Put to one side for a moment all the elements that put the S3 in the premium car sector and it’s soon apparent that it also performs the primary task of a hot hatch: providing an engaging and fun drive.
The turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-litre engine generates an impressive 261bhp and 258lb-ft of torque, with the turbo lag of old greatly reduced, thanks to changes made by Audi’s engineers. All this power means that the 0-62mph sprint takes place in just 5.8 seconds, putting it in the same territory as cars such as the BMW Z4, Nissan 350Z and Lotus Elise. Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
The six-speed manual gearbox – which is crisp and provides accurate changes – is the only option available at the moment, but Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic will become available a later date.
Thanks to the Audi’s Quattro system, the power is distributed to all four wheels as and when required by road conditions, so the car always has plenty of traction and high levels of mechanical grip.