Audi's current competitor in the hot hatchback genre of cars is a worthy adversary for the Mercedes A45 AMG and the BMW M135i. Although the A45 has greater performance going from 0-100 kmh in 4.6 seconds and the Audi and the BMW tied at 4.9 seconds which is no slouch.
The S3 has a 2.0 tfsi (turbocharged) engine that is the same in a VW Golf R, which means it's going to be pretty good. The engine has an output of 206 Kilowatts or 300 BHP, which in something as small as the S3 has a large impact.
The car has 4 different driving modes. The first is efficiency where the throttle response is weak, the suspension is soft and the engine is slightly turned down. It also short shifts like hell. When in efficiency the engine will turn off automatically when stopped at a set of lights, this can be overridden by the touch of button on the dashboard.
Comfort is the mode you will be running in mostly. Everything in comfort is the same as efficiency except the throttle and the automatic gear changes. The steering is beautifully weighted and has great light and bright feel to it in comfort and efficiency.
Then there is Dynamic where just about everything changes the throttle response is unbelievably sensitive, the steering is now much firmer and racy, the suspension is firm and not too bouncy like in the S1. The gears are still slightly hesitant to let the engine rev and as a result still short shift a little but the paddles of course can override this. There is a slight delay on the upshift but the downshift is perfect.
There is also Auto mode which adapts the car to the way you drive it so if you drive it firmly it will be in dynamic or if you are driving slowly it will be in comfort.
There is an individual mode, which allows you to adjust the steering, suspension, exhaust, gearbox, and engine all individually so you can be driving around with everything in comfort except for the exhaust.
The S3 is fairly practical as well. The optional load through system is a must just so the people in the back can have some proper drink holders and storage compartment. The seats fold down fairly flat so you can fit bulky items in. In my opinion small cars like the S3 Sportback need a lot of interior light. Luckily there is an option for a sunroof, which works well with the interior and is not too blowy inside.
The technology inside the car is top of its game. The screen doesn't look like it has been glued on like in the A45 this is done so by it automatically coming up out of the dash board when the ignition is turned on but can be put back down and hidden by the push of a button if need be. There is Bluetooth obviously and a very sophisticated navigation system.
There is one essential option that you have to get with this car and that is the S performance pack. The S performance pack includes 5 twin spoke wheels in granite, Diamond stitch seats, adjustable dampers, a small spoiler on the back, a fantastic Bang and Oulfsen sound system, red brake calipers and LED headlights all for $4,990.
To summarize this car it is a sports car that you can use every day. It's practical, comfortable and is the best compromise of the BMW M135i and the A45. It may not have the performance of an A45 or the pure drive and feel of the M135i but it in my opinion it looks better than the M135i and just as or better than the A45 which is why if you to have everything in a car you would have to buy the S3.