With configurable driving modes as standard, it is very easy to make a vehicle that fits you perfectly.
Powering the S3 Saloon is a version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can also be found in the VW Golf R, but the S3 has a faster 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds compared to the ‘leisurely’ 4.9 seconds it takes the VW.Almost all of the Audi’s torque is available at a lowly 1,800rpm providing huge in-gear, out-of-corner acceleration.
The performance of the car is always available, but can leave you feeling a little cold
Fuel economy is another area where the S3’s hard to fault – 40mpg is possible with very light throttle inputs. Use it as intended and you can expect around 25-30mpg and CO2 emissions of 164g/km.
The S3 Saloon uses lightweight materials in its construction so it’s lighter than the old model. That translates into better body control and it’s more composed in fast corners. However, the Audi is effective rather than eye-wideningly brilliant on a twisty country road. If that’s your poison, the BMW M240i should be the first port of call.
The S3 Saloon gets adaptive dampers as standard. They are controlled by Audi’s Drive Select System – it changes the steering wheel weight, throttle response and ride firmness depending on which of the five modes you go for.
Sport mode makes the car more responsive, but the added steering wheel weight and firmness is not ideal for long journeys. Comfort is much better for that – it makes the S3 cosseting enough not to be tiring even after a four-hour drive. Efficiency brings a very spongy throttle response but that helps bring fuel consumption down and the light steering eases manoeuvring in the city. Auto – the best option to go for – constantly adapts to the driving conditions, while Individual lets you choose whatever combination you want.