2015 Audi S3

Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 auto trans

2015 audi s3 Reviews and News

2015 Audi S3 Front Three Quarter View 1
Austin, Texas - The base Audi A3 isn’t exactly gorgeous. The four-ring brand’s all-new compact sedan sits tall, with large gaps in the wheel wells that remind you of that kid in elementary school whose pants were always prepared for an impending flood. The A3 also lacks the lovely proportions of the German automaker’s larger offerings. Given this, we expected the hotter, faster Audi S3 to be a similar story but with some added go-fast parts.
The moment we saw the 2015 Audi S3 in person, however, it quickly became clear that we were dead wrong. It reminds you of a petite Audi S4. Details such as the optional 19-inch wheels, an inch lower ride height, purposeful, four-outlet exhaust, and aggressive rocker panels transform the entry-level Audi into a welcome addition to Audi’s S model lineup.

100 percent true Audi

Inside, the 2015 Audi S3 continues to impress. The standard A3 has a refreshingly simple, almost Scandinavian design aesthetic throughout. Its unique MMI infotainment system features tactile and minimalist controls, outshining the more complicated MMI systems in Audi’s older and more expensive models. The S3 builds on the A3 by adding brushed aluminum trim, sport seats, and a D-shape steering wheel (both with contrast stitching), aluminum pedals, and a new instrument cluster with a turbo boost gauge. More aggressive sport seats -- labeled Super Sports Seats in the European order guide -- are in the pipeline. It’s clear the S3 is a 100 percent true Audi inside and out. You’ll struggle to find any cost-cutting measures.
Once you’re comfortably seated in that gorgeous cockpit it’s go-fast time. Engage S3’s the standard launch control and mash the throttle, and you’ll rocket from 0-60 mph in only 4.7 seconds (according to Audi). Top speed is limited to 155 mph -- 130 mph with the no-cost option all-season tires wrapped around the car’s base 18-inch wheels.
Before you ask, the turbocharged inline-four isn’t just a chipped version of the A3’s 2.0-liter engine option. The S3’s powerplant features a plethora of upgrades, including a reinforced engine block, a unique cylinder head, and an upgraded turbocharger. Horsepower leaps from 220 to 292. Torque is up 22 lb-ft, to 280. Audi’s S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox is standard, as is Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi USA hasn’t ruled out the idea of offering a row-it-yourself S3 in the future if demand warrants. The only region where you can purchase an Audi S4 with a manual gearbox is North America, so if you’re loud enough, Audi may listen.
2015 Audi S3 Front Seats

More than capable, on track and off

Despite the lack of a three-pedal setup, there are other features on the 2015 Audi S3 that will surely keep any car geek happy. Our test car was fitted with the Performance Package, which adds the larger, 19-inch wheels and magnetic ride suspension. Grip is very impressive. Our blasts through the undulating and twisting road surfaces outside of Austin failed to upset the S3’s chassis, no matter how hard we tried. It’s not a terribly involving car to drive quickly -- not helped by its rather dead electric steering -- but you can’t fault the S3’s pace or its ability to laugh off changing weather conditions. While never harsh to begin with, selecting the suspension’s Comfort mode via the S3’s Drive Select toggle switch softens the ride further, but you lose a bit of the Auto mode’s rock-solid body control. Dynamic mode tightens things up further, but at the expense of high frequency bumps filtering through the chassis and into the cabin. That setting’s probably best left for the track.
Speaking of the track, we were given the opportunity to briefly run the 2015 Audi S3 around the Circuit of the Americas (CoTA) before the start of the Tudor Championship and FIA WEC races. The S3 isn’t a proper track car -- and it isn’t intended to be -- but the compact sedan felt capable around CoTA, continuing to show the impressive grip we felt on the street. Like other Haldex all-wheel-drive systems, the S3’s handling characteristics are closer to a front-wheel-drive car with excellent traction versus a rally car for the street. But as long as you respect the throttle and don’t overdrive it, we found the the S3 to be decently balanced when pushed hard around the fabulous Texas circuit.
Audi S3 On Track Drive 12
As for its competitive set, the S3 is more or less in a class of its own for now. The Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG is some $10,000 more when similarly equipped. BMW’s M235i xDrive is only offered as a coupe and is also more expensive than the Audi. But the S3 will have another German pocket rocket to worry about soon, namely the Golf R from sister company VW. An all-wheel-drive GTI on steroids that hits U.S. streets next year, the Golf R uses the same basic MQB chassis and powertrain as the S3 but adds an available manual gearbox, four-door hatchback practicality, and a price that will undercut the $41,995 Audi. It may be worth waiting to drive both cars before pulling the trigger on the S3. Or not.
Before the trip to Austin, we anticipated the 2015 Audi S3 being a sporty A3 versus a proper baby S4. That’s most definitely not the case. As long as you can live with the small back seat and trunk opening, the lack of a manual gearbox, and it being not as communicative of a driver’s car as we’d like, the S3 is a very impressive, very fast small sports sedan. It would be an excellent car to live with day to day, in any climate.

