Audi s3 2017


Audi S3 – «заряженная третья трёшка»

«Заряженный» хэтчбек Audi S3 нового поколения спраздновал мировую премьеру в рамках Парижской автовыставки. На фоне «гражданских» сородичей машина получила более мощную «начинку», но и не обошлась без спортивных штрихов внешности и интерьера.

Весной 2016 года в ходе планового обновления трехдверке подкорректировали дизайн, расширили список оборудования и сделали чуточку мощнее двигатель.

По сравнению с обычной «тройкой» Audi S3 длиннее на 11 мм и ниже на 23 мм – 4252 и 1401 мм соответственно. Ширина аналогична – 1777 мм без учета зеркал, а вот колесная база уменьшена на 5 мм. Дорожный просвет (клиренс) составляет всего 120 мм.

В целом, внешность «эс-три» выполнена в фирменном стиле немецкой компании, однако благодаря некоторым элементам автомобиль воспринимается значительно агрессивнее и более собранным, нежели «гражданская» версия Audi A3. Передняя часть «заряженного» хэтчбека бросается в глаза мощным передним бампером с интегрированными воздухозаборниками в стиле S и радиаторной решеткой Singleframe с горизонтальными хромированными ребрами и окантовкой из хрома. Наружные зеркала имеют алюминиевую отделку, что добавляет S3 определенную индивидуальность.

Силуэт «прокаченного» автомобиля за счет заниженной подвески и больших 18-дюймовых колесных дисков с S-дизайном выглядит более стремительно и приземисто, чем в случае с обычной Audi A3. Мускулистость хэтчбека подчеркивает компоновка кормы с эффектным спойлером на кромке крыши, диффузором в рельефном заднем бампере и двумя парами труб системы выпуска отработанных газов.

В целом салон Audi S3 повторяет оформление интерьера «гражданской» модели. Но имеются отличительные особенности, присущие исключительно автомобилям линейки «S».

Во-первых, это срезанное в нижней части рулевое колесо, придающее ощущение спортивности. Во-вторых, полностью виртуальный «щиток» приборов. В-третьих, сиденья с развитой боковой поддержкой и интегрированными подголовниками. Ну и конечно, о спортивной сущности трехдверного хэтчбека говорит эмблема «S3», расположенная на рулевом колесе, панели приборов и сиденьях.

В плане размещения водителя и пассажиров «заряженный» хэчтбек не отличается от своего менее мощного собрата, да и компоновка и объем багажного отделения аналогичны.

Технические характеристики. Под капотом Audi S3 расположена 2.0-литровая бензиновая «четверка» с турбокомпрессором и системой аккумуляторного впрыска топлива. Отдача двигателя составляет 310 лошадиных сил при 5800-6500 об/минуту и 380 Нм пиковой тяги при 1850-5700 об/минуту с 6-ступенчатой «механикой», а с 7-диапазонным «роботом» S tronic момент возрастает до 400 Нм при 2000-5400 об/минуту. Вся тяга передается на четыре колеса с помощью полноприводной трансмиссии quattro с многодисковой муфтой.

Благодаря таким характеристикам, компактный премиум-хэтчбек «выстреливает» до первой сотни за 4.5-5.2 секунды, а верхняя планка скорости установлена на отметке 250 км/ч. При этом своего владельца трехдверный S3 не разорит – в комбинированном режиме движения расход топлива составляет 6.4-7 литров на 100 км пробега.

В основе Audi S3 – платформа MQB со стойками McPherson спереди и многорычажной конструкцией сзади, а также электромеханическим усилителем руля, однако настройки подвески и управления принципиально отличаются от таковых на «гражданских» A3. На всех колесах применены мощные дисковые тормозные механизмы с вентиляцией.

