Review: Audi S3 (2013)

Rating:

Powered by smooth 2.0 TFSI engine with 300PS. Quattro four-wheel drive means superb traction. Lighter weight helps economy with an official 40mpg.

Subtle rather than overtly sporty looks.

Recently Added To This Review

4 April 2018

Complaint of transmission lag from 2018 Audi S3 2.0TFSI 310 quatto s-tronic saloon. Will either be the DQ381 or DQ500 7-speed wet clutch DSG/s-tronic. Read more

15 September 2017

Report of clutch of 2016 Audi S3 failing at 14,000 miles. Dealer reported: "clutch slip on friction plate, excessive heat on pressure plate and flywheel face. No mechanical defects. Requires new clutch... Read more

14 November 2016 S3 Black Edition launched

S3 three-door and Sportback Black Edition models combine the new colour-coding with 18-inch five-arm Turbine design wheels, while S3 Saloon Black Edition models upgrade to a 19-inch five-arm Wing design... Read more

Audi S3 (2013): At A Glance

The Audi A3 and A3 Sportback models are among the very best family hatchbacks on the market so it makes sense that a performance variant is available in the form of the S3. It too is offered as both a three-door and a five-door Sportback, and it’s as refined and well put together as the everyday A3 models.

It doesn't look like high-performance hot hatch at a glance however. The only real giveaway is the quad rear exhausts, as even the red 'S' badging is available on lesser S Line models - but that sets it apart from cars like the aggressively styled Vauxhall Astra VXR and leaves room for a more overtly styled RS3 model in coming years. 

The big difference, of course, is in the performance the S3 delivers. Power comes from a 2.0 TFSI petrol engine familiar from the likes of the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI, but with power cranked up to 300PS and torque to 380Nm across a broad rev range. The result is excellent performance – 0-62mph takes 4.8 seconds with a the S Tronic gearbox specified.

It takes a smidge longer to get to 62mph with the standard manual gearbox – 5.2 seconds – but all models, whether three-door or five-door, manual or automatic, are limited to a 155mph top speed. Despite impressive performance the fuel economy is good – S Tronic models manage 40.9mpg on the combined cycle with emissions of 159g/km.

As with all performance Audi models the S3 features quattro all-wheel drive and it works to maintain traction and keep the car planted and stable on twisting roads, whether at high speeds or when accelerating out of slower turns or roundabouts. It offers enjoyable performance and handling but it feels safe and controllable, which is a great blend for a family-sized hot hatchback.

It’s a little firmer than the A3 but that’s an expected compromise when buying a performance car and it’s not at all uncomfortable. It’s as practical as the A3 on which it is based, and so offers a useable everyday package that’s easy to drive on the motorway and around town but that’s enjoyable when you get to your favourite road. 

Audi S3 hatchback Road Rest

Audi S3 saloon and S3 Cabrio Road Test

What does a Audi S3 (2013) cost?

List Price from £34,155
Buy new from £29,521
Contract hire from £378.92 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Audi S3 (2013): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4237–4469 mm
Width 1960–1966 mm
Height 1388–1437 mm
Wheelbase 2595–2637 mm

Full specifications

The cabin in the S3 is very much like that of the A3 or A3 Sportback on which it is based, but with sports seats and higher quality trim materials – velvet leather and fine nappa leather are standard fit while an Alcantara and leather combo is offered as a no cost option. Those who want something a little more luxurious can equip diamond quilted S Sports seats.

Space in the back is decent too though accessing the rear seats is obviously more tricky in the three-door as opposed to the Sportback, which offers 35mm more legroom than the three-door. The boot, regardless of whether you choose the Sportback or three-door, is a good size and shape. The capacity in litres is 325 for the S3 and 340 litres for the S3 Sportback and can be expanded to 1060 or 1185 litres respectively.

Standard equipment includes MMI radio with a folding infotainment screen, iPod connectivity and Bluetooth while the options list is, in typical Audi fashion, very broad. Extras include all-LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and keyless entry/start. 

