hides come within the $1,250 choices group that additionally contains textured Carbon Atlas accents.
The remainder of the S3’s inside offers me some critical Eighties vibes, however not in a nasty means. The dashboard is blocky and startlingly angular, with the motive force’s air vents perched up excessive, form of like ears on the instrument cluster. Sure, there are some shiny, onerous plastics on the door panels and heart console, however there’s nonetheless loads of gentle stuff and a great deal of tech.
A ten.3-inch digital gauge show is customary, although this automotive options the out there 12.3-inch panel. That improve is bundled within the $2,250 tech bundle that additionally will get you site visitors signal recognition and a rockin’ Bang & Olufsen sound system. As for infotainment tech, a ten.1-inch touchscreen is customary and properly angled towards the motive force so it is easy to succeed in. Audi’s snappy and very intuitive MIB 3 infotainment system lives right here. Because of its unflappable responsiveness, easy menu construction and wi-fi help for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, that is one among my favourite multimedia arrays out there at this time.
Unexpectedly, the S3 lacks a conventional quantity knob, however I am not mad about it. As an alternative, the automotive has a small, touch-sensitive pad on the middle console, which helps you to skip tracks, mute the audio system and, through the use of round finger motions, increase or decrease the amount. Along with a separate dial on the steering wheel, this contact management is so responsive and exact I have never as soon as missed a bodily knob.
Serving to shield you on this loopy, unpredictable world, the S3 comes with an honest quantity of normal security tools. Frontal collision warning with a precrash system that raises the home windows and tightens the seatbelts earlier than influence is included at no further cost, as are automated excessive beams and lane-departure warning. In fact, options like blind-spot monitoring, entrance and rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise management are all out there when you pay further. A fast phrase about that final merchandise: Audi’s implementation of adaptive cruise within the S3 is best than most. The system is easy and makes the automotive monitor virtually like a monorail, although there are two uncommon facets to it. First, the management stalk for this technique is tough to see and it is fairly unintuitive. Resuming or cancelling a set pace is achieved by both pushing the stalk ahead or pulling it again, and I can by no means keep in mind which is which. And second, when the adaptive cruise is ready and also you alter the pace, it will increase and reduces by increments of two.5 mph, which is extremely uncommon. When utilizing nonadaptive cruise management, nonetheless, 1-mph increments can be found.
What’s additionally a bit surprising is that this automotive’s pricing. Skip each add-on and you may nab a 2022 Audi S3 for about $46,000, a wonderful determine. With a smattering of choices, this instance is about 10 grand pricier than that, testing for $55,890. Along with all of the choices listed beforehand, that not-unreasonable sum contains $2,800 for the Premium Plus Bundle, $1,045 in vacation spot charges and $595 for beautiful Daytona Grey pearl-effect paint. Extra exuberant colours together with two vibrant blues in addition to crimson and yellow are supplied, too.
Regardless of its petite proportions, the S3 is the true deal. It offers you all of the refinement of bigger Audis plus kickass efficiency in a smaller, extra inexpensive bundle.