Комплектации и цены. Рестайлинговый хэтчбек Audi S3 2016-2017 модельного года до российского рынка не доберется, а вот в Европе должен появиться летом 2016 года (правда, цены пока не оглашены). По умолчанию в список оснащения «зажигалки» входят множество подушек безопасности, климатическая установка, полностью светодиодная оптика, премиальная «музыка», полный электропакет, 18-дюймовые «катки» и т.д.

хэтчбеки спорткары C-класс премиальные Отзывы

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2017 Audi S3 First Drive Review

In the three years the latest Audi S3 has been on the market, it has impressed car writers around the world — and inspired very little in the way of passion in the marketplace. Now, Audi is putting a new face on the 2017 Audi S3, adding a few new high-tech features, and upgrading driving dynamics, hoping to light fires in the hearts of enthusiasts. But at $43,850 to start, does the S3 make any sense when there’s a more practical hatchback with nearly identical running gear, the Volkswagen Golf R, that’s roughly seven grand less?

Whether the Golf R can truly be considered competition for the S3 is up for debate; the S3 occupies an unusual place in the market. It’s a more premium offering than the Subaru WRX or even the Golf R. It’s also less powerful than the CLA45 AMG, and while it’s less expensive than the BMW M240i xDrive coupe, it’s also less sporting, less powerful, and less coupe-like. The S3, rather than falling in with a group, stands apart, doing its own thing. But is the S3 the mysterious schoolyard maverick, or the weird kid who just doesn’t have any friends?

The same 292-horsepower, 280 pound-foot turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder powers the S3 and the Golf R, and both use a Haldex all-wheel drive system, though the S3’s version pushes a bit more of the torque rearward in dynamic driving with the 2017 upgrades. The Audi skips the optional six-speed manual transmission in favor of the six-speed dual clutch also offered on the Golf R. So aside from the perpetual hatchback-versus-sedan debate, and the lack of a manual gearbox option, what’s the big difference between the Audi and the VW?

Refinement. It’s the S3’s biggest trump card over the Golf R, and it’s a difference that makes the newly refreshed S3 stand out from the rest of the performance-oriented entry-luxury crowd as well. The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class is the closest natural competitor to the A3/S3 in the American market, but even then, it’s not a precise match. While the CLA45 AMG has a healthy 63 horses on the S3, it doesn’t offer the refinement of the S3’s driving experience. Noise — whether from wind or road — is subjectively much lower in the S3 than in competitive cars, and the engine noise that does make it into the cabin has the carefully manicured feel of auditory bonsai, with boy-racer overtones totally absent. Its dual-clutch gearbox is much more refined, whether it’s being shifted by the wheel-mounted paddles or left to its own automated devices, and its optional dynamic suspension makes for a broader range of ride comfort.

If all of that sounds like it might mute or damp the sporting experience of an all-wheel drive, turbocharged, dual-clutch sport sedan, you’re clearly paying attention — but you’re missing the point. There are a plenty of raw, visceral sports coupes and sedans out there if that’s what you’re after, and they’re tons of fun to drive — at least some of the time. The song of an engine approaching redline may be pure music on a Saturday afternoon, but the drone of the same engine reverberating through the cabin on Wednesday morning is just annoying.

Yes, the S3 is incredibly fast when flung around a back road at seven tenths (push any harder and you’re either angling for a Darwin award or a vehicular homicide indictment). No, it’s not as rewarding or involving as some of the alternatives to drive, but it’s not as punishing, either. The S3 is the compact sport sedan for grownups; it’s for those who have left Golf Rs and WRXs and Evos and Focuses and their ilk in life’s rearview mirror, but who still want speed, grip, and handling. They just aren’t so willing to compromise to achieve it anymore.

In fact, the S3 only requires one real compromise from its owner: price. First, you have the $43,850 base MSRP of the 2017 Audi S3, an increase of just $400 over last year’s model. That’s still more than $7,000 dearer than a base, manual-transmission 2016 Golf R without navigation or dynamic chassis control, and about $16,000 more than a base Subaru WRX. Refinement has its price — and as configured, the price of our fully-loaded test S3 was a shade over $52,000.

