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Audi S3 Review: Smaller In Size, Bigger In Performance

Image Source: Yura27 / Shutterstock

New car buyers continue to want clumsy crossovers over more fun-to-drive sedans and hatchback models. But if aren’t one to follow trends and want to have more fun behind the wheel, the 2022 Audi S3 might be exactly what you’re looking for. The 2022 S3 has been completely redesigned with a sleek new look and improved driving dynamics.

The Audi S3 is the cheapest S model you can get. It’s powered by the familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 105 hp and 74 lb-ft. over the A3. The S3 comes standard with an excellent seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The transmission shifts fast, ensuring that none of the fun from the engine is lost. Quattro all-wheel drive is standard.

With its small footprint, the S3 reminds us of German cars from the past. Its sleek and aggressive styling looks better than the S3’s two main rivals, the BMW M235i Gran Coupe and Mercedes-AMG CLA35. The S3 is based on VW’s MQB platform, but even with that platform’s front-wheel-drive emphasis, Audi managed to create a small sport sedan with minimal overhangs.

The S3 can accelerate to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 155 mph. Even with its turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive, the S3 won’t hurt you too much at the pump, since it’s rated at 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. On the road, the S3’s engine is a punchy unit that’s always eager for more, although there is a little bit of turbo lag. The engine is also silky smooth. Select the Dynamic drive mode and you’re greeted with a nice exhaust note. There’s also a firewall-mounted speaker that amplifies the sound of the engine. When it comes time to stop the fun, the S3’s 14.1-inch front rotors and vented rear discs are up for the task.

Moving past the engine, the S3 has pretty good steering that’s nicely weighted. At low speeds the steering is really light, making it easier to maneuver. If you opt for the S Sport Package, you will get nice adjustable dampers. The dampers change their stiffness based on which drive mode you’re in, but even in the sportiest mode, the suspension is never punishing. The S3 also has a 0.6-inch lower ride height than the A3. Piloting it through the twisty mountain roads, the S3 really shines.

Inside the S3’s interior stands out with its aggressive styling, but there is a bit of hard plastic. A 10.3-inch digital gauge display is standard, although a 12.3-inch unit is optional if you add the tech package, which also adds traffic sign recognition and a great sounding Bang & Olufsen sound system. In the center there’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use with modern graphics. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also nice additions.

The S3’s driving position is great and the diamond-stitched front sport seats keep you in place even when the road gets twisty. The rear area is pretty snug with a shortage of legroom for taller passengers.

The pricing for the 2022 Audi S3 starts at $46,895, while the fully optioned Prestige trim level tops over $55k.

At the end of the day, the 2022 S3 is a perfect example of what a small sport sedan should look and how it should drive. It’s a great high-performance subcompact luxury sedan that begs to be driven hard, but when you want a more relaxed stroll, it’s also up for the task.


Image Source: Yura27 / Shutterstock

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