When the third generation of Audi A3 underwent cosmetic and technical changes for the year 2017 model, the sporty version S3 also inherited those changes, both in the S3 Sedan and S3 Sportback variants. The lights and bumpers are updated, as usual for the facelifting, but significant changes were also applied in terms of equipment and under the hood. With all those changes, the S3 remained one the best 300hp-class hot hatches, halfway between the ordinary A3 and high-performance RS3.
AT A GLANCE
- Great engine/gearbox combination
- Comfort and equipped cabin
- Small luggage compartment
Design – 4/5
The Audi S3 Sportback has similar exterior design language as the other cars from the S3 family. For instance, it has the S-specific single-frame with the S emblem, expressive rear diffusor, a twin-pipe exhaust system which lets both sets of oval exhaust pipes to have a magnificent width. A unique roof-edge spoiler also allows more road surface contact. LED headlights and red brake calipers on 17-inch ventilated brake disks can be found on all variants.
Engine, drivetrain, and performance – 5/5
The heart of the Audi S3 Sportback is the 2.0 TFSI 4-cylinder engine which produces 213 kW (290 hp) and delivers 380 Nm of torque in the large range of 1,850 – 5,300 rpm, powering the car from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds. The engine is connected to the new seven-speed S Tronic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, offering an outstanding combination which would provide perfect performance both in cruising or running to high speeds up to 250 km/h.
Trim levels – 5/5
The MMI navigation plus with MMI touch is standard equipment and gives the driver a convenient and intuitive way to play a song, make a phone call, or even get directions to their place. The equipment highlights for Audi S3 Sedan offer a number of intelligent solutions. These include the optional Audi Matrix LED headlights, S sport seats in the front, the flat-bottomed multi-functional leather sport steering wheel, and brushed stainless steel pedals. The Audi-visual cockpit is also an option.
Safety – 5/5
All usual safety features of Audi A3 are also the standard equipment for Audi S3, such as six airbags, ABS, stability control or anti-whiplash head restraints. The safety is improved with numerous driver assistance systems like Audi active lane assist or Audi pre sense front, including predictive pedestrian protection, and those systems make town and country driving even safer. New in the segment is the traffic jam assist, which works together with Audi adaptive cruise control (ACC) and its Stop&Go feature.
Same as it sister car S3 Sedan, the Audi S3 Sportback is a model which needs a second impression to be recognized as a unique car which is above the A3 range, both when looking from the outside or driving. With all its equipment and cabin comforts, the S3 Sportback is a premium compact hatch which is usable as an everyday family car, despite the relatively small luggage compartment (340 to 1,220 liters). On the other side, when the driver decides to push it hard, the S3 becomes the beast. The steering is firm, the gears are shifting quicker, the Quattro system shuffles power across both axles for maximum grip and the flaps in the quad exhaust pipes make some more noise. In such a situation, S3 Sportback is one of the best choices in the class.