Not all of the 2017 S3’s premium price tag is spent on the semi-tangibles that add up to greater comfort and quietness. Much of the price difference between the S3 and its corporate cousin comes from the advanced Audi virtual cockpit system, which replaces the analog gauge displays of the previous S3 (and current Golf R) with a 12.3-inch high-resolution display that reconfigures itself in response to the mode of the drive select system (Comfort, Sport, Sport+). Other new tech features for 2017 include the touch-based MMI input, which allows the user to draw letters directly on top of the control wheel for easier eyes-up destination entry; and standard front and optional rear collision detection systems.

And then there’s the interior. Audi has a reputation for excellent fit and finish, and that reputation is exemplified in the S3. The cabin looks and feels a lot like a slightly smaller version of the A4, but fortunately, not like a cheaper one. Brushed aluminum trim, sport seats, and a flat-bottom steering wheel add sporty touches to the otherwise minimalist, understated look of the cabin. The exterior, likewise, is typical of today’s Audis. Aside from the stockier look mandated by the S3’s shorter length, it wears its smooth surfaces and crisp edges well. For 2017, the front face is tweaked slightly, including an “undercut” headlight design, and a rear diffuser insert added to the rear bumper. LED taillights are standard; Xenon headlights can be replaced with LEDs.

Two main trims are available for the 2017 Audi S3: Premium Plus and Prestige. The base-level Premium trim offered for the A3 isn’t offered here. With the Premium Plus model, you get the S model sport suspension tune, progressive steering, full LED headlights and taillights with dynamic turn signals, keyless start/stop/entry, smartphone interface with CarPlay and Android Auto, among other features. Upgrade to the Prestige package and you’ll get the fantastic Audi virtual cockpit instrument panel display, a Bang & Olufsen 705-watt sound system, MMI navigation with voice control, Audi adaptive cruise control with stop/go, Audi side assist with rear cross-traffic alert, and more. The cost of the jump from Premium Plus to Prestige? A cool $5,500. It’s worth it, especially for the virtual cockpit, MMI navigation, and adaptive cruise control upgrades, which both improve the daily driver utility of the car through ease of use, and are some of Audi’s best halo tech features at the moment — despite the S3’s compact/entry level positioning.

In the end, the upgrades to the 2017 Audi S3 make for a sharper-looking, higher-tech, more enjoyable compact premium sport sedan. Is it enough to turn the heads of buyers aching for an all-out compact performance car? No. But for those who want more out of their car — and their life — than just railing on the limit 24/7, but don’t want to succumb to the floating beige coffins of late middle age just yet, the S3’s balance of size, price, performance, quality, comfort, and tech hits a perfectly targeted sweet spot.

2017 Audi S3 Specifications

On Sale Now
Base Price: $43,850 (base)
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @1,900-5,300 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
EPA Mileage: 21/28 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 175.8 in x 54.8 in x 77.2 in
Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Weight: 3,461 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.7 sec (est.)
Top Speed: 155 mph
Show more

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Кабриолет Audi S3 III-поколения

«Заряженную» версию открытой Audi A3 – S3 Cabriolet – официально представили на 84-м Женевском автошоу в марте 2014-го, после чего вывели на международные рынки.

Как и «родственники» по «третьему семейству», кабриолет подвергся модернизации в апреле 2016 года, внесшей не только заметные улучшения в дизайн, но и не оставившей без внимания техническую составляющую.

Что же, для начала о конкретных цифрах. Длина Audi S3 Cabriolet составляет 4434 мм, высота – 1388 мм, ширина – 1793 мм. Получается, что «эска» на 10 миллиметров длиннее и на 20 миллиметров ниже, чем обычный кабриолет A3.

