A little extra polish added everywhere

If you live in the U.S., and you want a quick, luxurious sedan with four rings on the nose, the options are plentiful. However, add compactness to that list of requirements, and there’s really only one way to go – the S3. With a high-performance engine and tighter handling than the more laidback A3 equivalent, the S3 is only bested by the head-expanding RS3 when it comes to Audi’s small-dimension lineup. Unfortunately, that’s forbidden fruit if you live stateside, leaving the S3 as the obvious choice. Audi just released details on the model’s latest facelift, and although the specs are specific to Europe, they should inform our expectations on what’ll arrive on these shores in the not-too-distant future. Highlights include slightly modified exterior styling, the addition of Audi’s virtual cockpit, new driver assistance tech, and a little more output under the hood.

The S3 came to America for the 2015 model year, and although it feels a bit like a consolation prize, it should have what it takes to satisfy all but the most demanding of performance enthusiasts. But with highly appealing competition coming from both BMW and Mercedes, how does the new S3 sedan stack up?

Updated 08/11/2016: Audi announced U.S. prices for the 2017 S3 sedan which will be put on sale later this year. U.S. customers will have to choose between two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Audi S3 Sedan.

  • 2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan
  • Year:
    2017- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed S tronic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    310
  • Torque @ RPM:
    295
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    42500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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In case you were unaware, Audi is known for taking a rather… cautious approach when it comes to evolving a model’s aesthetics. Such is the case with the redesigned S3, where we find pretty much the same look as the outgoing model. However, break out the magnifying glass, and you will find a few nips and tucks.

The large Singleframe grille that dominates the fascia gets sharper edges as well

Let’s start in front, where the C-shaped headlights get a new form with “jagged bottom edges.” Basically, that means sharper corners and a flatter contour. There are Xenon lighting elements as standard, while LEDs and matrix LEDs are optional. The large Singleframe grille that dominates the fascia gets sharper edges as well. The small winglets in the bumper’s side intakes are simplified into a single divider.

More differences are found in the tail, which was tweaked slightly to give it a wider appearance. The taillights, for example, get a new shape and new graphics, echoing the sharp C-shape up front. The lower diffuser was also modified.

This time around, Audi added six new colors to the S3’s paint options, including Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano grey, Tango red, Vegas yellow, and, exclusive to the S line, Daytona gray pearl.

Dimensionally, the S3 is pretty much the same as before, with an overall length of 13.91 feet and a wheelbase of 8.53 feet.

Interior

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Inside the S3, you’ll find pretty much the same interior look and layout as before. There’s seating for up to five passengers, while those up front get big bolsters to keep them in place. Diamond-patterned quilted leather is used for the upholstery. Brushed metal is used for trim, including the shifter, vent surrounds, and door panels. The three-spoke multifunction steering wheel gets a flat bottom and an available heating function, and the driver seat is offered with a massage function.

The biggest news for the cabin is the addition of Audi’s virtual cockpit, a first for the automaker’s compacts

The biggest news for the cabin is the addition of Audi’s virtual cockpit, a first for the automaker’s compacts. Also seen on the R8 and TT, the virtual cockpit is essentially a 12.3-inch TFT screen that replaces the traditional mechanical gauge cluster behind the steering wheel. There are multiple display modes offered, with the “classic” setting displaying the usual speedometer/tachometer combo. Put it into infotainment mode, and the dual gauges shrink to offer space for navigation, phone, and audio system info.

Complementing this, you’ll find a standard 7-inch standup monitor mounted on top of the dash.

The infotainment system also gets a redesigned menu, taking after a smartphone in its UI. Most of the control is done via a rotary/push-button control on the central tunnel, but there’s also a touchpad to enter characters and gestures (such as map zoom). Additional switches and buttons around the rotary control are used for system navigation, while voice recognition is also onboard.

The S3 is offered with several levels of navigation equipment. Online connectivity comes thanks to an LTE connection and flat data plan as part of the Audi connect package. This provides a Wi-Fi hotspot for mobile devices, as well as Google Earth and Google Street View, traffic info, parking info, destination search, news, and weather.

Audi offers a free app for media streaming and calendar synching, with support for both iOS and Android devices. A “phone box” is located in the center armrest, providing a wireless infotainment connection and inductive charging.

Drivetrain

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There are a few changes under the hood, but like the exterior styling, they are rather minor. Still, Audi was wise enough to tweak the S3 where it counted, adding 10 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque to the turbocharged, transverse, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That puts final output at 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, with max torque available at a low 2,000 rpm.

