Sizzling hatchback followers haven’t had lengthy to attend for the brand new Audi S3 as a result of this model was launched at nearly the identical time because the common Audi A3 on which it’s primarily based. You’d purchase the brand new one for its styling and hi-tech inside, however in some methods the S3 feels similar to its predecessor. Given the dimensions of the S3’s present fanbase, that may not be such a foul factor.
The two.0-litre petrol engine stays, with a largely unnoticeable 10bhp improve to 306bhp, and it’s hooked up to Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed automated gearbox – which is now the one possibility, because it was much more in style than the final automobile’s six-speed guide. Apart from having just a few bhp additional, the Audi S3 has the identical structure as its arch rivals, the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A 35, and which means the 4.8-second 0-62mph time is fairly comparable too (to not point out matching the outdated automobile).
The UK’s high 10 quickest scorching hatchbacks 2022
A brand new computerised characteristic goals to tie all of the parts collectively higher than earlier than, and it really works to some extent. You may discover barely extra exact steering (though we’d nonetheless prefer it to be extra communicative), whereas it appears barely extra composed over bumps and off-camber corners. The quattro system is behind the magic right here, with numerous traction and the power to go simply as quick when the climate turns.
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The styling is new and provides some pleasure, with daring slashes, massive wheel arches and fancy LED lighting tech. It makes the outdated automobile look comparatively plain, however the S3 hardly stands out from an S line automobile in look. Regardless of having 4 (useful) exhausts and a honeycomb grille – and people S3 badges – the highly effective Audi have to be one of the refined scorching hatches. It’ll attraction for those who assume the Honda Civic Sort R or Ford Focus ST look a bit too garish, or if you wish to shock unsuspecting drivers. The S3 Vorsprung trim degree provides a black styling pack and greater wheels for a meaner look, however the identical styling additions can be found on the common A3 S line too.
Modifications from an A3 S line are simply as minor inside however the newest Audi inside gained’t go away you feeling shortchanged. Two screens measuring no less than 10 inches dominate the cabin, which feels state-of-the-art however maybe a little bit busy – there are rows of buttons on practically each floor, and air vents mounted awkwardly atop the sprint.
The brand new Audi S3 is on the market in Sportback (hatchback) and saloon physique kinds, however there gained’t be an S3 convertible or a three-door hatch on this era. The S3 now sits beneath the Audi RS 3, which will get even sharper seems to be, practically 400bhp and an much more costly worth. It steals the highlight from the S3, primarily as a result of it’s presently the UK’s fastest-accelerating scorching hatchback.
Audi S3 manages roughly the identical gas financial system as rivals
An Audi A3 with a petroleum engine is alleged to handle round 50mpg, which could make the S3’s 34.9mpg determine look a little bit disappointing. It’s price remembering, nevertheless, that the S3 has simply over twice the facility of the 148bhp 35 TFSI engine, and unsurprisingly its scorching hatch rivals are fairly properly matched. You gained’t discover a competitor that manages 40mpg on the WLTP cycle, and the quattro all-wheel-drive system doesn’t appear to dent gas financial system an excessive amount of – in any case, the much less highly effective Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30 N will each obtain round 34mpg.
The S3’s 183g/km CO2 output means it’ll be an costly proposition for company-car drivers. Now, it’s expensive to tax for personal consumers, too, as a result of including even metallic paint will tip the S3 over the £40,000 threshold. As soon as a automobile prices greater than that, it’s topic to a bigger VED (street tax) invoice of practically £500 a yr for the primary 5 occasions you renew. With extra energy, the S3 may also be dearer to insure than a daily A3, though it has the identical three-year guarantee and repair plans will probably be accessible.
A lot of grip and simple to drive quick, however there are extra thrilling scorching hatches than the Audi S3
A 2.0-litre petrol engine and four-wheel drive have grow to be the Audi S3’s hallmarks, and the brand new mannequin doesn’t do something completely different. A lot is carried over straight from the outgoing automobile and, whereas energy and torque are very barely up on earlier than, the brand new S3 is simply as fast because the one it replaces. The 0-62mph dash takes 4.8 seconds and you may hit a restricted high pace of 155mph.
