The below editorial is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

Audi S3 Saloon

BOOT IT! (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Audi's S3 Saloon might be the best fast car you've never heard of. Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 64

The Audi S3 Saloon takes the existing and successful S3 hatch and adds a boot to it, decimating its likely sales in the process. While a four-door S3 is still a lovely thing, it's going to appeal to a niche within a niche. Still, that 300PS two-litre turbo engine and four-wheel drive chassis combination fits the classic middleweight sports saloon genre to a tee.

Backgroundword count: 161

To those of us who care about this sort of thing, the Audi S3 has always been a fast hatchback. Whether you got three doors or five, it didn't much matter. It was always furnished with a tailgate and that put it in with a very specific group of cars. More to the point, it lumped it in with a group of rivals that it could usually administer a sound battering to; cheaper models without the benefit of its all-wheel drive chassis or sumptuous build quality. That market has changed in recent years and so has the S3. It's now available as a saloon, looking for all the world like an Audi S4 short of a bit of growth hormone. The addition of a boot on the back shouldn't change things that much but it does. Sports saloons grow bigger and tougher than hot hatchbacks and the S3 Saloon has to face down some scary rivals if it wants to succeed.

Driving Experienceword count: 343

To most in this category, a sports saloon with four-wheel drive, a 2.0-litre turbo engine and a tall stack of attitude means either a Subaru Impreza WRX STi or a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, both echoes from the past that nevertheless cast long shadows. Can the S3 Saloon match these performance icons? In terms of sheer pace, no. Nevertheless, it'll get to 62mph in a mere 5.4 seconds and keep going to an electronically limited 155mph, which is hardly hanging around. Although at first glance the 1984cc turbocharged engine looks similar to that which has gone before, it's completely different with a clever way of using direct and indirect injection to best effect. With twin balancer shafts and a long stroke, Audi claims it develops very a very smooth serving of torque; fully 380Nm all the way from 1,800 to 5,500rpm. That's impressive. The S3 is equipped as standard with a manual six-speed transmission with a lightweight magnesium case. The optional S tronic twin-clutch transmission features high efficiency and a tall sixth gear. The lower gears are short in the interest of dynamics, as is also the case with the manual transmission. The heart of the quattro all-wheel drive system is an electronically controlled and hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch. In the interests of balanced axle load distribution, its located at the end of the prop shaft, in front of the rear axle differential. During normal driving, the clutch sends most of the engine's power to the front wheels. If traction decreases there, the clutch can transfer torque steplessly to the rear axle in just a few milliseconds by forcing the packages of plates together via controlled action. Audi drive select is standard in the new Audi S3. It incorporates the characteristics of the electronic accelerator, the boost of the progressive steering and the shift points of the optional S tronic. The driver determines with the push of a button whether these systems operate in comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency or individual mode. In individual mode, drivers can compose their own preferred profile within certain limits.

To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

6

6.7

Combined mpg:

39.8

43.5

Extra urban mpg:

47.9

51.4

Height (mm):

1416

Length (mm):

4458

Max Speed (mph):

155

... and 5 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category:

Performance
80%
Handling
80%
Comfort
80%
Space
80%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

Subscriber? Login here

Mobile
Narrow
Narrower
Normal
Wide