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Audi S3 overall verdict
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One of the best hot hatches out. Or at least it would be if it weren't so expensive. A Golf R does the same things for much less.
Relatively spacious cabin and decent quality make this a comfy car, though the suspension definitely feels of a more sporting bent than lesser A3s, so if you need to do distance, steer clear of bumpy roads (i.e., drive in another country).
The S3 provides a 188kW shove courtesy of a highly-tuned TFSI four-cylinder motor with the same basic bits as the Golf GTI, instead of a more traditional V6. You get 0-100kph in 5.7 seconds and a limited 250km/h, which are respectable figures, but the S3 loses the noise of a V6 and can suffer from turbo lag because of the state of tune.
Neither cool nor uncool. It just is.
Well built in a very anonymous fashion.
Quattro security and some fine fettling by the Audi boffins mean the S3 is one of the best country road attack weapons, even if it does get a bit woolly when you really start to go quickly. Rides pretty well, but the trade off is a lack of absolute precision. The steering could have more feel if we're being picky.
The boot's average for this sector at 350 litres (a Focus ST comes in at 385), and it'll seat four in relative comfort, five for short distances. It is a hatch though, and the seats fold, so day-to-day it's a practical bit of kit.
Expensive to buy but residuals are solid. It's not bought by boy racers, but even though it's a fast hatch, think premium saloon running costs.