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DRIVEN: 2017 Audi S3 Sedan

2017-03-31 14:44

Sean Parker

BLUNT OR PRECISE? Sean Parker assesses the updated Audi S3 Sedan. Image: Warren Wilson


Gallery: 2017 Audi S3

2017-03-29 10:45

Wheels24 photographer Warren Wilson captures these amazing snaps of the Audi S3 in Stellenbosch. Check out his gallery!

Cape Town - Modern life. So many things to see and do, but so little time. When Audi's latest sedan, the updated S3, arrived on test, I was glad to nip out of the office if only to beat the pesky Cape Town traffic.

Here are takeaways from a few days I had with the rapid compact sedan. 

What's new on the S3? 

In late 2016, Audi gave its A3 range a minor style updated comprising of: new head- and tail lights, a new bonnet, integrated front bumper with a redesigned singleframe grille and a new contoured rear diffuser. 

The S3's 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now produces 228kW/400Nm that's an increase of 18kW/20Nm. 

Four-wheel drive or 'Quattro', as the Ingolstadt-based firm calls it, is standard fare.  

Audi says the sedan will makes its way from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds and after driving it I can well imagine it is capable of achieving that figure. 

It uses a revised seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that offers rapid shifts, our test unit was equipped with paddle-shifts to give drivers that 'racecar' feel. 

Talking about 'feel', the S3 is fitted with electrically operated progressive steering system as standard. Audi says this special steering rack yields different gear ratios depending on the steering angle, reducing driver input on tight bends. 

Does its extra power make a difference?

The S3 feels rapid but you're swathed in leather and a cabin that's tight as a drum, and this means its speed can feel artificial. 

The gearbox does a truly understanding job, when switching between four driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Auto and Dynamic) it offers tangible differences in the manner gears are swapped. 

The biggest plus for the S3, for non-racing drivers, is the fact that it's so rewarding. You can drive it to eight-tenths and know that you'll go further. The grip levels are fantastic but you won't want to push it further and that's not a bad thing. 

It's a car that eats up the kilometres, but not one that will excite the pants off you. 

Dynamic mode tightens the steering rack, but don't for a second think you'll get the same feedback from something like a Honda Civic Type R. 

The S3 is a brute but underneath you know it has a science degree. It's not the type of car that performs MMA or gets involved in Long street brawls. 

Does it deserve to succeed? 

Absolutely, it offers fantastic package in a (smallish) business suit. Let's be real, everyday drivers don't need to be driving the sharpest tool in the shed. 

They want something that feels quick (tick), looks good (tick), sounds good (tick) and gives the driver a sense of adaptability (tick). 

Getting to eight-tenths in the S3 is suffice. Why would you want more? Don't be a hero. Calm down and realise this is more car than you could need for our roads and you'll enjoy, in fact you may love it. 

There's one problem, the 300kW RS3 sedan arrives before the end of the year. Decisions. 

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