You’d have to look hard to spot the differences between an S3 interior and a regular A3 S-Line one, but seeing how the similarities are quality materials and impeccable finish, that’s not a bad thing. The five-door body shape also liberates more passenger room in the rear as well as more space in the boot.
The S3 Sportback is extremely quick point to point. Partly because it’s lighter than its predecessor and partly because of the quattro four-wheel-drive system that makes it more manageable on slippery roads than the rear-wheel-drive BMW M140i. Admittedly the ride is still very firm, but just about comfortable for most.
Engine wise, the S3 Sportback is hard to fault – it has a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol that gets one of the best in that size. It packs 305hp and, with the help of the quattro 4WD, accelerates from 0-62mph in less than five seconds – faster than a Ferrari Testarossa supercar from the 90s.
This being one of the most expensive version of the A3 Sportback means that it gets plenty of equipment that is optional on lesser models – 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather-upholstered sport seats and a 5.8-inch screen for the infotainment that rises from the dashboard.
The S3 is incredibly fast and can even pass as practical even if it doesn't look nearly as special as it actually is
The old S3 was a good car that had little competition at the price. However, the new one faces more accomplished rivals such as the faster, but more expensive A45 AMG, the fun to drive, but less spacious M140i and the great all-rounder (and cheaper) VW Golf R. Get the S3 Sportback for its all-round performance and superb interior or choose the cheaper Golf R and spend the money you save on some nice optional extras.
For a more detailed look at the Audi S3 Sportback, look through the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. Or, to see what kind of offers are available on the S3 Sportback, click through to our deals page.