That puts final output at 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, with max torque available at a low 2,000 rpm

If should be noted that these numbers are only for S3s equipped with a seven-speed S tronic automatic transmission. Overseas customers also get the option for a six-speed manual, but the addition of a third pedal means the loss of that extra torque, which equates to the outgoing figure of 280 pound-feet.

Audi has yet to release official performance specs, but expect a sprint from 0-to-60 mph around 4.7 seconds with the S tronic gearbox. Top speed will be electronically limited at 155 mph.

Chassis And Handling

The S3 is built on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, with MacPherson struts up front and a four-link set-up in the rear. The suspension tuning is stiffer and lower than that on the pedestrian A3, offering both fixed dampers and the option for adaptive magnetic components. Power is applied to the ground via a standard quattro AWD system, while the progressive steering is electrically powered.

New for this year is a revamped Electronic Stabilization Control system, and a redesigned multi-plate clutch for the AWD system, both of which are specific to the S3.

Safety And Convenience

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The new S3 gets a slew of new drivers assistance tech brought in from Audi’s full-size category, including active lane assist, pre-sense front warning, pedestrian monitor, and rear-cross traffic warning.

There’s also the option for traffic jam assist, which integrates with the adaptive cruise control and Stop&Go feature to help keep you sane in slow-moving congestion. Essentially, this system will move you forward at a safe distance to the car ahead, automatically stopping and setting off as needed. Additionally, the system will also take over steering, provided you’re moving at a rate under 40 mph and traveling on well-paved roads.

Also making the options list is emergency braking, which applies the binders if an imminent collision is detected without steering input from the driver.

Finally, the optional matrix LED headlights get automatic high/low beam assistance.

Prices

Pricing for the S3 Sedan starts from $42,900 for the Premium Plus trim, a minor $400 hike compared to the outgoing model. For the range-topping Prestige variant, you’ll have to fork $48,400 before considering any options.

2018 Audi S3 Sedan prices

Audi S3 sedan quattro S tronic Premium Plus $43,650
Audi S3 sedan quattro S tronic Prestige $48,950

2017 Audi S3 Sedan prices

Model Price
Audi S3 Premium Plus $42,900
Audi S3 Prestige $48,400

Competition

Mercedes-AMG CLA45

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA Unveiled High Resolution Exterior
- image 669640

Bolder, brasher, and faster – that’s what you get when you drop the extra coin for AMG’s four-door compact. Making the go is a turbo four-cylinder with 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which mates to a seven-speed Speedshift dual-clutch transmission and standard 4Matic AWD for a 4.1-second 0-to-60 mph time. If speed is a chief concern when looking for a luxurious compact sedan, then this is where you need to look first.

Read the full review here.

BMW M235i Coupe

2014 BMW M235i Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 530118

Yes, I know it’s not a four-door, but it doesn’t matter, because this Bimmer is worth your consideration. Behind the kidney grille is a twin-turbo inline-six cylinder good for 320 horsepower, while the handling speaks to the classically-minded thanks to superb chassis tuning and RWD as standard (AWD is available, too). Long story short, it’s a more traditional take on performance than the Audi or Benz, and it’s all tied up in a handsome compact package.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

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This latest refresh from Audi is pretty standard fair for the brand. While not necessarily mind-blowing, the updates are all greatly appreciated and well executed. Probably the biggest changes are in the cabin, where the virtual cockpit system and new driver;s assistance features make for an up-to-date technology package. The extra horsepower and torque ain’t bad either. The new exterior is, well… typical Audi. Nothing ventured, nothing gained there. But that’s ok. The S3 already looks pretty good, and it’s not like anyone was expecting a major overhaul in the aesthetics department.

As it was before, the S3 looks as though it’ll soldier on as the more sober choice when placed alongside its competition. It looks the part outside, it feels the part inside, and it won’t break the bank, all with decent performance if you decide to put your foot down.

We’ll have to see what Audi has planned for the U.S., but for now, things are as they should be.

  • Leave it
    • * Slower than the competition
    • * Nothing groundbreaking
    • * Still waiting on the RS3…

Press Release

The successful model from Audi is now even more attractive: The Audi A3* approaches the starting line with new driver assistance systems and engines as well as newly designed headlights and taillights. Also new on board is the innovative operating and display concept, Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback, a sedan and a Cabriolet. The sporty Audi S3* version comes with numerous innovations and has even further enhanced its dynamic potential. The A3 series offers the most versatile line of drive systems in the compact segment with the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron* and the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron*.

