Fast, fun and beautifully built, the roomy S3 is a great family car choice for those who love driving. It’s also cost-effective to run.
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Thinking of buying a used Audi S3?
The style of the car
The S3 is a stylish high performance car based on the Audi A3. There are three and five-door hatchback (Sportback) versions, plus a four door saloon. Larger alloy wheels, a subtle bodykit and four exhaust pipes give the S3 a discreet yet sporty look.
How it drives
The S3 is brilliant to drive with precise steering and agile handling. It’s enjoyable on all types of road, while quattro four-wheel drive adds extra control in slippery conditions. The turbocharged engines are smooth and very powerful for quick acceleration. Supportive seats, an excellent driving position and low noise levels make it comfortable even on long journeys. Good visibility and compact dimensions help make parking easy and the optional S tronic automatic gearbox is perfect for town driving.
The S3 is roomy and comfortable with loads of leg and headroom for everyone. The Sportback and saloon versions have wide opening back doors for easy access. All three versions have well-shaped boots that will hold three medium-sized suitcases, plus you can fold the back seats for even more space. The S3 is very well equipped, with all models getting Audi’s excellent MMI infotainment featuring Bluetooth, sat nav and a large screen that rises out of the dashboard when in use. A special Black Edition trim comes with leather seats.
Running costs and reliability
The S3 is competitively priced against its rivals and is just as well equipped. Despite its power and performance, the turbocharged petrol engine is efficient and capable of a good 43.5mpg. Insurance costs are a little higher than for the standard Audi A3, but servicing is similar and the car maker offers affordable prepaid maintenance plans. Audi is well known for its excellent build quality and the S3 is a durable and dependable choice. The S3 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but the A3 it’s based on scored the full five stars.
How it compares with similar cars
The S3 is Audi’s mid-sized high performance car which is bigger than the Audi S1 but smaller than the more powerful Audi S4. It’s more spacious than the BMW M140i and more comfortable than the Mercedes A45.
THe S3 is actually one of our top 10 used hot hatches.
Audi S3 common questions
Audi is famed for its excellent build quality and reliability and the S3 should be dependable and hassle-free.
Despite its high performance the S3’s engines are very efficient. The premium Audi will also hold onto its value better than many rivals.
Both the hatchback and saloon versions of the S3 have spacious and practical interiors, along with good sized boots.
The S3 is as fast and good to drive as rivals, but is more relaxing on long journeys. Standard four-wheel drive adds all-weather peace of mind.