At the recent Paris Motor Show, Audi teased us with a first ever RS 3 super sedan, complete with a 2.5-liter turbo-five, with nearly 400 horsepower, and a 4 second 0-60 time. But, alas, for that we’ll have to wait till next year!

For now, we’ll have to make do with a revised Audi S3 as the most potent model in the A3 four-door lineup.

And, truth be told, it will suit most Audi buyers just fine. It’s a spunky yet delightful daily driver in every respect. Behind its wheel, you’ll quickly understand what first made small, European hard-tops such an enthusiast’s hit here in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

On top of all the things we’ve already said about the latest gen A3, the S3’s potent 2.0-liter turbo comes with a healthy boost in power, from 220 to 292, with a 6-speed DCT.

While all that’s unchanged, Audi spent lots of time making sure the suspension and standard all-wheel drive system now almost seamlessly work together. During a lot of seat time on the twisting roads around Durham, North Carolina, I found the changes made for a nice improvement in cornering grip without degrading ride quality.

Audi’s magnetic ride sport suspension is available for the first time too, driver adjustable through Audi’s Drive Select interface.

New to the S3’s mostly-business yet upscale interior is the full virtual cockpit that we’ve always praised on pricier Audi models, with a driver centric Sport Viewing Mode with big tach and lap timer.

Great looking and well bolstered sports seats were another feature that made time in the S3 go by much too quickly.

JOHN DAVIS: “Almost 300 horsepower, 19-inch wheels and tires, rear biased quattro all-wheel drive, this 2017 Audi S3 in a lot of ways is like a TTS with two extra doors. It’s a very dynamic car to drive despite being a bit of a sleeper as far as outward appearance. All-in-all it’s a lot of performance in a very tidy package.”

Along with the rest of the updated A3 lineup, the 2017 Audi S3 is on sale now, starting just under $43,000.


  • Engine: 2.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 292
  • Price: Just under $43,000