Audi S3 (2013-2020) review – design

The S3’s styling is subtle and restrained, LED lighting details and sharp wheels keep it fresh, but its commonality is its biggest flaw

Evo rating
  • Grip, composure, quality
  • A safe pair of hands, and feeling old compared to fresh rivals

The S3’s overall design has aged well, but despite the slick detailing and LED lighting, the Audi’s sheer familiarity on the road might be its Achilles’ heel. The current generation A3, based on the MQB platform, is the first time Audi has turned the A3 into a saloon. Before, it had just been a hatch and a cabriolet. The saloon body looks great; we really like the balance of the three-box design. With the three-door S3 now gone, the saloon now joins just the cabrio and the slightly heavy-handed five-door Sportback.

Keeping its 300bhp potency very much on the down low, the aesthetic signifiers that differentiate S3s from their lesser A3 siblings are subtle. They include silver wing mirrors, quad exhaust pipes, 18- or 19-inch alloys and a few bodywork details.

If you do look a little more closely, you’ll spot the single-frame grille with an aluminium-look finish and matt platinum grey inserts. The front bumper features aluminium-look double ribs worked into the air inlets. The rear bumper has also been redesigned and incorporates a platinum grey diffuser that houses the exhaust system's four, chrome-tipped oval tailpipes. The modest roof spoiler claims to generate some downforce, which seems a little ambitious. But it does look good.

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