Audi S3 review

Category: Hot hatch

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Audi S3 2020 infotainment
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  • Audi S3 2020 front right tracking
  • Audi S3 2020 rear cornering
  • Audi S3 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Audi S3 2020 rear seats
  • Audi S3 2020 infotainment
  • Audi S3 2020 right front cornering
  • Audi S3 2020 right panning
  • Audi S3 2020 headlights detail
  • Audi S3 2020 rear detail static
  • Audi S3 2020 right panning
  • Audi S3 2020 instrument panel
  • Audi S3 2020 boot open
  • Audi S3 2020 front right tracking
  • Audi S3 2020 rear cornering
  • Audi S3 2020 RHD dashboard
  • Audi S3 2020 rear seats
  • Audi S3 2020 infotainment
  • Audi S3 2020 right front cornering
  • Audi S3 2020 right panning
  • Audi S3 2020 headlights detail
  • Audi S3 2020 rear detail static
  • Audi S3 2020 right panning
  • Audi S3 2020 instrument panel
  • Audi S3 2020 boot open
RRP £26,640What Car? Target Price from£25,226
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Being an Audi, the S3 is presented as a premium performance car with pricing to match, but that is also true of the similarly priced BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35. Thankfully it should hold its value well – if not quite as impressively as the A35 saloon – and comes with a high level of standard equipment.

All S3s receive 18in alloy wheels, S Sport suspension, the Progressive Steering that we described in the driving section, dual-zone climate control, Nappa leather upholstery with heated front seats, and a racy body kit to set it apart from lesser Audi A3 models. As an option, you can also turn your Android smartphone into the key for the car, this feature even going as far as allowing you to unlock and start the car with it. Range-topping Vorsprung models are crammed with luxuries, but command too much of a premium over standard S3s to earn our recommendation.

Official fuel economy is 34.9mpg, which is on a par with rivals and is reasonable by the standards of 300bhp hot hatches. The same is true of the S3’s CO2 emissions, which start at a high 183g/km and place it in the top tax bracket for benefit-in-kind (BIK) company car tax.

The S3 is too new for specific reliability data to be available, but in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, Audi as a manufacturer placed 22nd out of 31 manufacturers surveyed. BMW, meanwhile placed 9th while Mercedes finished way down in 26th.

In terms of safety, every S3 gets automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning. Blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert and traffic sign recognition are optional. The A3 (on which the S3 is based), hasn’t been independently tested by safety experts Euro NCAP yet, but the Volkswagen Golf, which is very similar underneath, achieved the full five-star verdict. We'll update you with the NCAP rating when it becomes available, but our sources say it's expected to be good, if not quite as good as the Mercedes A-Class

The S3 might not deliver the ultimate driving thrills of a Honda Civic Type R or Renault Megane RS, but it counters with impressive point-to-point pace, confidence inspiring dynamics and a plush ride. And while there's no doubt the latest S3 isn't as well finished inside or as polished overall as the previous model, it still rates well against the premium competition, in the form of the BMW M135i and Mercedes A35.

Audi S3 2020 infotainment

Overview

The S3 might not deliver the ultimate driving thrills of a Honda Civic Type R or Renault Megane RS, but it counters with impressive point-to-point pace, confidence inspiring dynamics and a plush ride. And while there's no doubt the latest S3 isn't as well finished inside or as polished overall as the previous model, it still rates well against the premium competition, in the form of the BMW M135i and Mercedes A35.

  • Sharp steering and confidence-inspiring handling
  • Beautifully composed ride
  • Excellent driving position
  • Interior quality isn't perfect
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Audi’s unimpressive reliability record

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