2022 Audi A3 and S3 Ship Driving Enjoyment in a Small Bundle

For many who get pleasure from driving however are compelled by the necessity to mix efficiency with a modicum of practicality, sports activities sedans have lengthy been the right selection. Regardless of the seismic shift in direction of SUVs lately, it is nice to see that some automakers—primarily from Germany—are protecting the religion. The most recent instance is the brand new 2022 Audi A3, together with its S3 sporting cousin.

The A3 is Audi’s smallest four-door sedan, though this newest model has grown barely. It is 1.2 inches longer, 0.8 inch wider, and half an inch taller than its predecessor. Lest you suppose that it is a tiny automotive, the brand new A3 is similar width and barely an inch shorter than an E90-generation BMW 3-series. Inside quantity can also be comparable, however trunk area is about 10 % much less.

The brand new mannequin is wrapped in sheetmetal that does not depart a lot from the outgoing mannequin. The profile is modern, and the entrance face is dominated by a big grille. But it surely’s a subdued look with minimal sculpting, and it’s maybe the least eye-catching of any car in Audi’s lineup. The S3 model is equally low key, with a coarser grille texture, bigger and wider wheels, and a delicate rear spoiler. Enhancements in mirror design, underbody cladding, and different particulars have decreased the drag coefficients by about 10 % throughout the board.

Inside, nonetheless, the 2022 mannequin goes in a brand new path with an angular motif that is carried by means of the sprint, the vents, the armrests, and even the door handles. Not solely does it look contemporary and enticing, however the brand new design integrates the ten.1-inch infotainment touchscreen as an alternative of getting it sprout from the sprint like a mini drive-in film display screen.

The driving place is superb, with the steering wheel’s higher half properly framing the optionally available 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit Plus reconfigurable instrument cluster. (The usual display screen is a pair inches smaller and affords fewer configuration choices.) Headroom and legroom are tremendous, regardless of the usual panoramic sunroof. Even the again seat is fairly good, with enough headroom, legroom, and foot room for somebody who’s 5 ft, 11 inches tall. The rear seatbacks fold in 40/20/40 increments, maximizing the utility of the 11-cubic-foot trunk.

Heated energy entrance seats are commonplace, as is leather-based upholstery with contrasting stitching, which is now accessible in grey, brown, or beige. Throughout a two-hour drive, these seats had been very comfy and offered first rate lateral help, with barely bigger facet bolsters within the S3.

Up to date Powertrains

The powertrains will likely be acquainted to earlier A3 and S3 house owners, however there are some vital enhancements. All use variations of the VW Group’s ubiquitous 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. In contrast to within the earlier A3, the front-drive automotive not will get a much less highly effective engine than the Quattro.

The brand new A3 engine makes use of a modified Miller cycle that improves part-throttle gas financial system and is coupled to a 48-volt hybrid system to supply additional effectivity. Output is 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, which is roughly in between the earlier A3’s two engines. Coupled once more to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the brand new A3’s EPA mixed gas financial system improves by two mpg to 32 mpg with front-wheel drive and by an enormous 6 mpg to 31 mpg for the Quattro. It is good to see that, regardless of the push in direction of EVs, Audi hasn’t given up on internal-combustion-engine improvement.

Whereas Audi claims that the front-drive A3 maintains the identical 6.6-second 60-mph time as earlier than, the lack of almost 20 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque would not assist the all-wheel-drive A3 Quattro, which wants a claimed 6.3 seconds to hit 60—however we predict they’re going to be faster as soon as we get our fingers on one to check. If the 24 % enchancment in gas financial system would not console you about this deficit, the answer is to step as much as the extra highly effective S3.

The S3’s engine sees energy improve from 288 to 306 horsepower and torque boosted from 280 to 295 pound-feet. On the identical time, EPA mixed gas financial system improves by 2 mpg to 27, and the factory-stated 60-mph dash time drops by a tenth to 4.5 seconds. In our final take a look at of an S3, it was a few tenths faster than the manufacturing facility declare, so we would anticipate a barely higher determine in our testing.

