2.0T Premium Plus quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Third update: Still love it! To be fair, however, if I was thinking about purchasing a new S3 today, I'd probably wait and compare it to the upcoming RS3 first, which my local Audi dealer has told me is due to arrive in November. That said, if it's in as short supply as the BMW M2 continues to be - and negotiating any sort of discount off of MSRP would be unlikely - I'd likely stick with the S3, assuming I could successfully negotiate as strong a discount as last time around. Also, to correct an earlier remark I made about the car: its HomeLink system is apparently dealer-installed, and in my case it wasn't listed separately on my invoice, for some reason (despite being charged extra for the dealer-installed tinted windows). Finally, just to note the one feature my car doesn't have that I wish it did: memory-stored seat and steering wheel positions. Considering my 2003 BMW had them, as do numerous vehicles priced less than even a base-level S3, this seems like an admittedly unusual instance of Audi cutting corners. Updated review: 3/12/17 Still couldn't be happier with it! It's still quite literally in a class of its own: it's better than the CLA 45 despite being $15K cheaper, and BMW's smallest sedan is a size up from the A3/S3 (comparable to an A4). Yes, it has most of the same underpinnings as the VW Golf R (minus the magnetic suspension, which is absolutely a must-have item), but VW still has the lingering question of how badly Dieselgate will ultimately impact resale values. Updated review: 9/10/16 It's now been four months since I bought my S3, and I remained as enamored with it as ever. Really, the *only* issue I have with the car is that it takes the A/C a while to get going, though note that I live in Texas and have to park it outside all day while at work. Still, the cold blast doesn't kick in until about 15-20 seconds after I start it, or at least it does when the temp's 95+ (which in my part of Texas is nearly every day between June and September). I also wanted to comment on remarks made in a few reviews posted since I wrote my original one. I've also had some curious issues with its Bluetooth system and my Nexus 6P phone, but much different ones than "Barmoley" apparently had. Rather than streaming music getting automatically muted, I've found that the car's Bluetooth system automatically activates the last music app I used even if I DON'T want to listen to music (and don't have *any* music apps open on my phone). The problem's not limited to either that one phone or merely Android phones; I also have an iPhone, and the *exact* same thing happens with it as well. In both cases the only way to prevent it is to turn off the phones' Bluetooth connection altogether. That said, I've never had any problems listening to either Google Maps or Waze navigation directions through the stereo. Finally, I wanted to correct one error in Jim Glass's otherwise-excellent review: the S3 does include HomeLink, and I'm pretty sure it's standard equipment. It's located in a slightly odd spot -- to the right of the driver-side visor, facing the left *window* -- but it's definitely there and has three programmable buttons. Original review: 5/20/16 As a longtime BMW aficionado, I had some doubts at first about switching my allegiance over to Audi, but after owning my S3 for a while, I have ZERO regrets. While BMW seems to have lost its way in recent years -- at least in terms of offering vehicles that truly *connect* with the road -- Audi has gone the opposite route, upping its game with its S-series of cars as BMWs have gotten increasingly bloated (in terms of price *and* literal bloat, as in curb weight). The S3 is a pocket rocket in the truest sense of the term, with razor-sharp handling and incredibly quick acceleration for a four-cylinder vehicle. BMW doesn't even *make* a comparable vehicle; its closest competitor is the M2, which is only available as a (fairly impractical) coupe. The Benz CLA 45 is the S3's only direct competition, and I found it to be subpar in nearly every way, most of all in terms of price: while I managed to negotiate a final purchase price of under $40K for my vehicle -- and that's *with* a number of options, notably the Black Optic performance package -- most of the CLAs I saw had sticker prices north of $60K! (Much like BMW, Benz goes way overboard with its options pricing.) Even a Benz C450 AMG is difficult to procure for much under $50K (and a C63 obviously costs far more.) Furthermore, the S3 is the only one of the bunch that offers a measure of practicality to go with its sportiness. Good luck trying to fit anyone over 5'10" or so in the back seat of a CLA; its roofline severely constricts rear head room. It has a surprisingly commodious trunk, with seats that fold down *far* more easily than those in any BMW I've ever owned. To be fair, rear leg room isn't great, but it's certainly better than that in a BMW 2-series (and only slightly less than that in a 3-series).
