The Audi S3 Saloon is the performance version of the A3 Saloon. It has a similar powertrain to the S3 hatchback and S3 Cabriolet but has more rear legroom and boot space. It’s quite a niche car but buyers might also consider the Mercedes CLA45 AMG, BMW M240i and to some extent the more rough-around-the-edges Subaru WRX STi.
The A3 Saloon’s interior is regarded as one of the best in class and the S3 is the same but with added flair. The sloping roofline eats away at rear headroom, meaning the saloon falls behind the hatchback in this respect.
It’s no Porsche in the corners, but the S3 Saloon is described as competent and confidence inspiring. It’s extremely fast point to point in any weather thanks to the grippy all-wheel-drive system. The Saloon’s longer wheelbase also results in a more comfortable ride than in the hatchback.
The engine powering the S3 Saloon is used throughout the Audi range in different power levels, it’s a responsive, powerful and fuel efficient unit. In the S3 Saloon it produces 306hp and makes an addictive ‘barp’ on full-throttle gear changes if you opt for the DSG automatic gearbox.
Sitting near the top of the A3 Saloon range, the S3 gets all the juicy kit that is optional on lesser models – such as sports suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, a 7.0-inch screen for the infotainment system and heated leather sports seats.
The S3 is quite possibly the best all-round S model for the money
In their mission to fill every existing niche with a car model, Audi has created one of their best S models. It’s understated, decently comfortable, blisteringly fast, not very expensive to run and nice to look at. It’s even faster from 0-62mph than it’s bigger brother the S4. The Mercedes A45 AMG is faster and a bit more premium, but also more expensive, while the more fun to drive Subaru WRX STi can’t match the premium atmosphere of the Audi. So if you are looking for a fast and stylish four-door that you can simply get into and drive, then the S3 Saloon is the car for you.