Audi S3 Sedan 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 2022 : S Club Drei
Singapore - The Audi S3 Sedan quite rightly defines a driver’s car that can do a little bit of almost everything. It is also the quickest one in the A3 range you can get your hands on, without going all bulgy, archy, mad and way expensive. That said, we cannot deny that bulgy, archy, mad and paired up with 5-cylinder insanity, is straight-up absolutely gratifying. But that is another story.
The Audi S3, while it does lose some of its shine when placed beside its RS-badged sibling, is an attractive offering for those who would want something more “glam” than say… the related Volkswagen Golf R.
Visually, the Q sedan departs slightly from the “bread-and-butter” A3, and is boldly-styled with larger 3-dimensional intakes up front, unique side sills and S-badge car-consistent quad tailpipes. There is also that really cool animated lighting sequence whenever you lock and unlock the car, just for added bragging rights.
Audi S3 Sedan - Interior
The S3 carries over almost all of the A3’s interior, but benefits from more supportive front sports seats as standard, and a “sporty” flat bottomed steering wheel. The red-rimmed ‘Start’ button on the centre console and quattro badge on the dash, just like what you would get in the RS3, are one of the few things you would see when seated in the driver’s seat. A reminder that you are in one of Audi’s go-quicker cars.
Unlike the Volkswagen Golf which the A3 range is related to, there are physical rocker style controls for the air-conditioning controls (similar to the one found on the e-TRON GT), a feature I truly appreciate, as you do not need to annoyingly call up the menu when making adjustments.
Also, all of the buttons in the sedan produce Audi’s signature ‘click-click’ when depressed. Quality here has also gone up a few notches. Gloss piano black surfaces match in the best way with textured aluminium inserts, and there is significantly more sculpting.
The infotainment unit, powered by the brand’s new MIB3 operating system is also an important improvement over the now-dated MMI interface in the previous Audi A3/S3. The new system is quicker, and the overall navigation and user experience is probably the next best thing, after BMW’s OS7. The MMI touchscreen which now sits in the dash (the previous one sat on top of the dashboard and was retractable… pointless, but I still liked that it could be hidden), is linked to Google which means that in most cases, your sat-nav is up to date.
At the rear, there is sufficient legroom for two mid-sized Asian adults… just. The backs of those larger sports seats leave some wriggle room for your knees; a small price to pay to feel more “huggy-huggy” up-front. I like that the Audi S3 does all the practical things that the regular A3 does, without compromise.
A 325 litre boot means that Audi’s sleeper sedan is a practical offering, though it pales when compared to similar pack of the Mercedes-AMG A 35 Saloon with its 420 litre boot, the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Coupé with the largest here at 460 litres, and the BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupé with 430 litres.
Audi S3 Sedan - The Drive
Under the hood, the Audi S3’s 310hp and 400Nm 2-litre turbocharged engine puts power to all its wheels, through a 7-speed S tronic transmission. With maximum torque available at 2,000rpm, the engine does lag, making it not the most ideal when navigating start-stop traffic. But once you enter the highway, the 2-litre simply feels eager to deliver. The S3 Sedan does the century sprint easily under 5 seconds, and equally matches this lively performance with a satisfying sonorous engine note.
With the drive mode selector set in ‘Dynamic’, the suspension stiffness gets dialled up, and Audi’s smallest sedan becomes point-and-shoot-accurate around twisty bits, entering and exiting corners in neutral fashion. The quattro AWD system decides how much torque is split between both the front and rear, however it does not seem to have enough rear-bias-ness I hoped for. The pleasantly-weighted steering could also have a little more feel to it too… but that is me.
On normal days under normal driving loads, the S3 delivers similar levels of comfort as the A3, though the optional 19-inch rims with low-profile rubber would put you at the receiving end of more road undulations than the latter.
While the Audi S3 brings many good things to the table, I have to manage your expectations. If you are hoping for the equivalent of the Volkswagen Golf R drive mode menu here, which includes “Drift” mode, and a 15-stage DCC adjuster, you would be very disappointed. This would instead be reserved for the stonking RS3. The S3’s drive mode menu is a simpler affair, much closer to what you would find on the bread-and-butter A3.
Overall, the Audi S3 is a good all-rounder for those willing to part with more, for a car that can satisfyingly bring much more to the table than a regular A3. It still could be better though.
However if you do not feel as willing to spend this much, and would still like to have a go-faster sedan that shares similar underpinnings, the Skoda Octavia RS, given the current day COE high, ought to be a little more “affordable”.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Audi S3 Sedan TFSI
Engine 1983cc, inline4 turbocharged
Transmission 7-speed S tronic quattro permanent all-wheel drive
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption 7.3l/100km (combined)