REVIEW | 3 Reasons why Audi's hot S3 might be the ultimate daily for moms and dads

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3
  • 2021 Audi S3 sedan impresses with terrific pace and sublime ride and handling.
  • Able to sprint from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds and on to a 250km/h top speed.
  • Powered by the VW Group's venerable 2.0-litre TFSI four-cylinder but with revised tuning.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Audi South Africa sent its new S3 sedan to the Wheels24 Johannesburg test car garage earlier in November. While its near R1 million price tag (with the options fitted to our unit) will put it out of reach of most South Africans, it proved itself as a fantastic family vehicle with more than enough punch and poise to replace that ageing V8 performance saloon in your driveway.

Here are three reasons why the 2021 Audi S3 sedan might be the ultimate vehicle for moms and dads who refuse to make a move into crossover or SUV territory but want performance, and then some, for the daily grind:

Do you prefer the S3 sedan or the S3 Sportback? Or do you still wish Audi sold a three-door hatchback version of the S3 in SA? Let us know in the comments section, or please send us an email here.

2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3

1. One of the smartest-looking sedans you can buy

If you're looking for a vehicle that offers contemporary styling and head-turning looks, then the S3 is ideal for you. It looks sporty but not over the top, from its angled and sculpted LED headlights to its wide-open trapezoidal grille and sporty Lamborghini-inspired lower intakes to feed cold air to its intercooler.

The sedan measures 4355mm in length, and it offers a healthy 425 litres of luggage space. There's also more than enough space inside for a family of four if you're used to living with a sedan.  It has a nice stance around the side, and from the rear, it looks athletic in a traditional sedan sort of way. It reminds us of nicely tailored suits with their firm creases and tight shut lines. If you're a fan of sedans, you'll appreciate the proportions, the lines and the styling (inside and out) in the new S3. 

2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3

2. Packed with standard features and then some

Our test car came with some choice optional equipment that certainly raised the premium feel of the vehicle. We particularly enjoyed the Audi Virtual Cockpit that comes as part of the Technology Package. The virtual cockpit allows you to tailor the information you see in front of you, and you can even set it up to display your onboard navigation map if your vehicle is fitted with the navigation system. The car's new multimedia system is also a gem to operate as it works with minimal touch input lag and provides seamless connections with multiple smart devices.

During a recent bout of load-shedding, we connected an iPad to the vehicle to watch a movie that we streamed over Wi-Fi, but most importantly, we used the car's upgraded Bose audio system to listen to the film.

Added to the high-end infotainment, you also get a decent selection of standard features, including electrically operating windows all around and switchable driving modes for the drivetrain. Ask your salesmen to run you through the complete list of standard features before you tick options boxes, as the vehicle's base price can rise sharply if you tick too many boxes.

2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3

3. Tried and tested engine and transmission

Audi hasn't tried to create some fire-breathing four-cylinder here, as it's stuck to the tried-and-tested 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that came in the previous-generation S3. However, you can expect 213kW of power and 400Nm of torque, which should see you accelerate from a standstill to 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h.

The car comes with a quick-shifting seven-speed S tronic transmission, and while the new compact gear selector (that looks like a personal grooming device) took some getting used to, it was nice having space between the front seats that was not occupied by a device that you use so rarely in an automatic vehicle anyway. Bless the shifter stick, but it's about time Audi upgraded it for the modern age.

We achieved an average fuel consumption figure of 11 litres per 100km at the end of the test cycle, but that was because we had heavy accelerator feet this time. Audi says the S3 sedan will sip as little as 7.8 litres per 100km/h in a combined cycle, and we think drivers can achieve that thanks to the cars aerodynamic efficiency and its engine's flexibility.

2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3
2021 Audi S3

Overall summary

Sedans are fading away as more and more consumers jump into SUVs and crossovers; we all know that, but it's so refreshing to drive a new sedan that feels like a proper family car again. I thought the vehicle would be cramped and that it would ride too firmly being an S car, but it surprised us with its gentle mannerisms and its space and useability. 

At R810 000 for a base model S3 sedan, it's not cheap, but it's pretty competitively priced in terms of the space you're getting if you consider what a decently appointed hot hatch from some of Audi's competitors sells for these days. You'll have to be prepared to spend at least R150 000 more on top of the base price if you want the excellent Virtual Cockpit, and larger wheels and some of the interior trim items, but it's a nicely appointed package that gives you a decent platform to build a car that you can enjoy for at least the next five years while its under Freeway Plan.

The Audi S3 sedan won't be for everyone, but it's fast, it feels like it's honed from a solid block of granite, and it drives with the kind of racy feel you'd expect in an RS car from only a few years ago. If fast four-doors (with space for strollers and baby seats) are your thing, step this way, mom and pop.

KEEP UP TO DATE with the latest motoring news and new car reviews in South Africa by subscribing to our free weekly newsletter, 'LET'S DRIVE'.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
33% - 438 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
44% - 573 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 301 votes