Child seats that fit a Audi S3 (2013)

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What's the Audi S3 (2013) like to drive?

With 300PS on tap and a healthy torque spread the S3 is a very swift car indeed. 0-62mph takes as little as 4.8 seconds in the case of the three-door S Tronic, but even the heavier five-door with a manual transmission will perform the same sprint in an impressive 5.3 seconds. All models have an electronically limited 155mph top speed.

Handling is excellent. The steering can be adjusted to suit personal tastes but regardless of the setting it’s crisp and gives a decent amount of feedback. The suspension, while firm enough to keep the car level and stable through bends, offers good ride comfort and the quattro all-wheel drive system provides great traction whether cornering at high speeds or accelerating out of tight corners.

Peak power is a hefty 300PS and peak torque is 380Nm, which is available from 1800rpm right the way through to 5000rpm. That means the engine is very responsive almost regardless of the selected gear – great for lazily passing cars on the motorway. It also makes the S3 quite forgiving if you pick the wrong gear when threading together the corners on a twisting road.

The six-speed manual gearbox is fairly smooth and precise and there is also a six-speed S Tronic gearbox. Again, it’s smooth and swift to change up or down through the gears whether the car is being driven hard or it’s simply on a trundle to the local shops in a busy town.

Despite prodigious power the S3 has impressive economy. The most frugal versions of the S3 are those with the S Tronic gearbox which manage 40.9mpg on the combined cycle regardless of the number of doors – emissions are 159g/km. The manual versions are close behind with 40.4mpg and 162g/km.  

The 2.0-litre TFSI engine is a four-cylinder in the latest S3 so while performance is very good there’s a little less in the way of dramatic sound – the previous S3 had a five-cylinder engine with a more pronounced burble. That said, the current car does sound good, with muted pops and burbles when changing gear and a throaty roar at higher engine speeds. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TFSI 300 Hatch 40 mpg - 162 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 S tronic Convertible 39 mpg - 165 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 S tronic Hatch 41 mpg - 159 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 S tronic Saloon 40 mpg 4.9 s 160 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 S tronic Sportback 41 mpg 4.9 s 159 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 Saloon 40 mpg 5.3 s 164 g/km
2.0 TFSI 300 Sportback 40 mpg 5.3 s 162 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 Hatch 40 mpg 5.2 s 162 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 S tronic Convertible 42 mpg 5.1 s 156 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 S tronic Hatch 44 mpg 4.5 s 146 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 S tronic Saloon 44 mpg 4.6 s 151 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 S tronic Sportback 44 mpg 4.6 s 149 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 Saloon 40 mpg 5.3 s 163 g/km
2.0 TFSI 310 Sportback 40 mpg 5.3 s 162 g/km
50 TFSI 300 S tronic Sportback - - 158 g/km
50 TFSI S tronic Convertible - - 165 g/km
50 TFSI S tronic Saloon - - 158 g/km
S3 2.0 TFSI 300 Hatch 40 mpg 5.2 s 162 g/km
S3 2.0 TFSI 300 S tronic 41 mpg 4.8 s 159 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi S3 (2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

75%

Real MPG

21–39 mpg

MPGs submitted

158

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Audi S3 (2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Am I okay to install an immobiliser in a car I have on finance, or is that considered a modification?

I'm awaiting delivery of a new Audi S3 and, following a number of car thefts in my street, I'm looking at buying the Autowatch Ghost immobiliser. Given that this has to be wired into the car, does it matter that the car has been bought on a PCP finance deal? Am I okay to make modifications like this?
I think (but can't be sure) that installing the OBD Portector system is completely reversible, so shouldn't invalidate any warranty or cause to much trouble: https://www.obdportector.com/installation/ I'd always check with the finance company before doing anything serious though. If they give you the go ahead, it might be worth asking about the Ghost as well because it protects against key cloning too.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
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