I recently had the opportunity to have a drive of the brilliant new Audi S3 in Sportback and Sedan versions. Audi provided the opportunity on some twisty hilly roads in a quiet section of the Yarra Valley in Victoria and other than a private racetrack, I can’t think of any better section of road to experience the pleasure that is the S3.
To read the review on the Audi A3 Sportback and Sedan please CLICK HERE. The new A3 has an inherently sporty nature but the S3 versions are something else.
The full S3 Sportback, S3 Sedan and the S3 Cabriolet range all profit from extensive new features. The heart of the S3 versions are a sublime engine, revised suspension system and the Audi Quattro drive system.
If you want the short version of these drive impressions. The Audi S3 is simply brilliant. It does have some minor faults but these are far outweighed by the balance between power, ride and dynamic handling that provides more FUN than is expected.
The new Audi S3 has raised the bar once more in performance. The 2.0 TFSI now generates 213 kW and with S tronic delivers 380 Nm in the wide range of 2,000 to 5,400 rpm. The ADR/81 consumption of the S3 Sportback has improved in conjunction with the new seven-speed S tronic by around eight percent to 6.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. By further optimising the steering characteristic and exhaust system control, the Audi S3 drives even more dynamically.
The new S3 models offer superior performance and ground-breaking efficiency. The sonorous high-performance four-cylinder unit combines cutting-edge technologies – dual injection into the combustion chambers and into the intake manifold, integration of the exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, the Audi valve lift system and a rotary valve module for the thermal management system
With the standard seven-speed S tronic, which comes with a freewheeling function, the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes just 4.8 seconds in the Audi S3 Sportback. The figure is the same for the S3 Sedan, while the Cabriolet takes 5.3 seconds. With a manual transmission (not available in the Cabriolet), the sprint time increases by 0.7 of a second. The 250 km/h top speed is electronically governed. To be honest, while the manual version is smooth and slick, I much prefer the S Tronic transmission. It is simply hard to beat in combination with the engine.
With both transmissions, lower gears feature short ratios, while the tall top gear has a long ratio for reducing fuel consumption. The driver of the new S3 controls the dual-clutch transmission with the selector lever or with the black gearshift shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The firmer S sport suspension lowers the vehicle body by 25 millimetres. Large brakes operate behind the 18-inch wheels with their S-specific design; the brake callipers are painted black (or optionally red) and adorned by S logos. The ESC stabilisation control acts with particular sensitivity.
The electrically assisted progressive steering varies the steering gear ratio – it is slightly more indirect in the centre position, but increasingly more direct when large turns of the steering wheel are made. The Audi drive select dynamic handling system is standard, with Audi magnetic ride suspension available as an option.
18-inch wheels are standard on the new Audi S3. Despite their dynamic qualities, the tyres contribute to efficiency because of their low rolling resistance. Alternatively, Audi will install 19-inch wheels on request. For particularly ambitious drivers, special 18-inch Performance tyres are available – with special tuning for even more dynamic handling. The lower profile tyres do, however, contribute to more road variations being felt through both the seat of your pants and the steering wheel.
The overwhelming theme for the S3 is sporty. This is exhibited both inside and out. The exterior design underscores the dynamism of the new S3 family. The S-specific Singleframe grill bears horizontal chrome-plated double struts and the S logo; its inlay is painted in matt platinum grey. The lower air inlets have a distinctive grid design, and the exterior mirror housings are in aluminium look. The side view is accentuated by angular sill trims in the vehicle colour.
At the rear the specific roof edge spoiler (on the S3 Sportback) or the separation edge (on the S3 Sedan) adds another striking feature. The platinum grey diffuser frames the four elliptical tailpipes of the exhaust system. In the colour range, Navarra blue, metallic and panther black, crystal effect are reserved exclusively for the Audi S3.
Housed entirely in black, the interior of the new Audi S3 has a sporty elegance. The pedal caps and footrests are stainless steel. The dials of the instruments are dark grey with white pointers; the scale of the tachometer integrates the boost pressure indicator for the turbocharger.
An S logo on the MMI monitor greets the driver when the ignition is switched on; the optional Audi virtual cockpit also contains S-specific items. Instead of the production sport seats, Audi will optionally install S sport seats with integrated head restraints and shoulder inserts in a diamond pattern.
As I mentioned earlier in the article. The S3 truly needs to driven to experience the engaging, fun, balanced experience it delivers. Surprisingly it also represents reasonably good value and while the options can be expensive, you don’t need to visit that page to procure the experience.
S3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic
Drivetrain: 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol with direct injection / 7-speed S tronic Power: 213kW at 5400-6500rpm Torque: 380Nm at 1850-5300rpm Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds Fuel consumption: 6.6 litres per 100km Exterior colour: Navarra blue Interior colour: Rotor grey
Options Metallic paint $1,050 S performance package: S sport seats with diamond pattern stitching, $3,490 18″ wheels in 5-twin spoke design, red brake calipers, magnetic ride and B&O audio system As tested $67,440 MLP Prices include GST
S3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic
Drivetrain: 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol with direct injection / 7-speed S tronic Power: 213kW at 5400-6500rpm Torque: 380Nm at 1850-5300rpm Acceleration: 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds Fuel consumption: 6.5 litres per 100km Exterior colour: Navarra blue Interior colour: Black
Options Metallic paint $1,150 Audi magnetic ride $1,600 Audi exclusive black high-gloss exterior package $850 18″ alloy wheels in 5-arm turbine design $1,350 As tested $69,450 MLP Prices include GST