«Заряженный» кабриолет из Ингольштадта выглядит очень стильно, энергично и привлекательно. И стандартный автомобиль имеет красивую внешность, а здесь она еще подкреплена спортивными штрихами S. Самыми заметными элементами можно назвать хромированную радиаторную решетку, металлизированные вставки в передних воздухозаборниках, зеркала с алюминиевым покрытием, 18-дюймовые «катки» с оригинальным дизайном, мощный задний бампер и четыре овальных патрубка выхлопной системы.

По оформлению интерьера Audi S3 Cabriolet практически полностью повторяет салоны других «троек». Усеченный снизу руль, S-эмблемы, цифровая комбинация приборов и красные акценты – вот и все отличия. Главное – эргономика находится на высоком уровне, материалы отделки качественные, а сборка идеальная.

Передние места оборудованы удобными спортивными креслами с развитой боковой поддержкой, задний диван спрофилирован для размещения двух седоков. Багажное отделение с разложенной тканевой крышей способно вместить до 285 литров поклажи.

Технические характеристики. Двигатель Audi S3 Cabriolet хорошо знаком по другим компактным «эскам». Это четырехцилиндровый турбоагрегат объемом 2.0 литра, выдающий 310 «лошадей» при 5500-6500 об/минуту и 400 Нм пиковой тяги при 2400-5400 об/минуту. Однако на «заряженном» кабриолете он сочетается с безальтернативной коробкой S tronic, передающей момент на четыре колеса. В «эс-семействе» машина без верха наименее динамична – 5.1 секунды до первой сотни, «максималка» как и у всех – 250 км/ч, средний расход топлива – 6.7 литров.

В основе Audi S3 Cabriolet – модульная «тележка» MQB. Спереди монтированы стойки McPherson, сзади – продвинутая многорычажная конструкция. Тормозные механизмы по кругу дисковые, а рулевое управление – с электромеханическим усилителем.

Комплектации и цены. На российском рынке дореформенный вариант «эс-три» с открытым кузовом реализуется по цене от 3 170 000 рублей, а вот обновленная машина 2016-2017 модельного года до нашей страны, вероятнее всего, не доберется. В плане оснащения двухдверка ничем не уступает своим «родственникам» по семейству.

кабриолеты спорткары C-класс премиальные Отзывы

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2017 Audi S3 First Drive Review

Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer

Not all vehicle refreshes are created equal. For 2017, Audi has made mostly aesthetic changes to the S3, redoing the bodywork and updating the interior to more closely match the A4. One of my favorite updates for the new model year: the Vegas Yellow exterior color borrowed from TTS and available on the S3 at no extra cost. If that’s a bit bold for your tastes, the beautiful Ara Blue Crystal is another good option, although that color runs $1,075. Regardless of which color you choose, though, the 2017 Audi S3 has been updated to better take on the competition, and I recently spent some time behind the wheel to discover how well it performs.

Like the rest of the refreshed 2017 Audi A3 family, the S3 has grown out of its baby face. It now adopts the same “undercut” headlights and hexagonal grille as the new 2017 A4. Standard LED headlights and LED taillights with sequential turn signals complete the look. Inside the cabin, the minimalist 2017 S3 benefits from a newly available Audi virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that can display all sorts of data including navigation info via crisp Google Maps images. An updated infotainment system, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and finally, USB connectivity, are also now on the list of goodies. As part of a $1,450 package, the S sport seats with strong bolsters and diamond stitching are sumptuous and supportive without being stiff, and proved perfect for spending all day on the road driving the S3 through the suburbs of North Carolina.

Under the sheetmetal, the Audi S3 has undergone few changes. The 2.0-liter turbo inline-four engine, good for 292 hp, carries over from the previous model year as does the silky smooth six-speed dual clutch transmission. Audi estimates a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds, the same as last year’s S3, but we managed to reach 4.4 seconds in that car. On the pavement as on paper, this unit proves plenty powerful—almost too powerful for what this sedan needs—although you won’t complain when you hit the gas pedal and receive a satisfyingly guttural growl as your reward. The gritty engine sound becomes sweeter the more you accelerate, proving this is not the car for subtlety. That job goes to the standard A3.

