DRIVEN: Audi S3 TSFI Quattro Review
Here is our first drive review of the Audi S3 TSFI Quattro.
What’s the Audi S3 all about?
This S3 Saloon is the stretched version of Audi’s, very successful, sporty hatch back, the S3. Now that it’s available in the saloon format it appeals to an even wider audience.
The S3 has a fantastic sporty look. You can see the a silver highlighted Audi grill, very sharply designed headlights, an awesome set of 5 spoke alloy wheels, and chrome highlights around the side windows and mirror caps. It has to be said the S3 in the saloon format is starting to look very much like the S4, but who’s to say that this is a bad thing?
This new S3 is powered by a very punchy 2.0-Litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine that puts out a whopping 300bhp and 380Nm of torque. This is a very respectable level of performance for this class of car and means that the Audi S3 saloon achieves a 0-60mph time of 4.9 seconds, and keeps going to a limited top speed of 155mph.
How does it drive?
So 300bhp in a car you will use to go to work in, to go to the park, and to pick the family up in…this is most car enthusiasts dream right? The engineers at Audi have done a great job of making the power very usable in this car. To put the power to the wheels the S3 uses a dual clutch S tronic gearbox, and Audi’s Quarto four wheel drive system.
Getting to know the car I was very surprised how well it off-loads its power to the road. When you hit full throttle in the S3, with the turbo on boost, the rush of power is brilliant. The S3 simply launches and it’s off. It sounds awesome even with the standard exhaust. When you hit the top of the rev range you can shift up using the S tronic paddle on the steering wheel and the dual clutch system changes the gear in milliseconds, then you are back on the boost focusing on the road ahead. I was very impressed with the straight line performance of the S3 and the S tronic gearbox, the gearbox has supercar performance and really brings a sense of urgency to the S3.
When the road gets twisty, the S3 really comes into its own. The steering setup on the S3 gives lots of feedback and allows you to feel every last bit of grip on the road. The driving sensation really gives you confidence and encourages you to explore the capabilities of the car more and more. The brakes on the S3 also work exceptionally well and put the final touches to the everyday performance car driving experience.
What’s it like inside?
The inside of the S3 is very fancy. Sitting inside the car you will notice a very smartly designed flat bottomed sporty steering wheel with red stitching, a good sized media centre screen that rises out of the dash when you turn the ignition on, and there are a selection of S3 badges all around the interior in case you forget that you have purchased the superior model. My favourite feature of the interior is the black leather seats, which are sleekly designed, and very supportive whilst throwing the S3 around the corners.
The S3 experience exceeded my expectations by miles. The car has lots of useable space on the inside, looks very impressive on the outside, and it’s blisteringly fast in any direction you point it. The Audi S3 is a car that you can use for all journeys in life, but the S3 will make them that little bit more special. It is super comfortable when you need it to be, and when you’re on the right road at the right time; the S3 will be everything you need from a performance perspective, and will leave you feeling truly exhilarated.
The power from the 2.0-litre engine is a brilliant example of how clever engineering can produce huge amounts of power from a small amount of cylinder displacement, creating high performance cars that are also very economical. The Audi S3 could be the most well comprised performance Audi ever made.
Audi S3 TSFI Quattro
Engine: 2.0-Litre turbocharged
Transmission: 6 Speed S Tronic Dual Clutch
0-62mph: 4.9 Seconds
Top speed: 155mph limited
Economy combined: 40mpg
CO2: 159 g/km
Author: Paul Hadley