Audi impresses yet again with the all-new 2015 S3 – a small, taut, new performance derivative of the company’s third generation A3 lineup. The S3 is differentiated by a number of eye-catching details. First up is the sleek, yet pumped up body with its prominent side sills, huge performance wheels and tires, S-specific front grille, aluminum –look door mirrors and a rear platinum gray diffuser at the rear with twinned sets of double oval exhausts. But it is not all show and go, as the S3 has a powertrain and all the dynamic technologies and other goodies you could think of in the pursuit of performance.
The 2015 Audi S3 2.0 TFSI comes in two trim levels in Canada, starting with a Progressiv model or, the upscale Technik trim which adds such goodies as a navigation system, advanced parking system with front & rear sensors, a rear view camera and a high-end upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system. As usual, the Audi S3’s cabin is redolent with the classy look, fit and feel of the brand. Luxury leather, meticulously fitted trim and details, the highest quality fabrics, textures, driver ergonomics and switchgear. There is absolutely nothing to complain of. The seats are sporty and firm, yet comfortable up front with plenty of room to get comfortable. The rear is a little tighter in all quarters, but nothing new here and it all makes for a very distinctive sporty/luxury interior cabin that Audi do so well.
However the real story is the performance and engineering of the S3. The 2015 S3 is powered by a deftly engineered 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But it is not the bog-standard TFSI unit. The S3’s engine is race bred, with stronger pistons, uprated rings, reinforced connecting rods and crankcase and a new lightweight aluminum-silicon alloy cylinder head. Stellar engineering means the new engine motor is around 5 kg less than the previous engine in weight. Meanwhile, all these rigorous mechanical modifications mean the S3 has an impressive numbers file. Power is rated at 290 hp at 5,400 rpm with 280-lb/ft-peak torque that tops out at 1,900 rpm. If you must know by the way, fuel economy is rated at 10.1/7.7L/100km. All that power is transmitted to the tires via the current generation of Audi’s Quattro permanent four-wheel drive and the S tronic transmission. In other global market Audi offers either a six-speed manual transmissions or the S tronic dual-clutch transmission with automatic or manual operation modes, but for now the Quattro is the only transmission available in Canada. In terms of performance, the horsepower figures translate into some astounding numbers. The 2015 Audi S3 will do the 0-100-km/h dashes in around 4.8 seconds and can accelerate to a sensibly governed maximum speed of 250 km/h. On the road, the S3 offers incredible thrills, a goodly amount comes from the exhaust note- a rip roaring cacophony of wails and snarls courtesy of the electromechanical sound actuator that transmits the snappy soundtrack into the cabin on hard aggressive acceleration and standing starts. It is all part of the drama as the S3’s thoroughbred engines makes short work of any demands on it. The transmission is a delight offering lightning quick up and downshifts. It is incredible how just the S3’s 2 litres engine can produce close to 300 hp and still funnel it so smoothly into traction. Handling is also top flight with the lowered ride height, and sport tuned suspension setting offering road hugging, corner blasting dynamics. It takes only flicks of the wrist and small steering inputs courtesy of ESC electronic stabilization control and the optional Audi Magnetic Ride to shred tight corners and apex’s. The S3 is simply a blast to drive fast and hard. However- and there always has to be a however! The S3’s engineering does not come cheap. Pricing for the base level S3 start at $45,400 and you can easily hit over the 50 grand mark with extras and goodies. Still, it is a superb high performance compact sedan and as usual, there will be no shortage of Audi buyers who are willing to pay premium prices to get this superb level of quality and performance. The 2015 Audi S3 will not disappoint.
2015 Audi S3 Performance sedan: Priced from $45,400 plus destination, PDI and taxes.