A seven-speed automated gearbox is likely to be customary this time round however fortunately it flicks between gears shortly. It’s a well-known gearbox however appears to have been given a extra centered really feel for the S3, and you should utilize paddle shifters if you wish to change gear your self.
Most quick Audis appear to supply little in the best way of steering really feel, and the S3 is far the identical – though it’s correct and well-weighted once you put it within the Dynamic driving mode. Sport mode barely reduces the impression of the traction management, whereas Consolation takes out the harshness of uneven tarmac.
No matter setting it’s in, there’s no scarcity of grip; the quattro system is basically confidence-inspiring and makes the automobile’s tempo accessible. Its purpose appears to be to can help you nook as shortly as potential, and even difficult off-camber corners don’t unsettle it.
Hello-tech and splendid, with sporty touches added for the S3 too
The clear traces and minimalist look of the final Audi S3’s cabin have been changed by a extra tech-focused method. The ten.25-inch touchscreen has moved to the centre console, and a Digital Cockpit digital instrument cluster is customary.
It’s good that Audi hasn’t used the touch-sensitive sliders for the local weather management features that you just’ll discover on the Cupra Leon and Volkswagen Golf R, however the cabin does look a little bit overstyled from the driving force’s seat. The air vents appear to be one thing of an afterthought, whereas there are many buttons and stalks.
Like the outside, most of what you see is shared with much less highly effective S line fashions, though the S3 does get yellow stitching and the choice of carbon trim. Customary tools contains 18-inch alloy wheels and Nappa leather-based upholstery, whereas Vorsprung trim features a black styling pack, larger wheels, a B&O Premium Sound system and matrix LED headlights. A Consolation & Sound choices pack bundles collectively gadgets like a reversing digital camera and an upgraded stereo system; different choices like a panoramic sunroof and a powered tailgate can be found too.
The Audi S3’s four-wheel-drive system eats into boot house
Longer and wider than earlier than, the brand new Audi S3 has additional head and legroom in each rows of seats. It’s simply spacious sufficient for 4 adults, though the small fifth seat and the transmission tunnel under it means travelling with 5 individuals on board will probably be cramped on longer journeys. There are massive door pockets, a brand new cubby to your cellphone and a few different storage areas, plus nets on the seatbacks.
Whereas lesser front-wheel-drive Audi A3s have a 380-litre boot, the mechanicals of the all-wheel-drive system provide you with a barely smaller boot at 325 litres. It’ll nonetheless be nearly large enough for many household wants, and is 40 litres larger than the boot within the extra highly effective RS 3. Folding the S3’s 40:20:40 seats will increase the accessible house to 1,145 litres. Plainly the S3 saloon gives the identical baggage capability, however with out the flexibility of the hatchback’s full-height boot opening.
The S3 ought to get an important security rating, whereas Audi is way from the worst premium model as rated by prospects
Among the expertise is likely to be new however the platform, engine and gearbox are all carried over from the final automobile, so we’d hope any widespread issues have been ironed out. The truth that one in 5 Audi house owners reported a fault within the first yr of possession suggests in any other case, nevertheless. Audi completed twenty third out of 29 manufacturers in our 2021 Driver Energy proprietor satisfaction survey, under all different premium manufacturers. Jaguar and Volvo completed seventh and ninth respectively; BMW was twenty first.
With the Audi A3 and its derivatives set to be big-selling fashions for the corporate, something however a five-star Euro NCAP rating is successfully out of the query. Thankfully, the Audi A3 (and the S3 because it’s so comparable) lived as much as expectations when it was crash-tested in 2020. New expertise contains Car2X, the place the automobile communicates with different automobiles and native infrastructure to warn of accidents and site visitors, whereas customary tools contains autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian and bike owner detection and lane-departure warning.
Vorsprung provides additional options resembling adaptive cruise management, lane-change help, self-parking potential and traffic-sign recognition. Many of those options could be added to the usual trim as elective extras.