2015 Audi S3

On Sale: Now
Base Price: $41,995
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/292 hp @ 5400 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1900-5300 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, all-wheel-drive sedan
EPA Mileage: 23/31/26 mpg (city/highway/combined)
L x W x H: 175.9 x 77.2 x 54.8 in
Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Weight: 3450 lb
2015 Audi S3 Front View 06
The 2015 Audi S3 creates little stir on a sunny, cool morning in Monte Carlo. Parked outside a posh hotel not far from the famous casino you know from James Bond films and mere steps from the iconic streets that make up the circuit of the Monaco Grand Prix, the S3 only hints at what it can do. It’s a handsome car, for sure, but it easily blends into the glamorous surroundings of a Royal principality where Ferraris and Bentleys are more common than Fords and Chevys. But the S3 isn’t meant to stand out in Monte Carlo, it’s meant to turn the heads of American consumers seeking a classy sedan with sporting character and luxurious features.
Like the rest of the A3 lineup, the 2015 Audi S3 was designed with the U.S. market in mind. That means the S3 is a legitimate four-place sedan with a real back seat and a respectable trunk. You can sit in this car and not feel like you wish you had skipped a few meals. Though it wears Audi’s familiar understated, elegant styling and is based on the Volkswagen Group’s corporate MQB architecture, the S3 feels more than a bit like a red-blooded Yank. A four-door coupe, a hatchback, and other body styles were considered, but none of them passed muster because Audi wants the S3 to earn its stripes in America, and Americans prefer sedans.
“This car has largely been made with a focus on the U.S.,” says Filip Brabec, Audi project management director. That’s notable because America-first products are not the norm for German carmakers.
Specifically, the focus is on the U.S. small sedan market, an area that Audi and other premium-brand automakers are rediscovering. Slightly longer and lower than the new A3 sedan, the 2015 Audi S3 measures 175.9 inches in length, 70.7 inches in width, and 54.8 inches in height. Those dimensions are very close to the original A4 from 1994, a car whose spirit the new A3 family hopes to recapture, now that the current A4 has grown larger, heavier, and more upscale.
The S3 is the headliner in the new A3 lineup, though it won’t arrive until July 2014 at the earliest. Audi will launch its standard A3 models, with 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinders, beginning in the first quarter of 2014. The wide-ranging lineup will also include a diesel model and a cabriolet.
The S3, though, promises to be the most fun thanks to its more potent 2.0-liter turbo. Audi estimates that the S3 will push out 290 hp and 280 pound-feet of torque (European-spec cars are rated at 296 hp). Final numbers for the United States will be announced closer to launch. The TFSI engine works with Quattro all-wheel drive and a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters. Audi predicts 0-to-60 sprint of 5.0 seconds, which felt very doable during our drive.
