- Quick, fun car to drive
- Better gas mileage than expected
- Nicely built interior
- Small trunk
- Steering is a bit numb
Audi S3 Expert Review
New for 2017
The 2017 Audi S3 has been refreshed with updated front-end styling including a revised grille (now Platinum Gray with aluminum "double-optic" blade bars) and headlights, revised rear bumper styling, and new 18-inch 5-spoke wheels exclusive to the S3.
The 2017 Audi S3 is powered by a 292-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine driving all four wheels with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. The transmission is a six-speed dual-clutch. Magnetic ride sport suspension is available, offering a range of customizable driving modes. Audi claims the 2017 S3's 0-60 mph time is 4.7 seconds, though we tested a 2016 model at 4.4 seconds.
Two main trim lines are offered for the 2017 Audi S3: Premium Plus and Prestige. Those two tiers comprise the two highest lines offered for the A3; there is no entry-level Premium trim for the S3. Pricing for the 2017 Audi S3 Premium Plus starts at $43,850 including destination; the Prestige model starts at $49,350.
Dual-zone climate control, leather seating with panoramic sunroof, 10-speaker / 180-watt stereo, heated side mirrors, and Audi's well-earned reputation for attention to detail in interior design and construction—all of which are standard for the 2017 Audi S3—make for a comfortable cabin.
One killer feature of the 2017 Audi S3 is the newly available 12.3-inch display Audi virtual cockpit system, which uses a quad-core nVidia Tegra 30 processor to enable incredible graphics at very high frame rates, with Google Maps navigation and 4G LTE connectivity as well.
Like the updated 2017 Audi A3 on which it's based, the 2017 Audi S3 gets plenty of optional safety features, including a host of Audi's driver assistance technology, including available adaptive cruise control that can handle stop-and-go traffic, active lane assist (which helps the driver maintain position within the driving lane), radar-based forward collision warning and mitigation, and a standard rearview camera.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2017 Audi S3 a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2017?model a 2017 Top Safety Pick+.
What We Think
With sporty handling, quick acceleration, and great all-weather performance thanks to quattro all-wheel drive, the 2017 Audi S3 is a great do-it-all vehicle. The interior is very nicely finished, with a modern (if conservative) design, and packed full of user-friendly tech—the user-friendliness, especially, sets the Audi S3 apart from competitors like the Mercedes-AMG CLA45. Dynamically, the S3 is a riot, with confidence inspiring handling, easy-to-use performance modes, and ample grip when cornering, even in the wet. The only downside to the S3's formula is a bit of a numb feel to the steering wheel.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood of the Audi S3 is the same as the one found under the hood of the Volkswagen Golf R hot hatch.