The Audi S3 proves the old adage that sometimes good things really do come in small packages- luxury, power, performance, all in a compact sedan!
It was sometime early last year ( June 2014, to be exact) that we drove the Audi A3 sedan, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Though front wheel drive, it was a nippy and agile car that was huge fun to drive. However, upon returning to the showroom with the A3 and telling the Audi rep how much we enjoyed it, his words were simply, “Oh yeah? Just wait till the S3 gets here…”
And waited we have, for almost a year in fact, but the wait was certainly worth it. Last month we finally got our hands on the Audi S3 Quattro, a compact sports sedan that takes an excellent platform to whole new realms of awesome. With Audi’s 2.0l turbocharged TFSI four- pot that puts out 296hp, it’s not as powerful as the similar engine in the A 45 AMG, which boasts 360hp, but here’s the rub: the A 45 AMG hits 100km/h in 4.6 seconds, whilst the S3 does it in just 4.9, but the S3 is several thousand dinars cheaper than the Mercedes. Are the extra three tenths of a second worth that much?
When you climb into the S3 and take it for a spin, the difference won’t matter at all, because it is simply an absolute blast to drive, with a superb soundtrack thanks to the racy growl from the quad exhausts. It was a wet and windy day in Bahrain when we hit the streets, but it made practically no difference at all to the excellent Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Power is nominally sent to the front wheels, but the rear wheels come in to play whenever required to reign in any understeer, and thanks to the Quattro system, excellent balance, squat stance and light weight the levels of grip and agility are huge.
Despite this, the ride quality never becomes jarring – Audi have managed that delicate combination of agility and ride comfort that so many compact sports cars fail to achieve.
We were throwing the little sedan around on the slick streets with a level of confidence that very few other cars could inspire, and we were enjoying every last second of it. We honestly challenge anyone to take this car for a spin and not hand it back with a smile on your face.
The interior does plenty of justice to the rest of the car – leather sports seats, the excellent Audi infotainment system with retractable screen, Bang & Olufsen stereo system with superb audio quality, rear parking camera, and just a really premium, stylish and well-built feel to everything.The only drawback is a lack of legroom in the rear seats that would be a problem for tall people on long journeys. In that regard, trunk space is somewhat limited too, so big luggage for four people is out of the question.
But the S3 isn’t a grand tourer, it’s a city car.The compact size and reverse camera make it a breeze to park, and it slices through traffic like a hot knife through butter. The Audi S3 makes a mundane commute or trip to the shops enjoyable, and that is why it’s worth every penny!