Audi put some serious work into the S3’s facelift.

Here in the U.S., we would love to get our hands on the Audi RS3, but for one reason or another, we just aren’t worthy of such greatness. Instead, we have to settle for lesser compact models from Audi. Sure there is the A3, but that’s a little too bland for some of us, which is why we were so excited when the S3 came to the States for 2015. The S3 entered its third generation in 2013, which means the 2017 model year is about the right time for a mid-cycle update and update Audi did.

That last sentence may influence you to think there are some radical changes to talk about, and in some ways there are, but for the most part, the updates were pretty mild. We do have some new technology to talk about, some new safety features, and even some drivetrain upgrades that will keep us happy until Audi can enlighten us with a fourth-generation model. Furthermore, most of the front end has been updated to bring a sleeker and sexier looking cabriolet to the masses.

For now, we’ve only seen the European specifications for the updated S3, but it should give us a good idea of what will be coming to U.S. shores, if the cabriolet actually makes it here. With competition like the BMW M235i lurking in the waters, Audi has some pretty stiff competition to keep up with. Do this new updates bring enough to the table to satisfy consumers enough to draw them toward the four rings? Well, let’s take a look and see.

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

  • 2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    310
  • Torque @ RPM:
    295
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.4 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
    € 50500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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Just like the Audi A3 Sedan, the S3 got a pretty decent aesthetic upgrade up front. To kick things off, the headlights now have a jagged bottom edge that gives them more character. Furthermore, the LED strip inside the headlight lens now runs halfway across the bottom edge. Down below the headlights, the corner vents take an all-new shape, now featuring a single horizontal louver just below the center point. Looking at the grille might have you thinking it’s the same old Audi grille, but when you compare it to the current model, the grille now has sharper points on the sides, further enhancing the sharper look of the front end. Down below the grille, that small air dam vent has been restructured, now curving upward around the bottom of the grille. Oddly, this gives the car a “smiley” look that somehow really works. The hood has remained the same, but that doesn’t really matter because the rest of the enhancements to the front end put together a pretty damn good package.

Down below the grille, that small air dam vent has been restructured, now curving upward around the bottom of the grille

To the sides, you won’t notice much of anything new. The side view mirrors and body lines are all identical to the pre-facelifted model. The lower side skirts may have a slightly different look, but that could be an illusion due to lighting and body color. The big news here is the 16-inch, five-spoke rollers that come standard. New wheel designs in 17-, 18-, and 19-inches are also available as an option.

Around back, the most notable change comes in the form of the taillights. They are roughly the same shape, but the deck-lid-mounted units are now a little taller to the inside. Furthermore, the layout of the lens has been changed, further distinguishing the new model from the old. Down below the reflectors don’t appear to wrap around the rear fascia as much as before, and the rear splitter appears to be the same with four vertical louvers between the twin, dual exhaust outlets.

Interior

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Interior
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If you were hoping to see a redesign of the interior, you’re out of luck, but don’t get disappointed just yet. You’ll notice the same upholstery as last year’s model, including the diamond-quilted seat backs and the S3 logo in the headrests. The heating and air conditioning vents have been tweaked a little to provide a little more detail. At first glance, the steering wheel is the same flat-bottom unit as before, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that the lower spoke is a little longer, and the hole between the two spoke arms is outlined in aluminum. That’s not all, thought, and it does get better.

The S3 is now equipped with a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT display screen that has two different modes

Instead of that boring old analog instrument cluster, the S3 is now equipped with a 12.3-inch diagonal TFT display screen that has two different modes. In classic mode, the screen simulates the old instrument cluster with two large gauges and a small information center in the middle. Switching over to infotainment mode will improve the driving experience by bringing navigation, and lists for the radio and connected smartphone to the display. In this mode, the speedometer and tachometer are displayed as two small round clocks.

Outside of what we’ve already discussed here, the MMI infotainment system has a new menu structure that mimics that of today’s smartphones. Functions are controlled by the rotary knob on the center console, with the buttons just ahead of the knob being used to navigate the various menus. The knob is touch-sensitive and can be used to enter characters, and accepts multi-finger gestures similar to that of smartphones. The seven-inch MMI display is standard, with MMI navigation and MMi navigation plus with MMI touch as available add-ons. With the optional Audi Connect module, the system now supports Google Earth, Google Street View, and traffic information in real time. A high-speed LTE data connection comes standard with the supplied sim card, which also permits roaming in most European countries.

The Audi MMI connect app is free with this system and enables streaming and data transfer from smartphone devices to the MMI system. iOS- and Android-powered phones are compatible with the system. The Audi phone box in the center armrest uses near-field coupling (NFC) to link smartphones to the system while simultaneously charging them wirelessly.

