The S3 sets itself apart visually from the more run-of-the-mill A3 sedan with more aggressive front and rear body work, an "S3" badge in the grille, and unique wheel options. Inside, the S3 has sport bucket seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel and available two-tone interior color options to enhance its sporty demeanor.
Befitting its performance-oriented mission, the S3 comes standard with Audi's drive select system, allowing drivers to fine-tune the behavior of the car's steering, throttle, suspension and adaptive cruise control (if equipped).
Like the A3 on which it is based, the S3 can carry five adults and up to 15 cubic feet of cargo. It can be ordered with Audi's MMI infotainment system at an extra cost. MMI groups the car's entertainment, connectivity and navigation (if equipped) functions into single operating system controlled by either a knob and a series of buttons found on the center console or a voice recognition function. The centerpiece of the system is a high-definition color screen mounted on top of the dashboard.
Another notable high-tech feature offered on the S3 Sedan is Audi connect, a software that provides a Wi-Fi connection and lets passengers find places of interest, travel information, weather reports, fuel prices and even access satellite images from Google Earth.
Under the Hood
The S3 sedan comes standard across the range with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder TSI engine making 292 horsepower from 5,400 to 6,200 RPM and 280 lb-ft of torque from 1,900 to 5,300 RPM. Power gets to the wheels by way of Audi's tried-and-true six-speed S-Tronic dual clutch automatic transmission and torque-vectoring Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Trim level breakdown
Audi offers the S3 Sedan in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.
Premium Plus comes standard with leather upholstery, a multi-function steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, a 12-way power driver's seat, a ten-speaker stereo system, a driver information system integrated into the instrument cluster, Audi drive select, a 90-day trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a SD card slot, automatic wipers and headlights, Xenon headlights, LED tail lamps and power mirrors.
Prestige adds on full LED headlights; MMI navigation plus with voice control, MMI touch and Audi connect; Bang & Olufsen 14-speaker surround sound, Audi side assist and parking assistance system with a rear view camera.
Buyers who wish to pick and choose their options should start with the Premium Plus trim. Navigation (including MMI touch and Audi connect), full LED headlights, red brake calipers and the Bang and Olufsen system can be added as standalone upgrades. Available bundles include the Convenience package, which includes heated mirrors, upgraded lighting, additional interior storage and an interior mirror with a digital compass. The Driver Assistance package adds parking system plus, Audi side assist and a rearview camera.
On the prestige model, buyers can upgrade to the Advanced Technology package, which adds active lane assist, adaptive cruise control and Audi pre sense front (a pre-collision system).
The 19" Performance package is available on both trims adding unique 19" wheels with summer performance tires and Audi's magnetic ride suspension.
Finally, the Black Optic Performance package adds five-spoke matte wheels, a black optic exterior kit and Audi's magnetic ride.
The S3 comes standard with driver and front passenger airbags, knee airbags as well as front and rear curtain airbags. Rear side airbags are a standalone option on both trim levels.
The list of electronic driving aids includes Multi-Collision Brake (MCB), traction control (ASR), electronic stability control (ESC) and Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD).
The most direct competitors to Audi's S3 are the BMW M235i and the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG. None are direct rivals, though. The M235i is a coupe, while the AMG offers a lot more power.