Audi S3: Devastatingly Quick Video
Audi S3: Devastatingly Quick Video Transcript
The new Audi A3 is faster, lighter, more economical and arguably more stylish than its predecessor. It's also an award winner, so it's fair to say that Audi has done a pretty good job with it. So we thought it was high time to get under the skin of the fastest model in the range, the all new S3. As with all things Audi, there are a number of trim levels to choose from on the A3, one of which is S line. That makes things all sporty to look at and what not, but the S3 isn't an A3 wearing a gum shield. The S3 has a knuckle duster. If I'm honest it doesn't actually look that sporty. I mean it's got some side skirts and it's got flashy grill up front and 4 exhaust at the back, but it's subtle, restrained, modest even. I mean people are gonna know you're driving a flashy motor because it's got those 4 rings on the front, but they won't actually know what it can do. Anonymity in my mind is a good thing. Like Superman, the S3 turns from mild-mannered Clark A3 Kent into S3 Superman at the flick of a heel which it will do with ease, thanks to its 295 brake horsepower, 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Now there are 2 gearboxes on offer. There's the dual-clutch paddle shifter or the 6-speed manual. We've got the manual here and that will get you from naught to 62 in 5.2 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155 miles an hour. I wonder what it'd do without the limiter. This isn't the first S3 though. The first generation was launched in the late 90's. It had a turbocharged 1.8-liter engine and a dizzying for the time 210 brake horsepower. You get more than that in a Golf GTI now. The second generation was released in the latter part of the last decade. That had a slightly bigger 2-liter turbocharged engine and 261 brake horsepower. That engine incidentally found its way into one of our favorite little cars, the A1 Quattro. The new one offers more power, more speed, more subtlety, but is it more fun? To drive if I'm honest it's really relaxed no matter what mode you're in and that's the thing with VW group cars now that you choose whether you want dynamic or comfort or choose your own adventure or that kind of thing or economy. But whichever way you take it the S3 is a very refined and composed car. I wouldn't go so far as to saying it's incredibly comfortable because the suspension can be a bit jarring and dynamic or they say rotted nasty roads, but the engine is really, really good. You give that a little bit of throttle and it just winds itself up and it's not even really a hint of lag. It's so smooth. This isn't a challenging car to drive whatsoever. The steering even in its heaviest setting is still pretty light and manageable, but it's just the right side of heavy to make you feel that you're driving something sporty. Overall though this car is just effortlessly powerful. It's one of those things. It's a small family hatchback yet it's got the level of power that a few years ago would be common in an M3. I also love the fact that it is so stealthy. If someone saw on the street they'd be like oh, it's an A3. It's the new Audi, that's quite good. And then at the light you sit next to them and then you run, well you press the noise pedal and then the world goes backwards. There is one small bone of contention with it and that is the price. The base is 30,000 pounds. With all the toys we have it's closer to 36 which is quite a lot of money, but then you remember that actually it's cheaper than a Boxster and just as about as powerful, and you'll fit people in the back and it has a sensible boot. The S3 has another party piece, its interior. Now as you'd expect from an Audi the interior is pretty much bulletproof. It will no doubt last you until the end of time itself and a few tweaks over the old one are certainly worth mentioning. For example the MMI do that down here have a little bit of a refresh. There's nice to have rocker switches that you just nudge up or down to get the important functions like the nav or the phone or things like that, but also the selector knob that you go usually around the menus with, well that has a little touchpad on the top so you can draw in letters on the sat nav and finally the little sat nav screen slides up and down, so if you don't want the screen glaring at you, you don't have to have it and it's really thin. The S3 isn't gonna be the fastest A3-derived car. That'll be the inevitable RS3 but think of it like this. The first RS3 had around 350 brake horsepower. This S3 has nearly 300. Does that mean its faster brother will be knocking on 400? The mind boggles. The new S3 is a modest piece. It's approachably sterile yet being an Audi you do have that overwhelming impression of excellence and quality, but the moment you put your foot down you do realize it's a beast not to be trifled with. In short, yes. Yes, please.
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