Taking a cue from the TT and TTS, the S3 receives an updated Quattro all-wheel-drive system that allows for increased rearward torque bias and won’t reduce power in an oversteer situation, making the S3 much more pliable than before. Put the car in Dynamic mode, and you’ll see the effect of this update. Driving in Comfort mode results in a much tamer experience.

Despite any misgivings you may have about entry-level luxury cars, Audi has done well for itself in that category. The automaker sold 26,571 copies of the A3 family (including all A3 and S3 variants) in the U.S. this year through October, a number that’s only about 1,000 units below the larger and newly redesigned A4. The S3 escapes much of the entry-level luxury stigma of the A3, offering improved performance and more standard features. It’s also a bit more exclusive; Audi told us the S3 accounts for only 12-15 percent of total sales for the A3 family.

But in one way, the 2017 S3 reminds us of its less expensive sibling. Just like previous A3s I’ve driven, the S3 lacks confidence when faced with road imperfections, no matter the drive mode. Even the simplest potholes and patchy road surfaces can be a chore for the S3, one indicator that the car doesn’t provide the same type of cruising luxury you’d expect from other models in the Audi stable. And when I wasn’t driving, I had a very difficult time taking notes in the passenger seat of the S3 because of the rigid ride on typical roads. Steering feels a tad unsatisfying as well. The S3 is reasonably good at keeping wind noise at bay, although it’s not nearly as quiet as the A4 Allroad I drive recently.

The 2017 Audi S3 starts at $43,850, but can reach $56,000 when loaded up. Although the price may seem a bit high due to the car’s lack of refinement in some respects, the car keeps its promise on cornering, power, and overall performance, which are much more important qualities for this car. The S3, whose closest competitor is the BMW M240i, is currently on sale now with other members of the refreshed A3 family. Next year, a 400-hp RS 3 model will arrive to challenge the 375-hp CLA45 and take its place above the S3 in the A3 lineup.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make MotorTrend.com better, faster, and easier for you to use, we’ve temporarily removed comments as well as the ability to comment. We’re testing and reviewing options to possibly bring comments back. As always, thanks for reading MotorTrend.com.

The unorthodox plan to spend quattro months each in three variants of the Audi A3 Premium Plus sedan proved its merit. Starting in a front-wheel-drive 2015 A3 1.8T, moving to a 2015 A3 TDI, and finishing off with an all-wheel-drive 2016 S3 showed us all facets of the compact, luxury, all-wheel-drive sedan: the good, the not so good, and the… Read More It didn’t take long for us to start enjoying our beloved S3’s performance. Rocketing to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds is but one of its talents. We had reserved the Big Track at Willow Springs for lapping the Lamborghini Aventador SV and McLaren 675LT, and Randy Pobst, our gentleman race car driver, wanted to first clean the track off… Read More In our yearlong tour through the compact, luxury Audi A3 range, we first enjoyed a few months with a basic A3 1.8T Premium Plus. Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” emissions controversy abbreviated our stint with an A3 TDI Premium. Our final chapter, however, has brought a smile back, as we’re driving a 2016 Audi S3 2.0T Premium Plus. The base price is $43,425,… Read More

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Audi’s S3 is a gateway drug to performance cars, with its own surprising high

If you can live without the space, and crave sports car-rivaling performance in a four-door format, there simply isn’t a better option than the S3.

American automotive enthusiasts (whose company I keep) go to the well pretty often with our new vehicle complaints. If we aren’t bemoaning the absence of a manual transmission option, we’re crying aloud for a wagon or hatchback variant. Meanwhile, Europe and its proliferation of models with both specifications, mocks us from afar.

Forums, social networks, and even the occasional letter teem with bitter language towards the automakers that dare deprive the U.S. of its most engaging or practical cars. Then, finally, a gift from heaven: one brand yields, ignoring years of admonishing sales data, to give us what we demand. Through tears of joy, we praise our hero manufacturer and jibe its holdout competitors.

