If you want an easy driving quality from the Audi entry-level sedan, but also want greater handling and acceleration, the 2018 Audi S3 is a solid choice. The S3 more powerful engine, larger brakes, sport-tuned suspension and performance-oriented tires combined to deliver high performance without degrading the car’s usability.
The 2018 Audi S3 is not as spacious as its more expensive sibling, the S4 sedan. But there is enough space for most of the passengers, and the cabin is still luxurious and upscale. You can even add Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster. Fuel economy remains respectable as well. And with standard all-wheel drive and dual-clutch automatic transmission, you have a luxury sport sedan that is very easy to use and certainly affordable.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Audi S3 is a high-performance version of the A3 compact luxury sedan. It’s available in two trim levels: Premium Plus and Prestige.
Standard equipment for the Premium Plus include summer performance tires, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, keyless ignition and entry, selectable driving settings (Audi Drive Select), dual-zone automatic climate control, driver-seat memory settings, power front sport seats, heated front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks and leather upholstery.
Standard tech features include rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth, Audi MMI electronics interface with a console-mounted controller and a power-retractable display, a USB port, and a 10-speaker sound system with a satellite radio and CD player.
Optional for the Premium Plus trim is the Technology package, which adds Audi Virtual Cockpit, an upgraded MMI system, Audi Connect online services with 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi, a navigation system, native voice controls and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
The 2018 Audi S3 Prestige include the Technology package item plus LED interior lighting, lane departure warning and intervention, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, adaptive cruise control, and two additional USB ports in the rear seat area.
Optional for both the Premium Plus and Prestige is the Black Optic Dynamic package, which adds 19-inch wheels with special exterior trim. The S Sport package adds adaptive suspension dampers and red brake calipers. The S Sport Seat package adds premium leather upholstery and manually adjustable front sport seats. Stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels with all-season tires and rear-seat side airbags.
The 2018 Audi S3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (S tronic) and all-wheel drive are standard.
In track testing, the 2018 Audi S3 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds using its integrated launch-control system. That’s quick time for any car in this price range. EPA fuel economy estimated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway), a good result given the S3 performances.
Despite being an entry-level luxury sedan, the 2018 Audi S3 features an attractive and refined cab design from a more expensive model. It boasted of high quality materials, neat buttons and switches, and clever details like elegant air vents. S3 cabin is a very comfortable and stylish place.
The 2018 Audi S3 front seats provide an excellent balance between comfort and support, serving well for driving spirit and long journey. Since this is a compact sedan, the front seat passenger will enjoy plenty of space, but the rear seat legroom is a bit tight for adults. The back headroom is plenty, and its better than in CLA45 AMG. The Audi S3 10-foot cubic luggage room is suitable for briefcase but will pinch big items. Interestingly, the rear seatbacks are folded in a 60/40 split to increase flexibility.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Audi S3 is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Mercedes-Benz CLA, Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R
Official pricing ranges will start from $44,625 (including $975 destination charge) for the Premium Plus and $48,950 for the Prestige.