by: Jasleen Dutt
In the highly competitive and continuously evolving automobile market, changing the mindsets and viewpoints of people can be a painfully gradual process. The Audi brand first revealed its Allroad a decade and a half ago, as most car enthusiasts may remember. This vehicle was genuinely believed to be in the ranks of the Mercedes Benzes and BMW’s of the automobile industry. Audi believed that it matched its competitors in the realms that mattered the most in the industry – quality, design and performance. The Allroad proved to be a vehicle well ahead of its era, marking the entry of the luxury soft-roader. Hence, it should come as no surprise that one of the most distinctive and performance-driven sport sedans of the year, namely the S3, happens to be birthed by the Audi brand.
Think of a sportier alternative to the standard A3 sedan, and you’ve got yourself the 2015 Audi S3. Its powerful and one-of-a-kind engine guarantees extra on-demand thrust, whilst maintaining the practicality and usefulness required by everyday drivers. Engine capabilities of the Audi S3 surpass most of its competitors in the sports sedan department. And as far as performance is concerned, the 2015 Audi S3 is an incredible step up over other comparable sports sedans. Along with its condensed and advanced performance capabilities, the S3 is rated 4.5 stars/5, with pricing commencing at $41, 995 for the Premium Plus Model – that’s an excellent value for money given all the perks and feats. Even though its only equipped with one engine, the manufacturer ensured it’s a robust one, a turbocharged four-cylinder expending a mind-blowing 292 horsepower. Additional features include a six-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters, termed “S-tronic” by the brand. The 2015 Audi S3 comes in sedan form, standard with Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive.
It was pretty hard to miss our test drive Technik trim S3 – a beautiful taught red sedan that engulfed the larger sedans surrounding it. “Look at me,” it said and we did. I love the colour red and this car looks fabulous in it. Audi makes great looking, albeit conservative, vehicles, and the S3 follows the brand’s design lines quite well. The signature front grille looks aggressive, even for such a small vehicle.
Inside the cabin is where Audi design really shines; the cabin is beautifully laid out with perfect balance for the driver. The instrument cluster and dash are like the outside – simple in design but oh so functional. The driving indicator is a little small for my taste, especially when I was using the paddle shifters. Fully equipped with luxurious leather sport seating, the S3 offers a firm and comfortable interior seating experience. If you’re going on a lengthy drive such as a road trip, the back seat is snug and may present a hindrance if adults are seated in the back. For a family like ours, where we have three young girls, this was not a problem.
After getting over the sheet beauty of the vehicle, we knew we had to drive it. Even when we attended the A3 launch event in Vancouver late last year, this was one vehicle that many journalists were waiting to get their hands on. One of the most immediately noticeable aspects is the lightweight nature of the S3, despite the fact that it weighs a hefty 3,449 pounds. You honestly cannot tell that the car is this heavy. Matched with a great engine and lightning quick steering, you can throw the S3 into almost any obstacle course and it will shine.
With its low profile tires, the ride isn’t as smooth as I would like as a daily commuter, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Under the Dynamic setting, the suspension makes the drive even a bit firmer, but the handling capabilities are even further enhanced. I took the S3 around an off-ramp and this rocket showed almost no body roll. Coupled with the fact that this is a Quattro, you could do donuts safely in rain or snow, or even on pavement if you wanted to.
The most enjoyable aspect of the vehicle wasn’t the driving (don’t get me wrong, I loved driving it), but more the ease of parking. In Vancouver, the parking spaces seem to be getting smaller and smaller. But with the S3, I had a luxury sports car that I could whip into a parking spot with full confidence. Like the Mini Cooper Countryman S, these are the kinds of practical vehicles that provide excellent driving experience matched with easy parking in downtown Vancouver.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week with the S3. While maintaining an elegant style, this vehicle provides all the thrills one would have expected. Overall, the Audi S3 is a progressive, performance-based and technologically advanced sports sedan, fully equipped with an advanced all-wheel drive system and a great engine. As I was telling my husband, this could very well be my next car!