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What is it like on the inside?

The problem for the A3 generally is that everyone is making their cars posher these days, so it’s hard to stand out as a vaguely premium carmaker without going crazy with the organ stop vents and walnut veneer. 

So the S3 doesn’t enjoy the crushing advantage that it once did, but with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf dropping the ball (an obvious rival whatever the internal slide deck presentations might say) the buttons inside the S3 are delightfully welcome. 

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The 2024 facelift upgraded the cabin, but it did not radically change it. The drive selector is new, the infotainment system (10.1in touchscreen display) has been upgraded, and fancy touches like interior ambient lighting that peeks through perforations in the door card leather have been introduced. 

The best thing these days is that you get more stuff as standard in the S3 – both trims of the car get the same interior tech, the differences in materials come down to microfibre (surprisingly tasteful) versus carbon inlays around the cabin. 

Could you get comfortable?

The Sport seats of the S3 are widely adjustable, figure hugging affairs. We couldn’t get quite as snug as we might have wanted, but these things do have to accommodate all sorts of body types.  The S3’s cabin is well laid out and would be comfortable for longer journeys. There’s reasonable space in the back, though the chonky seats do rob rear passengers of a little legroom.

Anything that doesn’t work? 

The glossy black plastic of the centre console is probably the cheapest looking part of the interior, and it shows up smudges and marks very easily. We’d probably find ourselves carrying a microfibre cloth for the touchscreen and the gearshift surround. 

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Neither did we get on with the A3’s native sat nav system, but then that sort of comment comes with the caveat that what didn’t work can likely be changed, we just didn’t have the time to delve into the handbook, and also that with most people using Apple/Android apps you probably will never even see the native system. 

Anyway – we got lost a few times because the Audi sat nav defaulted to an admittedly tasty looking satellite view that picks out the route nicely but doesn’t clearly show other roads around. Germany’s tricky autobahn exits fan off in all sorts of directions and the S3 wasn’t able to demonstrate clearly which way you should be going.

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