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2023 Audi S3

Starting at $46,995

8.5/10 C/D RATING
2022 audi s3 premium plus
Michael Simari|Car and Driver
8.5/10 C/D RATING

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  • Highs Sharp handling, punchy turbo-four, Audi styling in size small.
  • Lows Toggle-switch shifter isn’t intuitive, we’d like a bit more tactility from the steering, takes a second for the turbo to spool up.
  • Verdict The S3 outperforms the standard-issue A3 but stops short of the high-performance territory occupied by the mighty RS3.
By Drew Dorian


Audi’s smallest offering, the A3 sedan, looks and drives great, and the 2023 S3 improves on that solid basis with a hotter 306-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a suspension tuned for more fun. A sports sedan of this size fits into a narrow niche, but enthusiast drivers will find plenty to love about the S3, even when compared to rivals such as the BMW M235i Gran Coupe, the Cadillac CT4-V, and the Mercedes-AMG CLA35. Like the regular A3, the S3 wears a youthful-but-premium appearance and has an interior that’s crammed with thoughtful tech. Our favorite thing about the S3 is the way it drives, as its fun-to-drive factor is high and its acceleration is impressive, despite some turbo lag. Considering the S3’s relatively affordable starting price, it provides an impressive combination of luxury and performance. Those who want even more power will gravitate more toward the raucous RS3, which we review separately.

Where This Vehicle Ranks

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Audi S3

STARTING AT: $46,995
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BMW 2-series

STARTING AT: $38,395
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Audi A3

STARTING AT: $35,995
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Audi RS3

STARTING AT: $59,995
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Acura Integra

STARTING AT: $31,895
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Mercedes-AMG CLA-class

STARTING AT: $49,000

What's New for 2023?

Audi has made only minor changes to the S3 for 2023. The base Premium trim can now be outfitted with adaptive cruise control, and a wireless smartphone charging pad is now part of the optional Convenience package.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

    The Premium Plus trim will satisfy the widest swath of buyers. This mid-range model adds driver-assistance features such as lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, but also includes features such as memory settings for the driver's seat, wireless smartphone charging, and more.

    Engine, Transmission, and Performance

    All S3 models come with a 306-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system. During our initial test drive, we praised the S3's lithe handling and found its powertrain to be perky, eager, and sonorous. We did note that the heavy steering in the S3 lacks feedback and that there's considerable turbo lag when driving in the less frenzied Comfort driving mode. At our test track, the S3 bolted to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 12.9-seconds at 108 mph.

    2022 audi s3 premium plusView Photos
    Michael Simari|Car and Driver

    Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

    The EPA estimates that the S3 is good for 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, which makes it more efficient than the CLA35 and right on track with the M235i Gran Coupe. When we get a chance to test the S3's highway fuel economy on our 75-mph test route, we'll update this story with results. For more information about the S3's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

    Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

    The S3's cabin is nearly identical to the new A3's but adds some racier styling elements such as sport seats with quilted leather inserts and a flat-bottom steering wheel. The S3 uses the same toggle-switch gear selector as the A3 as well. Audi offers the S3 with a more comprehensive set of standard features, though, including a panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, and illuminated door jamb scuff plates. Passenger space is slightly more generous than in the previous-gen S3, but the new car’s trunk is smaller.

    2022 audi s3 premium plusView Photos
    Michael Simari|Car and Driver

      Infotainment and Connectivity

      The S3 comes with a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 10.3-inch digital gauge display. The screens run Audi's latest MMI software interface and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard. Buyers of the mid-range Premium Plus trim can opt for the Technology package, which adds a larger 12.3-inch digital gauge display, in-dash navigation, and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system. The top-of-the-line Prestige model gets all those same features as standard equipment.

        Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

        Like most Audis, the S3 comes standard with several driver-assistance features; more advanced technology is optional. For more information about the S3's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

        • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
        • Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
        • Available adaptive cruise control

        Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

        The new S3 comes with the same standard warranty as the rest of the Audi lineup, which includes coverage on the vehicle's powertrain and a bumper-to-bumper policy that spans four years or 50,000 miles.

        • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
        • Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
        • No complimentary scheduled maintenance



        2022 Audi S3
        Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

        Base/As Tested: $46,895/$56,840
        Options: Premium Plus package, $2800; Technology package (12.3-in digital instrument cluster, Bang & Olufsen sound system, traffic sign recognition), $2250; Black Optic package (black exhaust tips, mirror housings, exterior trim and roof, summer tires), $1950; Fine nappa leather package, $1250; Daytona Grey Pearl paint, $595

        turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
        Displacement: 121 in3, 1984 cm3
        Power: 306 hp @ 5450 rpm
        Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm

        7-speed dual-clutch automatic

        Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
        Brakes, F/R: 14.1-in vented disc/12.2-in vented disc
        Tires: Bridgestone Potenza S005
        235/35R-19 91Y AO

        Wheelbase: 103.6 in
        Length: 177.3 in
        Width: 71.5 in
        Height: 55.7 in
        Passenger Volume: 88 ft3
        Trunk Volume: 8 ft3
        Curb Weight: 3573 lb

        60 mph: 4.3 sec
        100 mph: 11.0 sec
        1/4-Mile: 12.9 sec @ 108 mph
        130 mph: 20.1 sec
        150 mph: 31.8 sec
        Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
        Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.2 sec
        Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec
        Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec
        Top Speed (mfr's claim): 155 mph
        Braking, 70–0 mph: 151 ft
        Braking, 100–0 mph: 309 ft
        Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.96 g

        Observed: 25 mpg
        75-mph Highway Driving: 32 mpg
        Highway Range: 460 mi


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