Luxury Car

Review: Pricey Audi S3 is a proper little luxury car

2022 Audi S3. When you’re bored with boring automobiles and keen to sacrifice a smidgen of practicality, this could be the automobile for you.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

Driving somewhat automobile after spending a lot time in massive SUVs feels a bit like losing a few pounds. Every little thing appears simpler. Like dishevelled previous garments that not match, avenue lanes and parking spots all look too roomy. Each unit of horsepower churned out by the motor feels extra energetic, as a result of it’s shifting much less weight. It feels nice.

Regrettably, small automobiles just like the all-new Audi S3 are rapidly turning into a uncommon breed. Greater than 80 per cent of latest automobiles bought in Canada have been SUVs or pickup vans final yr.

In an alternate universe, the all-new Audi A3 and its sporty S3 counterpart can be the entry level into Audi’s lineup. They value $38,900 and $47,900, respectively. In our universe, most individuals will most likely go for the $38,650 Q3 SUV, or the even the bigger $42,250 Q5 SUV, and with good cause. When you typically want area for a child seat, or stroller, or grownup passengers, you possibly can cease studying now; you’re higher off with an SUV.

If, nevertheless, you’re bored with boring automobiles and keen to sacrifice a smidgen of practicality, step proper this fashion.

Though it doesn’t appear like it, the S3 sedan is Audi’s upmarket tackle the enthusiast-favourite Volkswagen Golf R hatchback. They share the VW Group’s MQB Evo structure, all-wheel drive and a two-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder motor.

Within the Audi, it’s good for 306 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque, which is a tad lower than the Golf, however an enchancment over the previous S3. On paper, the brand new Audi is roughly on par with the earlier small-luxury-car champ, the Mercedes-AMG A35.

First, let’s get the apparent out of the best way. I’m slightly below six toes, and sitting within the again, my knees are pushed up towards the entrance seat and my head grazes the roof. The 2022 S3 is barely bigger than the outgoing mannequin, however you don’t really feel any further area inside, save for maybe a whisker of additional headroom. Subcompact rivals, nevertheless, are equally cramped.

Legroom is tight on the 2022 Audi S3 for Matt Bubbers, who’s slightly below six toes tall.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

The S3 wins factors for its new cabin. It’s angular, trendy and appears like a correct little luxurious automobile. The configurable digital dashboard is nothing new, nevertheless it’s glorious, as is the central contact display screen. The latter is evident and simple to make use of, which makes the unlucky lack of a bodily management dial much less of a difficulty. A small spherical volume-control touchpad is an odd selection, however in the event you discover it unpleasant, there’s a standard quantity knob on the steering wheel.

You flick the automobile into gear with an uncommon toggle swap mounted between the seats. In regular cruising mode, the automobile’s efficiency is pretty unremarkable. The motor and gearbox are sluggish to react. However the S3 reveals glimmers of potential. The way in which the automobile rushes ahead as soon as the gearbox selects an applicable cog makes it apparent there’s a number of torque out there. The steering lacks really feel, which is unfortunately par for the course nowadays, however it’s fast and properly weighted.

In Dynamic mode, the automobile turns into genuinely entertaining. It feels mild on its tires. The throttle is crisp and the automated gearbox holds ratios nicely, so once you put your foot down, you immediately get kicked again towards the seat by a wallop of torque, which maxes out at simply 2,000 rpm. The motor turns into noisier with a pleasant, deep bark. Sure, engine noise is pretend, augmented by the audio system, nevertheless it’s nicely achieved. With out being outrageous, the S3 is nice, healthful, accountable enjoyable.

Better of all, the trip is comfy for a small, sporty automobile. That’s as a result of (costly) elective adaptive dampers fitted to the mannequin we drove. Audi nailed the tuning, providing a variety of adjustment between Consolation mode and Dynamic.

Audi’s smallest efficiency automobile has lengthy been my favorite within the model’s lineup. The corporate’s larger, sooner S and RS fashions typically really feel barely tame and uninspiring – albeit extra usable – in contrast with extra excessive machines from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. However, the all-new 2022 S3 is an exception. It’s costly for what you get, as are its luxury-brand friends. Nonetheless, Audi has delivered a automobile that’s each comfy and a pleasure to drive – offered you spring for the expensive adaptive dampers. The 2022 S3 might have simply dethroned the older Mercedes A-Class as my favorite small luxurious sedan of all.

With the market shifting nearly utterly to SUVs and vans, the times of area of interest automobiles like these appear numbered. Take pleasure in them when you can.

Tech specs

2022 Audi S3

  • Base worth/as examined: $47,900/$60,250 (estimated)
  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder
  • Transmission/drive: Seven-speed dual-clutch computerized
  • Gas consumption (litres/100 kilometres): 10 metropolis, 7.2 freeway
  • Alternate options: Mercedes-AMG A35 sedan or hatchback, BMW 2 Collection Gran Coupe, Mazda3 Sport GT AWD, Volkswagen Golf R

Seems to be

It seems to be lacklustre in company-lease gray, however a brighter metallic hue brings out the automobile’s sharp strains. The fender flares and creased bodywork make it look extra aggressive than the glossy Mercedes.


The driving force’s seat and sprint on the 2022 Audi S3.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

You’ll be able to have any color you need, so long as it’s black or gray. Extra choices would have been welcome. The brand new dashboard and infotainment system are nearly as good because it will get in small automobiles.


The gear shifter on the 2022 Audi S3.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

For outright driving thrills, BMW’s 2 Collection coupe can’t be outdone, nevertheless it solely has two doorways, which can be a deal-breaker for a lot of drivers. The Mercedes A-Class has the benefit of being out there as each a sedan and a hatchback. The S3 can go from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 4.8 seconds.


On paper, the brand new Audi is roughly on par with the earlier small-luxury-car champ, the Mercedes-AMG A35, Matt Bubbers writes.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

Sadly, many choices you’ll need aren’t out there on the bottom Komfort trim. You’ll should pony up for the $50,400 Progressiv trim to get adaptive dampers, that are bundled right into a $1,600 package deal. The superior navigation package deal is $2,250 and a driver help package deal is one other $1,300.


The again seats on the 2022 Audi S3.Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

The trunk lid’s cumbersome helps lower into the already-limited rear trunk area.

The decision

Most likely the most effective all-around little luxurious sedan, in the event you can abdomen the value.

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