Car review: Audi S3 Sedan offers everyday comfort and exhilarating performance in a discreet body


Soon, you will need a car that will suit your new domestically-oriented life as well. But does that mean you need to abandon the boisterousness and performance of your early hot-hatch days?

Audi seems to think not, if you have $282,696 (as of Oct 21, 2021) to shell out for this S3 Sedan that is.

Not all work on the outside

Finished in this press car's Daytona Gray, the Audi S3 Sedan is more than discreet enough to pass off as a regular

You not only won't be attracting any unwanted attention in this S3, but your in-laws will also most certainly be pleased with the fact that their beloved is being ferried around in a classy sedan, and one sporting a luxury brand logo up front to boot.

But there's still plenty here to impress those in the know at the office carpark.

There are those quad exhaust pipes and aluminim-look accents on the wing mirrors and bumpers at either end, for example. And those very tasty five-spoke 19-inch rims also help with proceedings here.

A black appearance package is available (which finishes the grille and bumper accents in gloss black) for those that want more discreetness still, while the no-cost python yellow or turbo blue exterior paint colours available will allow you to swing your sedan more to the louder side if you so wish.

Not just play on the inside either

Step into the cabin of the Audi S3 and you'll find the discreet theme continues, with just the red contrast stitching on the sport seats and steering wheel just hinting at the car's performance.

These sit quietly at the back of your mind, with the car's swarths of classy high-gloss black and matte aluminium surfaces instead capturing most of your attention.

I like the array of polygons used in the design of everything from the air-conditioning vents, infotainment screen, and central divider, which are all designed so they just gently tilt towards the driver, cocooning you for every drive.

Never a dull car

And what a drive it is indeed, readily mirroring the dual-personalities of the car's design.

Set the Audi S3 into its 'Comfort' setting and it mimics any run-of-the-mill compact executive sedan very well. Quiet levels in the cabin are excellent, save for noticeable tyre roar when driving over worn roads.

Ride quality is also high and far into the side of comfortable, with the car always gently cresting over peaks and dips in the road. Sharper edges will still send jolts through the cabin in a rather rude fashion, however. You'll want to keep your eyes peeled and steer clear of manhole covers in this S3.

Shift the drive selector into 'Dynamic' and it is as if another car has been brought to life altogether. Response to throttle inputs become sharper, and frantically so at the upper half of the engine's rev range.

And that engine's induction note, a quiet hiss on throttle and whine on lift off, now turns into a full grumble with the usual accompaniment of pops as you row through the gears.

There's also good weight at the steering wheel in this setting, although keener drivers might find it a little mute.

Grip levels here are just tremendous. You can get on the power early through a turn and the car will take it all in its stride with minimal drama.

Jack of all trades

At $282,696, this Audi S3 Sedan has a tall asking price. It goes right up against the Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG Saloon, at $288,888, and if you're fine with a hatchback, there's of course the BMW M135i, that can be yours for $277,888.

Additionally, if you don't need a luxury badge up front, there's also the Cupra Leon Sportstourer to consider, which also has this Audi's tremendous 306bhp engine, all-wheel drive, and arguably a more distinctive and practical estate body, but with a $244,999 asking price (all prices as of Nov 2, 2021).

If the extra class associated with a sedan body and a premium badge on top of premium performance is what you're after, the Audi S3 will suit you well. But for the performance I just find the shade of Graphene Grey on the Cupra much easier for my wallet to swallow.

READ ALSO: Car review: Morgan Plus Four 2.0 is a practical roadster with that classic 1920's design

This article was first published in sgCarMart.