2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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Driver assistance systems from the Audi full-size category
With numerous driver assistance systems, the new Audi A3 raises the bar in the premium compact segment yet again. The further developed Audi active lane assist and Audi pre sense front, including predictive pedestrian protection, make town and country driving even safer.

New in the segment is the traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control (ACC) and its Stop&Go feature. The optional system keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and in combination with the S tronic, automatically sets the vehicle in motion again after a short stop. In sluggish traffic up to 65 km/h (40.4 mph), the traffic jam assist even briefly takes over the steering on well-paved roads. Another new feature for the A3 family is the optional Emergency Assist. This system initiates braking down to a safe stop if, despite warnings, no steering activity by the driver is detected. The new rear cross-traffic assist warns the driver about cross traffic when slowly backing out of a perpendicular parking space, for example.

Controls & displays, infotainment and Audi connect
The highlight in the interior of the new Audi A3* is the Audi virtual cockpit. This innovative operating concept is available for the first time in the compact class. The Audi virtual cockpit displays the most important driving-relevant information in high resolution on a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT screen. The driver can switch between two views by pressing the “View” button on the multifunction steering wheel. In classic mode, the instruments appear as large as the usual analog displays.

In infotainment mode, however, a central window predominates, which provides more space to the navigation map or shows lists for the telephone, radio and audio. The tachometer and speedometer appear as small round clocks.

The menu structure in the MMI system has been redesigned. Operation with its flat hierarchies is based on smartphones. The centerpiece of the MMI terminal is the round rotary/push-button control, whose ring is illuminated in white in the top version. On its surface is the touch-sensitive touchpad for entering characters and for multi-finger gestures, allowing the driver to zoom within the map. Above and beside the rotary/push-button control are toggle switches and buttons with which the driver can navigate through the newly designed menu structure. The enhanced voice control for navigation, radio, media and phone now also understands many phrases from everyday language.

In infotainment, the new Audi A3 again sets new standards. The MMI radio plus with the electrically extended 7-inch diagonal monitor is standard equipment. The optionally available MMI navigation and MMI navigation plus with MMI touch in conjunction with the Audi connect module bring many online functions into the car. They include, for example, navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View traffic information in real time as well as practical information on parking, destinations, news or the weather. The information is transmitted via the super-fast LTE standard. The required flat rate data plan is included thanks to the Audi connect SIM card pre-installed in the car. The customer receives this embedded SIM (e‑SIM) in combination with Audi connect in Europe. It permits roaming in most European countries. Regardless of the integrated Audi connect services, data packets for individual internet use can also be booked via the Wi-Fi hotspot.

2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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The free Audi MMI connect app enables other services, such as online media streaming and transfer of a calendar from a smartphone to the MMI. The A3 e-tron* also features services for programming the charging and the departure time and for the air conditioning.

Cell phones with iOS and Android operating systems are connected with the car via the Audi smartphone interface. The Audi phone box in the center armrest utilizes near-field coupling to link smartphones wirelessly to the vehicle’s antenna and enables inductive charging.

Newly designed equipment lines
Although hardly any change has been made to the dimensions – 4.24 meters (13.91 ft) in length with a wheelbase of 2.60 meters (8.53 ft) – the new Audi A3* appears even sportier and more expressive than ever. Its Singleframe grille features sharper contours and is broader. The headlights are flatter, with distinctive outer contours.

The rear accentuates the width of the new A3 – with the horizontal illuminated graphics of the rear lights and the separation edge above the redesigned diffuser. The color palette has been expanded. Twelve paint colors are available to choose from, including the five new colors Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano gray, Tango red and Vegas yellow. Daytona gray pearl effect paintwork is reserved for the S line exterior package.

New for the A3 are the modularly designed equipment lines. They afford the customer even greater freedom of choice, and for the first time, also affect details of the exterior. Besides the basic models, the future holds in store the two lines sport and design, with their optional S line sport package and design selection equipment lines.

Extensively updated: the engine lineup
The engine lineup for the Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Their power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard.

With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time. The compact engine outputs 85 kW (115 hp) and delivers 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque at 2,000 to 3,500 revolutions per minute. The new entry-level gasoline engine is efficient without sacrificing anything in terms of driving pleasure.

