Inside, you’re getting a fully loaded interior with an infotainment screen that pops right out of the dash, navigation, a backup camera, and a big, clunky steering wheel that reminds you you’re driving something expensive. But it’s not just all show and no go.
The new 2.0-liter TFSI turbo pumps out 292 horsepower, up from the A3′s 220 horsepower. It manages to get to sixty in just 4.7 seconds. And did I mention it only comes in automatic? Because it only comes in automatic.
That being said — is it safe to say that this sporty Audi drives like a sporty Audi? Surprise, surprise, it does. You get pretty responsive power, you get really crisp steering, and even when you’re not in “Dynamic” driving mode, it doesn’t sacrifice sporty cues in the name of mpg. We even got a chance to drive it around Circuit of the Americas in Austin, which was only slightly terrifying.
The A3 and S3 sit on Volkswagen’s new MQB platform, which underpins the new Golf, GTI, Golf R and a few others. Like the new Golf and GTI (which I’ve already driven), the S3 feels too safe, too ordinary. There’s nothing about it that really reaches out and grabs you.
It looks better than the A3, sure, and it drives better too, but you’re not getting near the same amount of personality behind the wheel that you might find in, say, a CLA45 or BMW 235i. It’s just not there.
But for me, I can’t get behind a car that just feels like another high-powered cog in Volkswagen Group’s well-oiled machine. I just can’t.
Let’s all just cross our fingers and hope Audi will be adding an R to the beginning of that nameplate, or at least a manual gearbox. Then they might get my attention.
Engine: 2.0-liter TFSI
0-60: 4.7 seconds