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S3 perfect blend of style and substance

17.03.2014

THE ONSLAUGHT of the new breed of hot hatches has begun, with each manufacturer launching its wicked concoction of playful power.

Taking its place among its rivals like the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG,BMW M135i and the new Golf R, the Audi S3 is by far the most underdressed. But that isn’t a bad thing, as this gentleman looks dapper sporting the unofficial ‘minimalist’ look.

But Audi didn’t forget to drape the car in the usual S attire. The S-specific single-frame grille flanked by a newly designed bumper - which features aluminium-look double ribs integrated into the lateral air inlets - all look the part.

The design doesn’t distract you from its sportiness, but rather adds to it as the car is adorned with S badging and possesses enough natural magnetism to knock the earth off its trajectory.

Utilising an entirely new powertrain over the outgoing model, the four-cylinder 2.0-litre unit is a bona-fide banger as it delivers 206kW of power and 380Nm of torque.

It seems like a completely composed professional, but packing that much power into such a small body, there’s bound to be fireworks and the S3 doesn’t disappoint. As if it is Audi’s wild child, it struts and pouts more than Mick Jagger, offering raucous naughtiness.

Firing the little German up, it sounds beefier than ever and pressing the responsive accelerator pedal feels as though you are only prodding the beast. The S3 delivers on the impressive performance stats, going from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds in the seven-speed S tronic guise.

The changes are seamless at a touch of a paddle - much like a synchronised clap - and a perfectly timed scream emanate from the double twin-chromed exhaust pipes as the needle in the speedometer relentlessly climbs towards the governed top speed of 250km/h.

Audi has claimed a fuel consumption figure of 6.9 litres/100km, with a CO2 emissions rating of 159g/km. Of course, we do know you’ll be hard-pressed to get anywhere near these figures, but the 1.5 litre/100km improvement over the outgoing model does highlight a step in the right direction.

Fuel should never be your concern, however, when enjoying such a beautifully constructed piece of machinery. The S3 finds the perfect balance between anarchy and calm thanks to its dynamic driving characteristics.

Floating along the road like a champion figure skater, it corners effortlessly at high speed thanks to its progressive steering system. Somehow it feels completely, theatrically rehearsed the way it grips and corners and yet flamboyantly anarchic at the same time.But what probably makes the S3 is the fact that it can do the nonchalant daily traffic runs or let its hair down and do the snarly punk rock mood-swing thing.

Ultimately, it’s a driver’s car that is defining its own history and with an unyielding and relentless line-up of new S models on the horizon, Audi is just getting started on the sporty front.

Article written by Stuart Moir
17.03.2014
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