2014 Audi S3 Sedan road test review | Simply stunning
HATCHES and SUVs have become the new black.
With Australians downsizing or heading into the high-riding wagons, the humble sedan has been cast aside.
Couple-like lines dominate many of the latest offerings, meaning the car design which once dominated our motoring landscape is becoming endangered.
But fashion trends so often turn full circle, and the Audi Sedan could well inspire a notchback revival.
Even in basic guise it's quite a looker, but add an "S" into the mix and it becomes supermodel worthy.
The S3 Sportback has been around since late last year, but the sedan only arrived in May. While they have the same powerplant, they don't share a panel.
Starting from $62,200, the sedan is slightly more expensive than its hatch stablemate, although our experience found the extra coin is well spent.
Modern minimalisation is the trademark of cabin design across the A3 range.
But when it comes to the S3, things get a little more exciting.
Apart from the flat-bottom steering wheel and extra brushed metal finishes, we're massive fans of the optional diamond-quilt pattern Nappa leather for the seat trim. It adds some "wow factor" to a commonsense cabin.
If you do opt for the groovier seats it does revert back to manual seat operation rather than electric, yet it's a price we'd be happy to pay.
Integrated front headrests mean those in back have a more confined feeling, although there is ample space for two adults, so it's hardly going to cause a bout of claustrophobia.
Leather trim, brushed metal finishes on the console and a great little flat-bottom steering wheel help fulfil the premium expectations.
On the road
Stiffer suspension and the louder exhaust dictate terms as soon as you get behind the wheel.
You get a sense of theatre just creeping out of the driveway with the rorty exhaust note close to perfection - not too loud, nothing overt, but letting out a lovely bellow when you punt along.
The S3 Sedan sits 25mm lower and has a 6mm shorter wheelbase than its hatch stablemate, and while both are fun to drive, this notchback would be our pick.
Engaging and exciting, daily dexterity isn't compromised within the sporting package.
It's quick too, able to sprint from standstill to 100kmh in five seconds. Anything under six seconds is pretty brisk, and the S3 turns the scenery into a blur with a quick stab of the right pedal.
Aided by the firm suspension set-up and
Audi's famed Quattro all-wheel drive, this little brute can cut a swathe through the toughest twisties.
When fitted with magnetic ride, the driver can choose between various drive modes, with the likes of dynamic offering an instantaneous response for speed with firmer damping, while the comfort and efficiency personalities iron out the bumps and lumps better with a slightly more subdued retort from right foot requests.
What do you get?
Basic kit includes xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights, sat nav, automatic parking with front and rear sensors along with a rear view camera, 18-inch alloys, body kit, "S" exhaust system and sports suspension, dual zone air con, leather trim, heated front seats with electric adjustment, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and keyless entry.
For another $4990, we'd highly recommend the performance package which gets LED headlights, Bang and Olufsen stereo, magnetic ride, Nappa leather with the diamond stitching, bigger 19-inch alloys and red brake callipers.
Also in the mix are the BMW 328i ($69,400), Lexus IS350 S Sport ($73,600), Volvo S60 T5 R-Design ($63,890) and the Mercedes-Benz CLA250 Sport ($64,900).
Compact in size, four adults can be accommodated as long as those up front have some appreciation for anyone in the rear.
The back seat has a 60-40 fold which can deal with that trip to Ikea and the boot too is reasonable, with enough space for a couple of suitcases.
Storage spaces are thoughtful, with twin cup holders up front able to deal with larger drink bottles.
Achieving fuel consumption in the seven litres/100km realm is possible, although some heavy use of the right foot does see it climb… the awesome exhaust soundtrack proved too alluring for us.
There is no capped price servicing, not that premium buyers often seek that option.
If there was ever a car to bring sedans back in vogue, the S3 can carry the fashion burden. Beautifully proportioned, the S3 is sporting class personified.
The quad pipes, body kit and big alloys, it turns heads for its understated athleticism rather than outlandish looks.
Prestige marques have perfected walking the line of executive sophistication.
The Audi S3 Sedan is one of the best in this genre. It has the good looks, the performance and the luxury.
Best of all you don't have to sacrifice daily commuting comfort for sporting prowess. You get the best of both worlds.
What matters most
What we liked: Sporty good looks (particularly in the red colour scheme), lovely exhaust tune, combination of drivability and comfort.
What we'd like to see: USB port for smartphones and audio devices (not Audi cable), electronic seat adjustment on sports seats.
Warranty and servicing: Three year/unlimited kilometres warranty with roadside assist. Servicing is every 15,000km or 12 months.
Model: Audi S3 Sedan.
Details: Five-door all-wheel drive performance sedan.
Engine: 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbocharged petrol generating maximum power of 206kW @ 5100-6500rpm and peak torque of 380Nm @ 1800-5100pm.
Transmission: Six-speed S-tronic dual clutch automatic.
Consumption: 6.9 litres/100km (combined average).
Performance: 0-100kmh in 5.0 seconds (a); 5.5 seconds (m).
Bottom line plus on-roads: $62,200.