The 1.4 TFSI COD ultra features cylinder-on-demand efficiency technology, turning off two cylinders when the corresponding output is not required. The engine with 1,395 ccm displacement outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and develops 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque.

A technical highlight is the completely new 2.0 TFSI with its innovative combustion process. From a displacement of 1,984 ccm it generates 140 kW (190 hp), delivering 320 Nm (236.0 lb-ft) of torque at 1,500 to 4,200 revolutions per minute.

Audi offers the four-cylinder TDI engine with 1,968 ccm displacement in two performance levels in the new A3*. The 2.0 TDI comes optionally with 110 kW (150 hp) and 340 Nm (250.8 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute – and will soon be available with 135 kW (184 hp) and 380 Nm (280.3 lb-ft) at 1,750 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.

2017 - 2018 Audi S3 Sedan High Resolution Interior Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The new entry-level diesel engine is the 1.6 TDI with 81 kW (110 hp). It is available in combination with the six-speed manual transmission or the S tronic seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

The 2.0 TFSI engines are joined by a fully newly developed seven-speed S tronic with wet clutch. It replaces the previous six-speed dual clutch transmission. The new Audi A3 transmits the engine power to the front wheels by default. For the gasoline-engine versions, quattro all-wheel drive is available for the 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp).

The suspension of the new Audi A3 impresses with its balanced and sporty tuning. With the optional sport suspension, the body lies 15 millimeters (0.6 in) lower, and 25 millimeters (1.0 in) lower with the S line sport suspension. The electromechanical power steering is sensitive and efficient in operation. On request, Audi provides the likewise electrically powered progressive steering system for many models that is standard in the Audi S3* series.

The new Audi A3 rides on 16-inch wheels as standard equipment, with 17-inch wheels available in the design and sport equipment lines. The wide range of options with 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels includes new designs. The line of tires has also been overhauled, and now offers improved performance with optimized rolling resistance.

For the first time in the segment: Matrix LED headlights
The headlights of the Audi A3* provide a distinctive and new look with their jagged bottom edges. Xenon plus units are standard; as options Audi offers LED headlights and for the first time matrix LED headlights as well.

Consistent lightweight design has brought the curb weight of the Audi A3 with 1.0 TFSI engine down to just 1,150 kg (2,535.3 lb) – the lightest in its class. The body of the new Audi A3 is crashproof and rigid to a high extent. A noise-insulating windshield is standard equipment.

The interior affords the top quality typical of Audi. The newly designed three-spoke steering wheel is heated on request. For more comfort on long journeys, Audi offers a driver seat with massage function in the new A3.

Sustainably en route: the new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The plug-in hybrid version, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*, combines a 1.4 TFSI, which outputs 110 kW (150 hp) and delivers 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque, with an electric motor that produces 75 kW and 330 Nm (243.4 lb-ft). The system output of 150 kW (204 hp) affords sporty driving performance.

Full charging of the lithium-ion battery (8.8 kWh) from a 380-volt three phase-current supply takes a little over two hours.

The new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron
Audi offers still another drive alternative with the A3 Sportback g-tron*: The five-door compact model can use climate-neutrally produced Audi e-gas as fuel, in addition to fossil-based natural gas.

Equipped with a 1.4 TFSI engine producing 81 kW (110 hp), the A3 Sportback g-tron sets standards for efficiency and economy. Fuel costs to the customer are roughly EUR 4 per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi). Thanks to the four-cylinder engine’s configuration for bivalent fuels, its range is over 400 km (248.5 mi) in the NEDC with natural gas fuel. When powered by gasoline, the driving range is extended by as much as an additional 900 km (559.2 mi).

More power: the new Audi S3
7 kW (10 hp) features more power and, in conjunction with the S tronic, 20 Nm (14.8 lb-ft) higher torque – Audi has done one better with the Audi S3*. Moreover, Audi engineers have integrated S3-specific control for the Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) and the multi-plate clutch. The result: even greater driving dynamics, driving pleasure and safety.

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The 2.0 TFSI now outputs 228 kW (310 hp) and with S tronic delivers 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) over the large range of 2,000 to 5,400 revolutions per minute. The S3 Sportback, the S3 Sedan and the S3 Cabriolet also profit from the extensive new features.

The new Audi A3 series goes on sale in early May, with the first deliveries to customers occurring in summer. The basic price for the Audi A3 with the new 1.0 TFSI engine is EUR 23,300 in Germany.

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