Audi S3 Sedan (2014) Review

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Having jumped straight out of the very powerful, very fast Audi RS Q3 and directly into this less powerful Audi S3 Sedan, I may have thought at one stage I was downscaling or going to be left wanting more. Not at all, this Audi S3 Sedan had me sold after just a few kilometres of driving it from collection. It’s a stunner to look at, fast enough to keep your heart rate escalated and just enough fun in the corners to keep the inner racer interested.

Number Crunching

The Audi S3 Sedan is a quick car and considering it hasn’t had the full RS treatment yet, makes you wonder just how fast Audi is going to make that RS3 when they ever get around to it. 0-100 kph in the S3 Sedan is dealt with in a face slapping 5-seconds flat thanks to the 206 kW, two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol motor.

Combine that with torque of 380 Nm that’s available for an unbelievably long period (1 800-5 500 rpm) and Audi’s fast shifting S-Tronic gearbox and you’ve got a pleasing array of figures to enjoy. Fuel economy is quite decent at 7 l/100 km claimed, although I saw around the 9l/100 km on our fuel economy run.

Plays Hard

Audi S-models have never struggled for speed though, if anything it’s in the handling and fun department that they could work on, at that’s where this S3 Sedan comes into its own. It’s exciting to drive right from the moment you hear the bark of the exhaust as the gearbox cracks another gear to attention.

It’s an addictive sound, I found myself using the paddle shifters more often than usual, snapping the upshift paddle like a Formula 1 driver. As much as the rip of the gearbox shift is exciting so is the handling when you get it onto a nice long stretch of twisty tarmac. The S3 Sedan feels low and controllable, there’s an abundance of grip from the chassis and tyres as you swing the S3 from side to side. It seems the more you push it the more grip it offers up. The steering is nicely weighted at higher speeds and though lacks out-and-out feedback, it never leaves you feeling anything but in control.

Plush Interior

The S3 Sedan’s interior is concise and reeks of build quality. It’s not laced with buttons everywhere but rather keeps all the functions simple with a few buttons for the dual zone climate control adjustments. Above that there’s one row of buttons for traction control settings and the Drive Select option – it allows you to change the car’s personality through eco, comfort, auto, individual and dynamic settings.

The rest of the interior’s functionality is dealt with via the multimedia interface and the centre console scroller. It’s neat and uncluttered and that helps it feel more focussed on the driving part. The red and black sports seats are an S3 addition as is the ‘S3’ logo embossed on them. The boot space is quite generous too, although it does compromise a little on the rear legroom.

Finding Faults

I was finding it hard to fault this S3 Sedan and I may even have let slip that this would be a really cool birthday present for my upcoming name day. I did however come across something to nit-pick at.

Whilst driving in traffic or start/stop driving it can be a bit jerky, as you lift your foot off the brake and let the car creep in first gear, the initial bite can be a bit bumpy. When the fuel saving start/stop engine cut kicks in, the restart to moving time is prolonged and the rolling speed in first gear is maybe a bit fast for crawling traffic.

Verdict

The Audi S3 sedan is a get in and feel instantly comfortable kind of car. It’s planted on the road and urges you on to go faster, it’s backed up by a fast acting S-Tronic gearbox and a banging exhaust note on shifts. It’s also comfortable to drive over long distance and has a well-equipped and beautifully finished interior.

Audi S3 Sedan Price in South Africa

At R529 500 the sedan may be a R10 000 more expensive than the five-door S3 Sportback, but I’d pick the sedan purely on the improved looks and that great side profile.

Second Opinion

The Audi S3 Sedan has gone from youthful and pricey hot hatch to junior premium performer. It's exceptionally comfortable and offers luxury quality, with great performance just a stab of the right foot away. - David Taylor

Audi S3 Sedan quick specs

Engine  2-litre four cylinder turbo petrol
Power  206kW
Torque  380Nm
Transmission  Six-speed S-Tronic
Wheels  18-inch alloys
0-100km/h  5.0 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy  7.0l/100km (claimed)
We like: . Great looks . Superb performance and handling . That gear-shift bang

We dislike: . Jerky at low speeds

Also consider: . Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG 4-Matic . BMW 235i . BMW 135i . VW Golf R

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