The output figures of the 2015 Audi S3 are modest compared to the brash Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, which nets 355 hp and 332 lb-ft from its turbocharged four-cylinder, and boasts a 4.5-second 0-to-60 time. Although the CLA is the A3’s natural rival, the AMG variant is not directly comparable to the S3. Audi puts its most sporting—and powerful—models in RS trim to face off against Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M divisions, meaning we’d have to wait for a theoretical RS3 for a true comparison. And while S3 pricing hasn’t been announced, it’s estimated to come in around $40,000, which well undercuts the CLA45 AMG at $48,375.
As it is, the S3 provides a nice boost over the highest-powered A3 (expected to make around 210 hp). It also includes special design touches such as sportier bumpers with honeycomb inserts, restyled side sills, five-spoke wheels, and a chrome-framed grille with double horizontal bars and a matte gray finish. Inside, we find pleasing materials, an intuitive layout, and seats that are comfortable yet sporty. Our tester’s black interior looked sharp with brushed aluminum trim and red stitching and accents. The tachometer also shows boost pressure, and a driver information system can record your lap times. Other electronics include a seven-inch, high-resolution screen that extends from the dashboard, and an MMI rotary wheel that also functions as a touch pad.
The S3 is plenty of fun to drive, with an eager chassis and a strong engine. It feels like a real sport sedan. Its taut dimensions and good visibility prove welcome during our test drive on the twisting roads of southern France. Though our route begins in the heart of Monte Carlo, we quickly navigate the mid-morning traffic, dash through the famous tunnel where Formula 1 cars run, and arrive at the mountainous region on the border between France and Italy. The most challenging pass we encounter is the Col de Braus, which cuts into the Alps with a spectacular array of hairpins and switchbacks. The 2015 Audi S3 is more than up to it. The car has excellent reflexes, and the suspension maintains its composure through the tightest of turns. The electromechanical steering is direct and communicative, and the system varies the ratio as you move the flat-bottom steering wheel off-center. The result is a purposeful, athletic sedan for enthusiasts.
When the terrain is less taxing, we take note of the engine. The sound is just OK. We goose the throttle in tunnels hoping to get an earful, but the reply is only a grunting, buzzy note. The six-speed manual we drove isn’t scheduled to come to the United States, which is a shame because it makes the S3 more engaging. The throws are long and direct, and the shift gates make a pleasing sound as you click into gear. Still, if you put purist notions aside, the S tronic is a solid gearbox. Punch up dynamic mode, and the car feels noticeably quicker. S tronic holds the gears longer, and the engine sounds better, thanks to the flaps in the quad exhaust system that open at a higher load.
The 2015 Audi S3 really is an impressive car. It’s agile and quick, but subtle. It may not turn heads like it flashy competitors from Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac, but it rewards the driver with an engaging experience and plenty of everyday functionality. That’s a combination that should play well in America -- even more so than on the French Riviera.