Audi’s trickle-down approach fortifies the 2017 S3 with the brand’s best gadgetry.

It’s another victory for democracy, right? Wrong. Months later, the “enthusiast special” is collecting dust on dealer lots and the individual(s) responsible for its development are being chastised. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Audi, however, is a bit too smart to fall for our sob story. Its newly refreshed S3 (and upcoming RS3) will only be available in sedan body styles with dual-clutch transmissions. Enthusiasts, then, are left with a choice: we can default to childish rhetoric, or reorient to the latest form of premium performance.

What’s new?

Headlining the roster of changes made for the 2017 model year S3 is its revised Haldex all-wheel drive system.

Audi has consolidated oversight for the electronic multi-plate clutch, stability control, traction control, and ABS within one hub. This shores up response time to driver inputs considerably and aids the negotiation of torque between the front and rear differentials (which can now each take 100 percent of available grunt). Handling is further improved by tweaks to the S3’s suspension and electric steering system.

Spotting visual distinctions between the 2016 and 2017 S3 is a task for the detail-oriented. The updated front fascia includes a platinum single frame grille, standard “undercut” LED headlights, and a restyled bumper. Fresh 18- and 19-inch wheel designs are available on 235-section performance rubber. At the rear, new dynamic LED taillights, a re-sculpted bumper, and tweaked diffuser sharpen the exterior.

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Inside, the latest S3 incorporates some grade-A4 hand-me-downs. Audi’s class-leading Virtual Cockpit is finally on offer as part of a Technology Package. The vivid 12.3-inch display (twice the brightness of a smartphone screen) jazzes up an otherwise conservative cabin and makes the center-mounted infotainment look outdated. Exclusive to the S3, a sport mode configurator puts the digital tachometer front and center, with a boost meter and lap timer sharing display real estate. Audi’s latest MMI Touch interface includes a track pad that can interpret finger-drawn letters and adopts both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces. Audiophiles can also pump tunes through a Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker, 705-watt sound system.

Audi’s trickle-down approach fortifies the 2017 S3 with the brand’s best gadgetry and contemporary visuals, but the most dynamic improvements are experienced at speed.

Premium muscle

Unlike the euro-spec car, Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder carries over unchanged for 2017, meaning 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque makes its way to all four wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission. Sure, Audi could have granted a bit more grunt, but with a quoted 0 to 60 mph run of 4.7 seconds (and an even faster real-world sprint), the S3 has ample motivation.

A fool could climb into the drivers seat, mash the throttle mid-corner, and keep all four tires on tarmac through to the exit.

The ambling roads surrounding Durham, North Carolina couldn’t hope to uncover the S3’s performance limits, but they did afford a practical demonstration of Audi’s AWD modifications. Grip is a given in any modern Audi product, but the latest S3 hugs the road beyond reasonable driver fault. A fool could climb into the drivers seat, mash the throttle mid-corner, and keep all four tires on tarmac through to the exit. “Sure,” you’re thinking, “any traction control system can cut power when things get dicey.” True, but Audi’s torque-vectoring control is so good that traction control hardly ever steps in at all. Further, the automaker now says its Dynamic drive mode will hold the computers at bay to allow oversteer. I’ll save that use-case for a track.

Manufacturers tend to overcompensate for the lack of feel inherent to an electronic steering system with an over-boosted, sensitive rack. As a result, the car feels nervous when cruising or maneuvering anywhere besides tight switchbacks. The S3, by contrast, uses a balanced system that relies on precision rather than artificial weight or cat-like frenzy. Though the S3 is based on the same platform as Volkswagen’s Golf R, it feels more stable and sophisticated. It’s also about 200 pounds heavier, weighed down by convenience features.