I am really enjoying this car. I didn't expect to enjoy it this much, but I do. I am coming from driving a 2012 E93 BMW M3 convertible, which was an excellent car in its own right. I expected to like the S3 after test driving it, but I could never imagine that I will like driving it more than the M3. Where the M3 felt powerful and fast the S3 feels quick and nimble. It is difficult to explain, but for me, driving the S3 is more relaxing and more controlled at the same time. M3 had better steering and better breaks even though S3's steering and breaks are excellent too. I like the power delivery of the S3 better. In S mode there is no turbo/transmission lag and D mode is OK for everyday driving. Magnetic/Active damping makes the car more comfortable, it is stiff, but not nearly as harsh as the M3 was. One thing I haven't figured out and having a slight trouble with is the Bluetooth connection. I am using it with Nexus 6P and streaming music gets muted very shortly after the car starts and Bluetooth gets connected. The music is still streamed but sound is not coming through the car or the phone. I need to turn off Bluetooth on my phone and turn it back on to fix it. After that all is well. Also, if I use Waze and Audible through Bluetooth, Waze interrupts the audiobook, but there is no sound coming from Waze, so I know that it was trying to tell me something, but not what it was trying to say.
2.0T Prestige quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
6 months and 7100 miles. Have had a low coolant warning appear twice. Audi Bulletin advises that air gets into the system during production or when refilled during previous repairs. * Update. Problem has not reoccurred. At 17k and car is performing well. * Update. Nearing the 30k mark and have not had any additional issues. The S3 is still a fun to drive car that performs well. * Update. Approach 40k. The car has been solid. Lots of power and fun to drive. The B&O sound system makes the commute so much better as well.
2.0T Prestige quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
I consider myself a bona fide car nut this being my 38th car I've purchased. Just to correct one thing, it does have a USB port in the console under the armrest right next to the Audi connect port. For perspective, I've owned several BMW's including 3 and 5 series, a Z4 3.0 and a slew of Benzes ranging from S-Class and G-Wagen to SLK and CLK430 and currently a mint CLS500. Two cars before this purchase, I owned a Porsche Cayman S for 4 years. I've autocrossed, done track days and been a sports car fan since the late 50's when I first saw Jim Kimberly in his Ferrari win a race. Enough history. I shopped the M235i and MB GLA45 AMG before making this buy. The S3 is a true entry level luxury rocket. It has all the tech anyone could want (and probably never use). Mine is a Prestige and has all the Driver's assistance goodies, e.g. adaptive cruise, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, Presense braking, etc. These things are truly workable and disconnectable, great for interstate cruising. Now there is also Launch Control, along with 4 driving modes. The sound when in Dynamic, or S drive is among the best I've heard. And did I mention this thing really does fly. Audi says 0-60 in 4.7 sec. Motor Trend, C&D say 4.4 sec. One does have to know how to make it launch but it can be done in several ways only has one "must" step, disable the traction control. Shift to "S"or manual, disable the TC, step on the brake and floor the gas. It winds up to 4,000rpm. Take your foot off the brake and hold on. The sports seat are very comfortable but lack electric adjustment! Don't select the sports seats and you get electric. This isn't a big issue unless a number of different drivers will use the car. Not a problem for me. One other lux feature missing but available if ordered at the port is Homelink. It's not on the option list but ask if it is a must have and it can be installed. The B&O audio is terrific and entertainment sound options are numerous, Sirius, two of your own SD cards, BT stream through your phone or iPad, and it all works easily, automatically once you hook it up. The MMI system is as noted by many auto mags, easy to use and a really nice interface. On a closing note, neither the BMW or Benz interiors are nearly as nice and they don't have all of Audi's tech either... and comparably equipped (to the extent possible) they will cost $5-8,000 more. Check their depreciation vs Audi's 53% after 5 years. In summary, if you're in the market for a small luxury road rocket, you must give this car a look. As an update, I've now taken several road trips and have 8200+ miles on the odometer. The car continues to perform brilliantly with my only gripe being the inability to receive text messages unless iMessage is disabled and Twitter responses being very limited. Other than those 2 issues, I continue to believe I made the right decision purchasing Tis wonderful little sedan.
I was nervous switching out of my aging (2007) BMW 335, being a long-time fan of BMWs, but after getting settled into my new S3, I'm a solid convert. Handling and agility are tight and inspire confidence. Acceleration is great, especially for the size of the engine; after taking it out for a spin, it took some effort to convince my friends and family that it was only a four-cylinder engine. Shifting into higher gear at high revs sounds great, but engine noise when daily driving is calm and unobtrusive. The size is great for an urban area when you still want to fit people in the backseat - I'm 5'11" and would be just fine sitting in the back on a decent road trip, though the back is not super roomy. I prefer the smaller wheelbase over the BMW, as it only adds to the zippy feel of the car. I compared the Golf R and the BMW M235, and was most impressed and got the best deal by far with the S3. A must is the performance package (either the standard or the black optic) - the magnetic suspension is taut when on smooth freeways but welcomingly smooth when avoiding potholes in the city. Extremely happy with my purchase, and would recommend to anyone in the market for a car that is sporty, luxurious, practical (relatively), and a great value. You'll love it.