Sporting Suspensions

The suspension is essentially much like the earlier era with struts in entrance and a multilink setup within the rear. The largest change is that the optionally available, adjustable suspension supplied on the S3 switches from magnetorheological know-how to extra typical hydraulic dampers. A model of this method with completely different calibration can also be optionally available on the A3 for the primary time.

We drove the A3 and S3 by means of Colorado’s mountain roads, and each take to arduous driving with enthusiasm. The A3 Quattro was moderately sturdy, providing its 201 ponies willingly and revving strongly to its 6250-rpm redline. The usual paddle shifters work fantastically, and whereas we’re not followers of the lame-looking stubby gear selector, it does serve properly to toggle between the transmission’s commonplace drive, sport, and handbook positions.

The chassis has good physique management and good cornering steadiness, regardless of undoubtedly having a front-based weight distribution. Solely when pushing actually arduous in tight corners did entrance grip appear to fade sooner than the rear. The brakes are sturdy and encourage confidence, although the steering, whereas correct, just isn’t infused with nice really feel. Switching from Consolation to Dynamic mode provides a little bit of weight to the steering however not essentially extra really feel.

The S3 feels instantly tauter than the A3. The trip is firmer, the brake pedal more durable, and the engine a lot stronger. When utilizing full throttle to go vehicles on two-lane roads, the S3 feels prefer it makes use of all of its 306 horsepower because it shifts crisply a bit of above its 6500-rpm redline. The engine sounds satisfying at full throttle as properly, with none synthetic soundtrack being pumped in by means of the sound system.

The S3’s steering in Consolation mode is heavier than within the A3’s Dynamic mode, and it additionally has a powerful sense of self-centering, which feels a bit synthetic. In Dynamic mode, the hassle will increase considerably, to the purpose the place it overpowers any steering really feel. The suspension, alternatively, works very properly in Dynamic mode, giving the automotive a taut really feel that encourages exploiting the S3’s better grip.

The twin-clutch seven-speed transmission works properly in each vehicles. Exploring low-rpm operation within the higher gears, the S3 shows substantial turbo lag. That is simply overcome by driving in one of many Sport modes or hitting the kickdown swap, after which the mix of a giant downshift and the engine coming onto enhance delivers an thrilling rush of acceleration.

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Pushed extra calmly, the A3 and the S3 are moderately refined. Whereas their four-cylinder engines are clean and quiet, they do not fairly purr with the silkiness of six- and eight-cylinder powerplants. The trip can also be good, although the occasional harsh bump does come crashing by means of the suspension. Even in Consolation mode, these vehicles remind that they’re machines with a sporting orientation.

A3 and S3 Pricing

Each vehicles are on sale now, with costs beginning at $34,945 for the A3 ($2000 extra for the A3 Quattro) and $45,945 for the S3. As common, all fashions supply Audi’s Premium, Premium Plus, and Status packages. Our well-equipped take a look at vehicles stickered at $44,400 for the A3 Quattro and $57,440 for the S3.

For many who just like the driving enjoyment in small packages, these new Audis are nice decisions. They provide a mixture of efficiency, consolation, and effectivity that merely cannot be matched by bigger automobiles.



2022 Audi A3/S3

Automobile Sort: front-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan


Base: A3, $34,945; S3, $45,945


turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 201 hp, 221 lb-ft; turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 306 hp, 295 lb-ft


7-speed dual-clutch computerized


Wheelbase: 103.5–103.6 in

Size: 176.9–177.3 in

Width: 71.5 in

Top: 55.7–56.2 in

Passenger Quantity: 88 ft3

Trunk Quantity: 8–11 ft3

Curb Weight (C/D est): 3350–3550 lb


60 mph: 4.3–6.2 sec

100 mph: 11.8–15.0 sec

1/4-Mile: 13.0–14.7 sec

Prime Pace: 130–155 mph


Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 27–32/23–29/32–38 mpg

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