The first drive with the new Audi S3: The perfect swallow district

The staples of the sharper hatchback segment, although many times higher than the actual sharpened ones, entered their fourth generation several months after the civilian version was introduced as the last of the Octavia-Golf-Leon-A3 quadruplets.

She told us she was thrilled at the first ride – and whether this will be the case in the case of the “eska”, I test on the roads near Neuburg on the Danube, where the Audi Sport division is based.

The ready-made yellow Audi S3 has, of course, all-wheel drive and a three-cylinder four-cylinder under the hood, which cooperates with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; the manual is not available.

According to the presentation, this combination should handle the outer rear wheel more when you take a corner under the accelerator, and the adjustable chassis should be comfortable and firm depending on how you want to ride.

The first ride in the Audi S3 Sportback

Photo: Audi

I come to the prepared cars and I would like to say that you won’t confuse the “es-three” with anything from the outside, but the opposite is true – except for the four tailpipes, you can hang basically all the elements on the basic turbodiesel thanks to the S Line package. Nevertheless, he looks aggressive and the yellow color, in contrast to the black contours, suits him very well.

I take the handle, sit in the seat with a firm and distinctive, but wide enough side guide. The display instead of the instrument panel is obvious, as well as its relatively wide range of individualization options – the display can be based on circles, horizontal “alarm clocks” or a tachometer in the shape of a hockey stick with a speed number in the middle. It seems the clearest to me, so I choose it.

Not only hockey fans will like this display of the instrument panel.

Photo: Audi

The S3 has retained control of the air conditioning with physical buttons, but when I want to change the temperature, I look in vain for red and blue. The temperature is controlled by an unmarked button exactly below the number and you can either press it normally from above or pull it from below.

The buttons below the air conditioning display control what is lit above them. At first glance, it is surprising that there are no blue and red tapes, but how would you like to show them that you have to pull the button from below to add temperature?

Photo: Audi

The ventilation vents sticking out of the device chapel are a bit of a fist in my eye in terms of design, but they work quite nicely. I can easily point the one on the left to the side window and the one on the right doesn’t blow on my hand from below when I want to do something on the center display, in contrast to the arrangement e.g. in Škoda Octavia.

Two driving modes are enough

I start the four-cylinder with the button, which snorts into a quite noisy but not annoying exhaust. I drive the first ten kilometers slowly to warm the oil – in the display of the tachometer with a hockey stick I can see the thermometer permanently at the bottom left – and then, when a few interesting turns appear, I add a little. The S3 is not to be thrown away, the asphalt is tightly held under the throttle even without it, and when I switch to Dynamic mode, I have the impression that the outer rear wheel takes up the most.

However, according to the carmaker, the differential with real torque vectoring does not fit into the MQB platform, so the car only simulates it with the help of brakes, however, it works really nicely and the bends under the gas are a pleasure to drive. The difference compared to the behavior without acceleration is quite large, when braking or simply releasing the accelerator, the car in the corner behaves simply like a front wheel – of course with added grip thanks to a lower seat and wide and high-quality tires.

The chassis is perfect.

Photo: Audi

Over the course of about a hundred kilometers, I notice that although the car has several driving modes, the most useful are basically two. Comfort is when you want to drive at rest, and you only switch between D and S with the gearbox selector, depending on whether you want to drive through the village at low speed or, conversely, accelerate rapidly behind it.

Or force the transmission to respond faster or not understeer the engine on a hill. Comfort and the basic forward mode of the transmission with a slight throttle act as if the car said something in the sense of “I have 310 horsepower, but now only 50 of them work, the rest went on break” and the car’s reactions are quite lethargic.

With a suitable combination of D and S, however, the ride is pleasant and you can drive with decent consumption – my average was 8.9 l / 100 km, which is 310 horsepower and all-wheel drive is not a bad number at all.

The second way to drive the S3 is Dynamic mode. By default, it switches the transmission to sports mode and quite successfully, but not perfectly tries to downshift before cornering. The chassis stiffens, but is still not plank or hard, the sound of the exhaust is more audible and the car responds much faster to commands with the accelerator pedal.

Following the example of the other siblings, the gearbox selector is just a tiny switch.

Photo: Audi

This way you take a few turns at a slightly brisk pace, or really sharp as you like, then slow down to the village 50 km / h and in an effort not to disturb the natives switch the gearbox to D mode. The car calms down a bit, runs at a much lower speed and has space exhale and cool the warm engine, oil and brakes. A few tens of kilometers in this mode showed an average of 14.7 l / 100 km on the display.

Universal master of the lower middle class

A suitable combination of these two ways of driving, the S3 becomes a car that swallows tens of kilometers of district like nothing. The big credit for this goes to the chassis, which, whatever mode you choose, is incredibly confident, confidence-building, rigid, but at the same time comfortable, not rattling and uneven – yes, even in Germany you can find broken districts – very absorbing. And also seats that do not overdo it with the pursuit of sportiness, but combine it perfectly with comfort.

The seats hold in corners, but at the same time they are quite comfortable for long journeys.

Photo: Audi

Precisely for these two reasons, I would be able to imagine the S3 in my own garage if I were looking for a fast compact, even for the 1.2 million crowns that cost the least. I would rather choose a sedan, because I prefer sedans, but that doesn’t change the qualities of the hatchback.

Audi S3 Sportback
1984 ccm, in-line four-cylinder petrol engine, turbo, GPF
Max. performance:
228 kW (310 hp) at 5450-6500 rpm.
Max. torque:
400 Nm at 2000-5450 rpm.
seven-stage two-clutch
0-100 km / h:
4,8 s
Top speed:
250 km / h
Average consumption:
7.4 l / 100 km
Operating / maximum weight:
1575/2020 kg
4351 x 1816 x 1436 mm
Basic / maximum luggage volume:
325/1145 l
Driven axle:
permanent 4×4 drive, electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, torque vectoring simulation
Base price:
CZK 1,268,900

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