The verdict: Redesigned for 2022, the Audi A3 and S3 sedans provide well balanced handling and myriad regular options, but hesitant transmissions and inconsistent high quality permit them down.
Versus the levels of competition: With individuals overwhelmingly preferring SUVs these times, any small luxury sedan starting up all around $35,000 superior be a person hell of a car or truck to justify its existence. The A3 and S3 have their times, but drawbacks we seasoned powering the wheel and elsewhere continue to keep both autos brief of the mark.
With entrance- or all-wheel drive, the A3 runs from the mid-$30,000s to about $50,000. The S3 packs significantly extra performance and standard AWD it’ll established you back yet another $11,000 or so at either finish of the trim lineup. About Cars and trucks.com’s Chicago headquarters, we drove an A3 with AWD and Audi’s optional sport suspension we also drove the A3 and S3 again-to-back again at a drive celebration in Oct in southeast Michigan. See our first choose after that generate, stack up the new A3 and S3 aspect by facet, or evaluate them with their prior-technology 2020 counterparts (equally automobiles skipped the 2021 product yr).
Associated: 2022 Audi A3, S3 Quick Spin: Transmission Travails
Audi has also redesigned the relevant RS 3, which provides even extra functionality, but it experienced not however debuted as of this writing.
Missing in Transmission
Whether or not it is the weak original grunt of the BMW 2 Collection Gran Coupe or the modest over-all ability of the Mercedes-Benz A220, the base powertrains in a lot of entry-luxurious sedans have been underwhelming. So it goes for Audi: From a prevent, the A3’s turbo four-cylinder (201 horsepower and 221 pounds-feet of torque) delivers swift accelerator reaction and robust, usable oomph early on. But when you access cruising speed, that oomph is difficult to obtain.
The culprit appears to be to be the A3’s transmission, a twin-clutch 7-speed automated, which upshifts early and typically. When you test to accelerate when presently in motion, though, it wants a cigarette split prior to obliging. By my stopwatch, the A3 persistently required a total two seconds to downshift into a lower equipment and surge ahead through a conventional 50 mph kickdown maneuver — in spite of loads of engine windup that recommended something was coming. That’s a 3rd more time than most autos I run via that take a look at call for and twice as very long as the most responsive illustrations.
Transmission kickdown at decreased speeds seemed equally delayed in the A3, although I didn’t time it. It wasn’t just me, possibly several Automobiles.com editors have criticized the A3’s transmission. The sedan’s Dynamic placing — which is the sportiest of quite a few selectable push modes — holds decrease gears lengthier than the default manner, which lessens the need to kick down as generally. But when the drivetrain sooner or later does settle into a greater equipment, requesting a decrease 1 can just take just as lengthy.
The S3 (306 hp and 295 kilos-ft of torque) betters kickdown lag to a extra ordinary delay. The motor vehicle is expectedly quick, particularly as rpm builds. Electric power turns into explosive earlier 5,000 rpm or so — ample to lend the auto a peaky, rev-satisfied character with some novel turbo lag. It is somewhat diverse from the A3’s very low-rpm all-around-city versatility. A little much more displacement could possibly even out some of the top-large technique: Like the A3, the S3’s turbo four-cylinder displaces 2. liters, however the A3’s motor has a greater compression ratio thanks to Audi’s novel B-cycle.
The S3 recommends top quality gas, when the A3 runs wonderful on normal — with improved EPA gasoline mileage.
Trip and Managing
The two Audis we examined were being outfitted with their a lot more aggressive suspension and wheel alternatives: 18-inch wheels and an optional sport-tuned suspension on the A3, and 19s and an S activity suspension with adaptive shock absorbers on the S3. Experience good quality in the A3 is business but livable, with some harsh impacts at freeway speeds but fantastic overall system regulate. The S3 rides firmer however, specifically at freeway speeds, where by frost heaves and other bumps can confirm disruptive even in the suspension’s consolation-oriented location at reduced speeds, it’s additional similar to the A3’s activity suspension — on the workable facet of company.
It is worth noting that little luxury sedans are not particularly a at ease-driving team, so Audi is not an outlier right here. The normal setup on both car (17-inch wheels on the A3, 18s with passive shocks on the S3) has the probable to soften points up, but we didn’t check an A3 or S3 as a result equipped.
In both autos, Audi’s AWD earns its continue to keep when it comes to dynamics, not just all-weather traction. It sends ample power rearward in the course of mid-corner acceleration to fend off understeer, producing for gratifying, neutral stability. Roadholding was good in both equally vehicles (the tires were Pirelli PZero all-seasons on the A3, Bridgestone Potenza superior-functionality summers on the S3), with minimal entire body roll for the duration of convert-in. Steering suggestions is superior across the board, with the S3’s faster ratio offering a welcome dose of excess sharpness.