Audi S3 Sportback

TFSI S tronic

Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, side
Audi S3 Sportback, rear
Audi S3 Sportback, rear
Audi S3 Sportback, rear
Audi S3 Sportback, interior
Audi S3 Sportback, interior
Audi S3 Sportback, wheel
Audi S3 Sportback, front
Audi S3 Sportback, front

THINK three-door Audi S3 hatchback and then add some practicality to the mix with some additional length plus two extra doors and the result is the stunning S3 Sportback.

Factor in the power of a 2.0-litre, 310ps four-cylinder turbo petrol engine delivering a whopping 400Nm of torque, it all becomes a little bit spicy with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 4.6 seconds and a top speed that is limited to 155mph.

The S3 Sportback not only drives well, it looks fabulous with its sleek streamlining, tinted windows, neat LED light clusters with sweeping rear indicators, a distinctive grille housing the Audi rings, plus five-spoke 18-inch alloys. Red brake calipers with an ‘S' printed on them completed the dynamic styling on our car.

The premium, sporty theme is just as apparent inside with the finest soft Nappa leather upholstery. The body-hugging sports seats have an ‘S' embossed into the leather and there are sports pedals, along with a flat-bottomed multi-function sports steering wheel.

Techno treats are plentiful with the likes of a navigation system, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, a pitch perfect Bang & Olufsen sound system, dual-zone climate control, a wireless mobile phone charger, heated seats and a smart colour infotainment screen that rises from the dashboard when the car is fired up.

The interior is clutter-free in its design with many functions controlled via the MMI rotary dial with extra buttons for instant access to the radio, navigation, media and telephone systems.

The air conditioning functions are all easily controlled via practical buttons and there is a volume dial too. I mention this because too many cars these days are overcomplicated and you have to navigate touchscreen menus to complete a simple task such as increasing the temperature slightly.

Not so the S3 Sportback though, which is just as well because the driving dynamics demand all your attention. The acceleration through the quick-firing seven-speed S tronic automatic dual clutch transmission is blisteringly quick and there are paddle shifts to take manual control.

You can also choose from different driving modes called Efficiency, Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual that alter the way the car responds.

The road holding is ultra-grippy meaning bends can be attacked with confidence and the S3 Sportback is equipped with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system for added reassurance.

Another feature worth mentioning is the performance sports suspension and the option of Audi Magnetic Ride (£1,395). This adaptive dampers system continually adapts the function of the shock absorbers to the driver's style and the road conditions and it works very effectively.

It is still quite bumpy in Dynamic mode where you can expect to feel the full force of any minor pothole or uneven road surface, but in the other settings it seems to smooth out the creases very well.

At times it's easy to forget the S3 Sportback is actually a practical family car with plenty of room in the back for passengers and a generous boot with a 340-litre capacity that can be increased to 1,180 litres by dropping the 60:40 split-folding rear seats flat.

Admittedly the rear leg room depends on how far the front seats are pushed back - you wouldn't want to be sitting behind a six-foot-plus driver for too long. There's ample room for youngsters though.

Obviously, such a great looking car with all the trimmings doesn't come cheap. The S3 Sportback was priced at £35,775, but with the addition of a number of optional extras, the final cost had climbed to £42,430.

When it comes to running costs, the official combined fuel economy under the stricter WLTP guidelines is 33.6-34.9mpg with carbon emissions of 158g/km.

FAST FACTS

Audi S3 Sportback TFSI S tronic

Price: £37,775

Mechanical: 300ps, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph: 4.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 33.6-34.9

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 158g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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