Let’s cut to the chase, paying $51,725 for a car no bigger than a Volkswagen Golf is a tough call. Especially when the Audi S3 comes with some rivals: the BMW M240i and the Alfa Romeo Giulia. There’s even some cheaper alternatives that can set your pants on fire like VW Golf R or Ford Focus RS. But can the updated 2017 Audi S3’s new luxury features and advanced digital technology triumph performance when it comes to signing on the dotted line… we’re here to find out.
When it comes to buying the four-rings – it’s not always about the car itself but more so the brand and fitting an image to a lifestyle. A lifestyle that makes everyone around us, envious. After-all, the route to all evil is lust and desire. By adding the ‘S’ stamp on the rear is more than just pretentious badge, the devil is riding shotgun on this ride.
With an updated fascia comes new sleek LED headlights and LED brow daytime lights, a new grill and an overall assertive attitude. Part of the S-Line upgraded our cute-shoe with more aggressive lower body moldings fat 19-inch wheels and sequential LED taillights just to stand out from being ordinary. There’s no denying our S3 in Glacier White is one hot tamale and the red brake calibers stand out like red shoe laces on a white sneaker. We’ll gladly pay an extra $400 for those.
Once crossing the path of the illuminated stainless steel threshold, the S3 makes an unflinching, plush proclamation with its $1450 S Sports Seat Package. The quilted, Nappa leather sport seats are absolutely divine with excellent lateral side bolstering and quality relaxation. Sadly though it comes at a price – they’re manual adjustable only, which also means no memory seating. The new digital virtual cockpit, however, is like something you’d see out of Star Trek – the adjustable menus and ability to see the navigation and speed all in one place is pretty nifty.
If we look hard enough, we can justify the S3’s practicality – while head room is a tad bit tight in the rear, back seat passengers can comfortably be accommodated. There’s plenty of storage throughout the cabin, and theirs Apple CarPlay functionality through the MMI interface that rises from the dash like a gofer coming out of its hole. Being an Audi, one can expect quality finishes and a premium atmosphere. Every surface feels upper crust and the metal finish is actual metal. Standard on the new A3/S3 is Audi’s pre-sense system that assist with an alert in the event of a frontal collision. A more advance system can be upgraded to include adaptive cruise control with stop and go function as well as automatic braking.
A little sugar never killed anyone, and the boost of power through the S3’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine gives it a sweet little kick. Chugging out 292-horsepower and 280lb-ft of torque, the S3 can be pretty quick pushing 60 mph in just under 4.5 seconds and to a top speed, governed 155 mph.
Little changes have been made to the structure – the S3 maintains a strong composure and feel for the road. The steering, suspension, and Quattro all-wheel drive cater to the drivers command and spot on to how one should feel from behind the wheel. The heavily boosted sport steering wheel felt at home in our hands and every input comes out direct and precise. The Quattro all-wheel drive manages the 292-horesepower effectively and never seems to provide any drama coming and out of corners by shuffling power to each wheel that demands the most traction.
The S3’s performance is exciting and intoxicating. It sends confidence to the drive to drive harder and faster. When reaching the max redline of the rev counter the exhaust belches a hardy note and the engine sounds more aggressive and articulate willingness. Switching between Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual modes, the S3’s ability changes depending how aggressive one driving style can be. Dynamic mode allows everything to be more assertive and on point – the gear changes never skip beat.
The S-Line is all about providing a satisfaction of performance that made all of our drivers come out the other end happy. Driving day-to-day however, there are several annoyances that we can’t but mention. The 6-seepd dual-clutch S-tronic transmission for instance is no longer a revolutionary transmission – it’s been with Audi for quite some time, and while it gets the job done when duty calls at peak performance, at low speeds its jerky, partly due to the Auto Start/Stop. The Auto Start/Stop aimed to save on fuel and emission doesn’t claim a case being delayed and sluggish – we found drivers behind us honking because the system had to take a moment to activate. It can be disengaged, but has to be every time the car is started. And the ride is uncontrollably bouncy – with a chassis this good, there should be no reason why the ride should be this jittery.
Fifty-two grand is a lot of chump change to ask for when it comes to purchasing a car that can fit in our pocket. However, we had more smiles than frowns when we arrived at our destination and got more attention than a celebrity nip slip. We easily fell in love with its simplistic charm and disobedient personality.
|2017 Audi S3 2.0T Quattro S Tronic:||$42,900|
|As Tested (including Options & Destination):||$51,725|
|2.0 Turbocharged Four-Cylinder – 292-Horsepower, Six-Speed Dual-Clutch S Tronic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±4.5 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 21/28/24 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 19 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±365 Miles|