With reviewers currently fawning over Mercedes latest AMG-ed A-Class, the imminent arrival of one of its foremost competitors is easily forgotten. A month or so after the 37,845 A45 arrives in the UK in August, deliveries of Audis eagerly anticipated S3 are due to begin. Heres a reminder of what to expect from Audis hottest A3, and how it differs from the standard car.
Under its bonnet is a turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI with a little under 300bhp. With help from its permanent Quattro all-wheel drive system, the S3 can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 5.1secs, although this increases to 5.4secs should you decide to save yourself 1,480 and stick with the six-speed manual gearbox over the optional seven-speed S-Tronic auto. The top speed is limited to 155mph.
Equipped with the automatic transmission, the S3 returns 40.9mpg on the combined cycle, and emits 159g/km of CO2 (40.4mpg and 162g/km for the manual). Few critics who have driven the S3 have been able to fault its powertrain, with its rasping exhaust note singled out for specific praise.
Reviewers have been less enthusiastic about the way the S3 handles, however. The new S3 is 60 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, even though its marginally longer and wider. Standard is Audis Drive Select system.
Drivers can choose between comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual modes, determining the characteristics of the S3s steering, gearbox and accelerator. Optional is the carmakers magnetic ride system that allows the driver to alter the stiffness of the suspension – which itself is set 25mm lower than a standard A3s.
Consequently, the S3s handling is polished, if a little detached, with quick, though uncommunicative steering and plenty of grip. Though firm, the ride is a marked improvement over the car it replaces.
With badges aplenty and four ovular tailpipes, distinguishing an S3 from a standard A3 isnt especially arduous. However, it remains one of the more discreet hot-hatches on the market, especially alongside such competitors as the Vauxhall Astra VXR and Ford Focus ST. Optional are full-LED headlights – a first in this segment, and 18in alloys are standard. Inside the high-quality cabin are two heavily bolstered sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and other sporting details such as aluminium drilled pedals.
Audi S3 Price
S3s start at 30,640 for the three-door, and 31,260 for the five-door Sportback. DSG adds on 1,480.An S3 saloon will be added to the line up soon, although prices for it have yet to be released.
Standard equipment is reasonably generous – including DAB radio, automatic lights and wipers and Bluetooth connectivity – although as with any Audi, a moment or two with the options list is all it takes to hike the price up significantly. Options include the MMI navigation system, a variety of active safety systems and the excellent Bang Olufsen stereo.
To save an average 2,500 on a new S3 use carwow to compare official Audi dealer prices.
Build the S3 you want and dealers will compete to offer the best price for it. You can compare offers online, alongside reviews of the dealer and the distance each dealer is from you. Dealers can’t contact you, but you can contact them. If you’re happy with an offer then buy direct from that dealer and pick it up from their showroom or have it delivered for free.