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2015 Audi S3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/16/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Audi S3 is a new model.

Research

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Audi S3 is the performance variant of the A3 sedan. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 rated at 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, the S3 uses a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Fuel economy is respectable for a performance-minded sedan at 23/31 mpg city/highway.

Overview

Thanks to its standard all-wheel-drive system and performance-tuned suspension, the 2015 Audi S3 handles well and grips the road admirably in the dry or wet. Steering feel is neutral and varies depending on how fast you’re driving, but it also lacks feel. There’s plenty of power from the turbo-four, especially when it’s fully spooled, making passing and merging a breeze. A performance package is also available with Audi’s magnetic ride system and larger 19-inch wheels wrapped in performance summer tires.

Like in all Audis, interior fit and finish in the S3 is a strong point, with plenty of soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin as well as real metal accents. There are also plenty of tech features available, including Audi’s MMI infotainment system with navigation and touchpad, active lane assist, adaptive cruise control, and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

The Advanced Technology package adds a host of safety features including forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot warning is standard on higher trim levels and part of the Driver Assistance package in the Premium trim. The 2015 Audi S3 earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS evaluations, the A3, on which the car is based, was awarded the Top Safety Pick+ designation and earned a Good score on all five testing categories. (Good is the highest possible score.)

What We Think

The 2015 Audi S3 is a well-balanced sports sedan that offers excellent performance, a well-appointed cabin, and surprisingly good gas mileage. In a First Test we said that the car is “easy to hustle, possessing high dynamic limits that were confidence inspiring.” Its ride, however, is firm even with the magnetic ride system in its softest setting, while the car’s steering “feels more artificial.” Despite its simple design, the S3’s interior appears “modern, fresh, and expensive.”

You’ll Like

  • Strong turbo-four
  • Great grip and handling
  • Surprisingly fuel-efficient

You Won’t Like

  • Lack of steering feel
  • Firm ride with the performance package

Key Competitors

  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
  • BMW M235i
  • Volkswagen Golf R
  • Subaru WRX STI
  • Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E

Rating

4 star

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