Until the RS3 arrives in the summer of 2017, the S3 champions Audi’s more affordable performance lineup. Only those savvy to the brand’s understating tendencies will recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

New luxury

Luxury is changing. A set of plush seats and pillow-soft ride isn’t enough to groom lifelong customers. By the same token, minimalist cabins won’t deter high-end shoppers – provided the right touches of styling.

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

Miles Branman/Digital Trends

The 2017 S3 embodies the graduation of consumer appetites perfectly. As Audi’s gateway drug, it uses just enough premium materials and rides with an agreeable level of comfort to make mainstream buyers feel like they’ve moved definitively into the premium segment. A uniquely handsome exterior, artistic cabin design, and the aforementioned host of technology options complete the luxury picture.

Consumers can certainly take their $42,900 elsewhere to find a larger, more comfortable vehicle, but they won’t find performance, design, and refinement to parallel Audi’s spicier A3.

Our take

With a carefully selected list of updates, Audi has given new life to its stellar S3. American enthusiasts won’t stop hollering for a hatchback, or a standard transmission, but the absence of features doesn’t handicap the S3’s success.

The premium four-door is astonishingly quick, agile, and composed, benefitting from a more intuitive drivetrain and refined steering calibration. Its sharp exterior and segment-leading convenience features grant first-time luxury buyers the same pleasures as can be found in far more expensive models. Audi is effectively spreading its design and driving dynamic excellence to every corner of its lineup.

Highs

  • Brilliant all-wheel drive system
  • Natural, progressive steering
  • Handsome, understated design
  • Fierce acceleration

Lows

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2017 Audi S3 One Week Review

When someone hands you the keys to an Audi S3, your heart rate is gonna go up. There’s nothing you can do about it. After all, just look at that blazing Vegas Yellow paint job. Those 19-inch Audi Sport titanium-matte wheels wearing summer performance Pirelli P Zeroes. That black Nappa leather interior with the thickly padded S Sport seats and racy flat-bottom steering wheel. Or check the spec sheet: 292-horsepower turbo four, quattro all-wheel drive, adaptive magnetorheological shocks, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic shifter. Mmmmm. Can we go now?

That’s precisely how I felt when this little beast showed up on my doorstep. Deadlines? Uh, might be a little late this time. I’ve got an S3 calling my name.

I’ve always been a fan of the “S” model cars from the sorcerers of Ingolstadt. “Regular” Audis are appealing enough already, but with an S version you gain an edginess, flashier materials, more dramatic styling elements, and a whole lotta hard-charging pony power. The S3 sedan is no different. You can see the muscle bulging right out of those conventional A3 clothes. Careful, it might bite.

The 2017 edition arrives with mostly minor but welcome updates. The new face is more angular and aggressive, with LED headlights standard (as are LED taillights). Torque is now managed with “RS Strategy,” which biases the distribution far more toward the rear. Reworked front and rear diffs can each manage 100 percent of the torque, as required. Standard quattro all-wheel drive is improved thanks to better integration with the on-board stability-control system.

More significant, though, is the addition of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instrument display, an optional, multi-function color screen set right in front of the driver where the main gauges usually go. More on that in a moment.

The S3 lights off with an emphatic rumble that leaves no doubt there’s something special under that glowing hood. I got to find out right away as I merged onto LA’s 405 freeway and flattened the gas. Oooooohhhh, sweeeeeet! The direct-injection turbo four is a fiery devil, able to kick the S3 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and on to a governed 155 mph top end. It seems to fall off a bit just before redline, so I found myself shifting early with the paddles, but with max torque available at just 1,900 rpm the mill has plenty of range.

On the highway, the S3 will surge smartly forward in top gear with just a nudge of the gas. The shifter itself delivers quick and efficient gear-changes when summoned manually, and in full-auto mode remains eager to change up or down to keep the turbo on the boil. One complaint: even in manual, the tranny always upshifts automatically at redline. There’s no holding the engine at the top of the tach as you scream through a turn; the box is gonna shift on its own.

