There are very few car brands which can combine luxury and speed, as well as Audi can. There are even fewer cars which can combine all of that with some compactness thrown in the mix the way the Audi S3 can. Ladies and gentleman, we give you the 2017 Audi S3.
If you want a compact luxury sedan that’s really really fast, you don’t have a large choice. It’s the S3, a fast AMG Mercedes (the A45 or CLA45), a BMW M135i or… an Audi S3. The only thing that can trump an S3 in terms of sheer capability is an Audi RS3. If that’s not saying something we don’t know, what is?
You may have noticed already, but Audi isn’t the company to go to if you want a radical and new design. Sure, their cars are good looking and even striking, but they’re neither innovative nor original. Virtually every Audi has the same front fascia, whether it’s the A3, A5, or flagship A7. As handsome as it may be, there has to come to a point where you say to yourself: “Okay, there are a couple of million cars out there all looking almost exactly alike.
Maybe it’s time we switched it up?” Credits where credits are due, however, they had it nailed the first time so you can forgive them for being a bit hesitant to change the entire styling. However… look deeper and you find that the 2017 model actually revised and not just a carryover.
The front headlights are no longer just square. They’re more C-shaped with jagged bottom edges. The lighting elements are Xenon but you can go for LEDs if you want to spend a bit more money. The standard Audi grille is here too. It’s massive, dominating the entire front fascia. The bumper at the front has small winglets on the side which have now been simplified into a single divider.
The rear section of the S3 has been adjusted to make it seem bigger and wider. The taillights have a new shape as well as new graphics, mirroring the C shape at the front. The diffuser has also been tweaked and tinkered with. There are six new colors: Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano grey, Tango red, Vegas yellow and Daytona gray pearl (only available on the S-line). Other than that, it’s the same exact car on the outside (it has the same exact dimensions).
2017 Audi S3 Interior Design
Inside you have the exact same interior as before. There’s eating for five (max), but the front seats are where it’s at. They have great lateral support with the large bolsters. Great quality diamond-patterned leather is used as upholstery and brushed metal is included in a lot of areas in the trim (door panels, vent, shifter).
The multifunction three-spoke steering wheel has a flat bottom now and you can spec it with a heating option. Now that should come in handy in cold winter days. Oh, and let’s not forget that the driver’s seat has a massage function. Talk about getting spoiled.
The big news in the cabin is the Audi virtual cockpit function. This is the first time it’s been used on a compact Audi. We’ve seen it on the R8 as well as the TT but it’s now present on the S3 too. It’s basically a 12.3 inch TFT screen which replaces the mechanical gauges fitted behind the steering wheel (it’s a digital instrument cluster).
The classic mode gives you a speedo and a tach while the infotainment mode gives you navigation, phone, and audio in addition to the shrunk speedo and tach. The standard 7-inch display on top of the dash is still here don’t worry.
The actual infotainment system gets a redesigned menu with smartphone UI. It’s controlled via a push-button on the central tunnel but you have a touchpad to enter the characters and the gestures making it a lot easier while driving. The extra switches on the rotary control can be sued for navigation as well as activating voice recognition.
The Audi connect package gives you LTE online connectivity and flat data plan. With this, you have a WiFi hotspot for phones and Google Earth (the best navigation to this very day). In addition, you have a wide array of information such as traffic info, weather info, news, videos and a lot more.
Under the Hood
The hood hides the same engine but don’t think it’s been left untreated. Just like the exterior, it’s been tweaked to produce some minor improvements. So, it now has 10 more hp and 15 more torques. This takes the power figures of the 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine all the way to 310 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
That torque figure isn’t impressive just because it’s large, but because all 295 pounds are available at just 2,000 rpm. Note that these figures are only for all S3’s with a seven-speed S-Tronic transmission. The manual versions of the S3 in Europe get the old car’s figure of 280 lb-ft of torque (due to loss in drivetrain as well as saving the clutch from extra wear and tear). The dash from 0 to 60 mph is dealt with in around 4.7 seconds and the top speed is naturally limited to 155 mph.
Being built on the MQB architecture, the S3 gets MacPherson struts at the front and a four-link setup at the rear. Naturally, the suspension is much stiffer than the standard Audi A3 giving you the choice of both fixed dampers and adaptive magnetic shocks.
Power is sent to all four wheels with the Quattro AWD system and the steering is electronic rather than hydraulic. Some people have complained about the steering wheel but in all honesty, unless you’re Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton you won’t notice it. The 2017 Audi S3 sedan starts at $43k but that figure can easily rise to $48,5k for the Prestige model (without options).