Drivetrain

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Drivetrain
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The standard A3 now puts out a maximum of 190 horsepower, but since we’re talking about the S3, you can bet there is even more power on tap. The S3 is powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI that now outputs 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That is a 10-horsepower and 14.8-pound-feet increase over last year’s model. Furthermore, all that power is available at just 2,000 rpm and up to 5,400 rpm. Power is routed to the wheels through a newly developed seven-speed S Tronic transmission that utilizes a wet clutch system. Audi hasn’t divulged details on whether or not the S3 will have the quattro AWD system, but considering we’re talking about the S3 here, it isn’t premature to assume it will come standard.

The S3 is powered by a 2.0-liter TFSI that now outputs 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque

According to Audi’s press release, engineers have integrated S3-specific control for the multi-plate clutch and Electronic Stabilization Control. This new control is said to provide greater driving dynamics, driving pleasure, and more importantly, safety. As of the time of this writing, Audi has yet to release performance figures for the S3, but previous models could make the 60-mph sprint in 5.4 seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph. Expect the top speed to remain electronically limited at 155 mph, but the 0-to-60 mph time may drop by one tick thanks to the slight bump in power and torque output.

Safety

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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The S3 comes with the same safety features as last year’s model, but there are a couple of new features to talk about. First off, the Audi active lane assist and Audi pre sense front have been developed further, now providing predictive pedestrian protection. The S3 also gets an optional traffic jam assist system, which works together with the adaptive cruise control, as well as its Stop & Go feature. This system automatically keeps the car a safe distance from the vehicles in front of it, and will automatically put the car back into motion after a brief stop. It can even take over steering in stop and go traffic at up to 40.4 mph on well-paved roads.

The S3 also gets an optional traffic jam assist system, which works together with the adaptive cruise control, as well as its Stop & Go feature

Another optional system now available on the S3 is Emergency Assist. This system will automatically brake and stop the vehicle if no steering activity from the driver is detected. Don’t worry, though; there are warnings announced before the Emergency Assist system kicks in. Rear cross-traffic alert is also available on the S3 going forward, and will warn the driver about crossing traffic when maneuvering out of a parking spot.

Audi also focused some effort into reworking the suspension system. It has now be tuned to provide better balance and a sportier ride. With sport suspension equipped on the S3, the ride height is dropped by 0.6 inches, but going with the S line sport suspension will drop the ride height by one inch all the way around. The S3 still come standard with electrically powered progressive steering to provide the best steering feedback and experience available.

Prices

Audi has yet to give too much detail on the pricing front, but it did say that the new entry-level A3 would go for €23,300. The current S3 is currently going for €49,350, so given the updates and new technology, I would expect the new S3 to somewhere around €50,500 at the most. At current exchange rates, that would put the S3 at about $57,393. Stay tuned for updates to the pricing schedule once they become available.

Competition

BMW M235i

2015 BMW M235i Convertible High Resolution Exterior
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BMW has already made it clear that there isn’t going to be an M2 convertible, so to find a competitor for the S3 Cabriolet, we need to look to the BMW M235i. Here in the U.S. it starts out at $48,750 and goes up to $50,750 for the M235i xDrive. The xDrive is more than likely to be the best competitor given its all-wheel drive status. The car is powered by a 3.0-liter, TwinPower, six-cylinder engine that delivers 320 horsepower and a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 4.8 seconds.

Given the estimated performance of the S3, the 228i xDrive could be considered a closer competitor, but it doesn’t have as sporty of a look and is subpar in comparison to the design of the S3. Price-wise, the M235i will be a little cheaper than the S3, which makes the S3 a tough sale given the shorter sprint time to 60 mph. If you’re indecisively caught between the two, think hard before making the decision. And please, do yourself a favor and actually drive them both.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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I’m impressed with the work Audi put into the S3’s facelift. Everything on the front end except for the hood was changed, which is actually more than what we’ve seen from some models that have gone through generational changes. Sure, Audi didn’t do much to the rear or the interior, but I think doing more would have been too much for a mid-cycle update.

Also, it is nice to see the virtual cockpit come to the S3. At this point, digital instrument clusters are becoming the norm, and the fact that the S3 didn’t have one yet was a little obscene. With everything done to the S3, it’s hard to imagine what Audi will present in the next few years when it is time to usher in a new generation.

  • Leave it
    • Very little change to the interior
    • Only one engine choice
    • Some safety features are optional

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 Audi S3 Cabriolet 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.

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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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.

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.

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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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.

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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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.

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.

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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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.

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.

2017 Audi S3 Cabriolet High Resolution Exterior
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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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