Steering is quicker than an A3’s, of course, and selecting Dynamic mode on the Drive Select system adds some heft to the feel. I had a blast hurling the S3 through my favorite Malibu mountain passes, but as with most Audis, grip eventually gives way to understeer. It’s entirely predictable, though, and simply easing off the throttle a tad will bring you right back on course.

The ride, aided by those optional magnetic shocks, is firm without being overly so, and in any case a simple toggle of Drive Select allows tailoring the suspension response (along with the throttle, steering, and exhaust) from Dynamic into Comfort, Individual, or Auto modes. In Individual, you can separately adjust the steering feel, suspension stiffness, throttle response, and exhaust action into a recipe that’s all yours. Dial up your pre-set Individual mode before a good mountain romp, then dial back to Comfort when ferrying the kiddies to school. Everyone wins.

To me, Audi cockpits rank among the most sophisticated and attractive in the auto world, and the S3’s is all that and then some. The optional S Sport seats ($1,450) fit like a tailored suit and cradle you like a friendly bear. The perforated leather wheel is stellar. And the technological systems are as advanced as they are abundant. My tester was outfitted with the optional Prestige package ($5,500), which adds everything from navigation to rear-cross traffic alerts, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control (which can bring the car to a full stop and automatically re-accelerate when able), and an impressive Bang & Olufsen audio system.

The star of the Prestige option, though, is that new Virtual Cockpit. Instead of a conventional speedo, tach, an ancillary gauges, the virtual screen features a single 12.3-inch color display capable of showcasing a combination of engine instruments, navigation maps, phone and media info, and more. Until you’ve seen a foot-wide, high-res, moving Google Earth 3D map with highlighted nav instructions scrolling right alongside your digital tachometer, speedometer, and music-system selection, you haven’t realized how much you’ve always wanted a dash like this. Depending on your whims, using the large MMI controller in the center console or buttons on the wheel, you can call up screens that highlight the moving map, or the infotainment system, or big standard gauges, or a number of other configurations. There’s a lot of data arrayed on that giant pad, but in typical Audi fashion, it’s beautifully laid-out and a joy to use. For sure, you’ll be seeing more and more dash displays like this in the future.

There’s a lot to love about the S3 — speed, build quality, refined rakishness — but no review of the car would be complete without mentioning the elephant in the room. This sleek, high-velocity four-door starts at $43,850 and climbs fast with options. My test car, equipped with the above-mentioned add-ons plus the $2,000 Black Optik package (including the big wheels and tires, mag-ride shocks, and various exterior upgrades), checked in at $52,600.

That’s getting up there, and that brings us to the “elephant:” Volkswagen’s Golf R. It’s got the same powertrain, same all-wheel-drive system, and basically the same architecture underneath. And with a lot of the same equipment (including a dual-clutch shifter) you can get one for $40,195. Mind you, the Veedub is nowhere near as luxe inside as the S3, and it lacks a lot of the Audi’s cutting-edge tech (including that fabulous Virtual Cockpit), but for a driver hungering only for the main go-fast ingredients, the Golf R offers a value proposition that can’t be ignored.

Whatever the bottom line, though, the S3 deserves its admirers. Plenty of Audi fans have proven themselves willing to pay to fly first-class; there’s no question the S3 ups the ante on style and savoir faire over its VW pretender. Ah, that reminds me of yet another monkey wrench I should throw into the discussion: Coming this summer is the new 2017 Audi RS 3—with 400 horsepower and priced around $55-60K. Wow. Maybe what you’re really going to want to do is spend even more.

ON SALE Now
PRICE $43,850/$52,600 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 2.0 DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4/292 hp @ 5,400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 21/28 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 175.8 x 70.7 x 54.8 in
WHEELBASE 103.6 in
WEIGHT 3,500 lb
0-60 MPH 4.7 sec
TOP SPEED 155 mph (electronically limited)
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