2017 Audi S3Change Vehicle
of the 2017 Audi S3 base trim shown
From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team
- Smooth-revving, strong engine
- Quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission
- Cabin roominess for class
- Digital instrumentation's graphics quality
- Massive standard power moonroof
- Standard leather upholstery, aluminum trim
- Overly firm adaptive suspension
- Unremarkable handling
- Limited steering feedback
- Mostly manual adjustments for optional S sport seats
- Gas-pedal lag
- Minimal in-cabin storage
- Performance version of A3 sedan
- 292-hp, turbo four-cylinder
- All-wheel drive standard
- Automatic emergency braking standard
- Color LCD instrument panel available
- Adaptive suspension available
Audi's flyweight sports sedan is powered by a turbo four-cylinder that punches hard, but the optional magnetic ride suspension's ultra-firm tuning needlessly beats you up.
Versus the Competition
The S3 is one of the less expensive models in its class. Its cabin offers more room, but a rough ride and uninspired handling dampen its appeal.
Audi has spread its S performance sub-brand across its car lineup, including everything from the full-size S8 luxury sedan down to the subcompact S3. It's a strategy also followed by fellow German luxury brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Those brands offer, respectively, the M240i coupe and AMG CLA45 sedan as S3 competitors (see all their specs compared here).
The S3 has standard all-wheel drive and starts at $43,850, including a $950 destination charge, but our test car came to $51,325 with optional features including navigation, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, a configurable LCD instrument panel, 19-inch wheels with summer tires, a magnetic ride adaptive suspension, manually adjustable S sport seats, and a Bang & Olufsen premium stereo.
How It Drives
The S3's personality is much different from that of the A3 sedan on which it's based, and its hard-edged character comes through in the magnetic ride suspension's tuning. The ride is quite firm, choppy and, on rougher surfaces, sometimes brittle — even in the Drive Select system's Comfort mode, it doesn't deliver anywhere near a comfortable ride. Choosing the Dynamic setting firms up the suspension even more and makes the ride even busier.
A firmly tuned suspension doesn't automatically mean a car will be entertaining to drive, and the S3 proves that. Body roll is well controlled in corners, and quick steering turn-in swings the nose nicely into corners, but the S3 ... Read more
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A serious upgrade all over
Awesome car! This car is like eye candy. Great handling, love all the bells and whistles. Pretty nice gas mileage, filling the tank up once a is way cheaper. Read full review
Small trunk, great style, good performance, price point a little high for size of vehicle. Its an Audi so AWD adds to security on the road Read full review