2015 Audi S3

On Sale: Summer 2014
Base Price: $40,000 (est.)
Powertrain
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4
Horsepower: 290 (est.)
Torque: 280 (est.)
Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch
Drive: 4-wheel
Measurements
L x W x H: 175.9 in x 70.7 in x 103.6 in
Curb Weight: 3400 lbs (est.)
2015 Audi S3
2015 Audi S3

New for 2015

The Audi S3 is all-new for the 2015 model year.

Vehicle Overview

The Audi S3 is a higher-performance variant of the newest small Audi, with a powerful turbocharged engine paired with all-wheel drive and an interior that shows little evidence of cost cutting. The Audi S3 should appeal to buyers who became interested in the late-90s A4/S4, before that model got bigger and more refined.

Summary

The 2015 Audi S3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that produces 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel efficiency is 23/31 mpg city/highway. Despite being based on the “entry-level” Audi, the S3 is the genuine article, with LED headlights, heated leather seats, LED taillights and turn signals, the MMI infotainment system (supports touch and handwriting character entry), Bluetooth with streaming audio, heated power-folding exterior mirrors, and hands-free keyless entry with push button start.
The 2015 Audi S3 received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and is considered a 2015 Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS (in A3 form).

What We Think

The 2015 Audi S3 surprised us with its looks and demeanor, which are a significant improvement over the base A3. In that same Driven review of a 2015 Audi S3 we said, “It reminds you of a petite Audi S4. Details such as the optional 19-inch wheels, an inch lower ride height, purposeful, four-outlet exhaust, and aggressive rocker panels transform the entry-level Audi into a welcome addition to Audi’s S model lineup.”
We also noted, “The standard A3 has a refreshingly simple, almost Scandinavian design aesthetic throughout … The S3 builds on the A3 by adding brushed aluminum trim, sport seats, and a D-shape steering wheel (both with contrast stitching), aluminum pedals, and a new instrument cluster with a turbo boost gauge … It’s clear the S3 is a 100 percent true Audi inside and out. You’ll struggle to find any cost-cutting measures.”
In another Driven review of a 2015 Audi S3 we commented on the exhaust note saying, “The sound is just OK. We goose the throttle in tunnels hoping to get an earful, but the reply is only a grunting, buzzy note.” We speculated that it was perhaps the non-U.S.-spec six-speed manual we sampled was partly to blame. Regarding the six-speed automatic we commented that “S tronic holds the gears longer, and the engine sounds better, thanks to the flaps in the quad exhaust system that open at a higher load.” We wished the steering was more communicative, as the electric assist is rather “dead,” but couldn’t fault “the S3’s pace or its ability to laugh off changing weather conditions.”

You’ll Like

  • Baby S4 styling
  • Confidence-inspiring suspension remains planted in all weather
  • High-quality interior despite being based on the entry-level model

You Won’t Like

  • Volkswagen Golf offers same powertrain with a manual for about $5,000 less
  • Uncommunicative power steering Exhaust note not particularly soul-stirring

Key Competitors

  • Acura ILX
  • BMW 1 Series
  • Buick Verano
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG
  • Volkswagen Golf R

Rating

4
2015 Audi S3 Exclusive Edition Group Front
If the standard 2015 Audi S3 compact sport sedan’s color palette is too staid for your tastes, then this new Audi S3 Exclusive Edition is for you. Created by the Audi Exclusive customization division, the Exclusive Edition offers five bright color options: Glut Orange, Viper Green, Vegas Yellow, Misano Red, and Sepang Blue.
2015 Audi S3 LTD Ed Rear Three Quarter View
Early adopters of the 2015 Audi S3 may be able to get their hands on a Limited Edition version of the car, but only if they're quick. Audi will sell just 350 examples of the S3 Limited Edition, which adds several visual upgrades compared to the standard performance sedan.
2015 Audi S3 Front Profile
Audi has released full pricing for the 2015 Audi S3 sedan. The high-performance compact sedan starts at $41,995 for the Premium Plus model and $47,895 for the Prestige model (both prices include $895 destination fee). Click all the option boxes and a fully-loaded S3 sedan can top out at around $52,000.
2015 Audi A3 Cabriolet Front Three Quarter
Three new variants of the 2015 Audi A3 will join the existing A3 sedan by the end of this summer, and Audi has now released pricing for the performance-oriented S3 sedan, the droptop A3 Cabriolet, and the efficient A3 TDI sedan.

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New 2015 Audi S3 Pricing

Fair Market Price what is this?
$38,496
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
$41,100
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2015 Audi S3
2015 Audi S3
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
23 MPG City | 31 MPG Hwy
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Base FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
40 MPG City | 39 MPG Hwy
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2015 Audi S3
2015 Audi S3
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
$41,100
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
rank
22
2015 Audi S3
2015 Audi S3
Base AWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
292hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2015 Audi S3 Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
23 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
31 MPG
Horsepower:
292 hp @ 5400rpm
Torque:
280 ft lb of torque @ 1900rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player (optional)
  • CD Changer
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
50,000 miles / 48 months
Corrosion
Unlimited miles / 144 months
Roadside
Unlimited miles / 48 months
Maintenance
5,000 miles / 12 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R
IIHS Front Small Overlap
N/R

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2015 Audi S3

Depreciation
40.5%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$19,964
40.5%
Insurance
$8,755
17.8%
Fuel Cost
$9,971
20.2%
Financing
$4,094
8.3%
Maintenance
$4,034
8.2%
Repair Costs
$1,989
4%
State Fees
$495
1%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $49,302 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent