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Audi S3 Saloon review – slick saloon is the best S3 yet
Audi’s compact performance saloon builds on the strengths of the hatchback models but doesn’t offer any greater levels of entertainment. If you want a fast saloon that’s usable every day, looks good, won’t punish you at every fuel stop and offers all-weather performance then look no further – but the S3 still falls a few percent short of providing a truly entertaining drive.
Unless you’re dead set on the saloon both the S3 hatchback and S3 Sportback offer the same performance for less money, so both are worth a look – as is the Volkswagen Golf R, which uses the same drivetrain but offers more fun on a twisty road.
'The new S3 Saloon rights many previous Audi wrongs, with crisp steering and a supple ride. It's not perfect though, and despite its similarity under the skin to the Volkswagen Golf R, it somehow falls short of delivering the engaging driving characteristics that make that car great.' Dan Prosser, Road Test Editor
Performance and 0-60 time > As strong as you'd expect for a turbocharged, all-wheel drive car - particularly with the optional S tronic dual-clutch gearbox
Engine and gearbox > 296bhp from a two-litre, turbocharged four cylinder. Haldex all-wheel drive normally sends power forwards, but can divert it to the rear
Ride and handling > Not much steering feel, but it's direct, the ride is better than many fast Audis of the past, and traction is strong
MPG and running costs > Claimed economy not too wide of the mark on a cruise, but use that power and the figures will quickly tumble
Prices, specs and rivals > The VW Golf R doesn't have a boot but similar dynamic makeup somehow delivers greater thrills for similar money
Interior and tech > Tasteful cabin architecture, well-built and thoroughly logical. Plenty of infotainment features to keep you occupied, too
Design > Possibly the most attractive A3 bodystyle, enhanced further with S3 details. Still appeals more to the head than the heart