2022 Audi S3 Sedan

2022 Audi S3 Sedan
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Rear Angle View
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Dashboard 1

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Test Drive Review: Tiny Package, Big Fun

The Audi S3 invented the entry-level luxury performance segment here in the United States. Before the S3 nameplate arrived stateside, Americans only received a taste of Europe's compact sedan options like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But after the S3 arrived, it was the one to own for compact thrills. The Audi S3 enters its third generation for the 2022 model year alongside an all-new A3 sedan. But the S3 no longer has the segment all to itself; the competition now includes the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-AMG A 35 and CLA 35 twins. With a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine now producing 306 horsepower, Audi's latest S3 holds an incremental on-paper advantage over its rivals. But more power does not a better car make, and to find out if the S3's on-paper advantage translates to real-world supremacy, Audi flew us out to Denver, Colorado to sample it on some snowy mountain roads.

Read in this review:

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2022 Audi S3 Sedan Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2021 S3 Sedan?

Audi skipped the 2021 model year for its spicy S3 Sedan as it was gearing up to release this all-new model. Compared to the 2020 model, the new S3 has an uprated 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that now produces 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, up from 288 hp/280 lb-ft. The sedan now wears a bolder suit than before and there's a sporty cabin with a standard 10.1-inch touchscreen interface. However, beneath the surface, the S3 still uses the same VW MQB platform that underpinned the previous model as well as other performance machines like the new Golf GTI and Golf R.

Pros and Cons

  • More charismatic styling than before
  • Fast enough for most
  • Secure handling
  • High-quality cabin
  • Lots of standard features
  • Small trunk
  • Rear legroom is limited
  • Top trim is pricey
  • Practical Sportback not sold in US
  • Golf R cousin gets more power

Best Deals on 2022 Audi S3 Sedan

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0T Premium quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.0T Premium Plus quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
2.0T Prestige quattro
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Trims and Specs

2022 S3 Sedan Exterior

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Front View CarBuzz 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Rearward Vision Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Front Angle View Audi
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Front View
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Rearward Vision
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Front Angle View
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  • Length 177.3 in
  • Wheelbase 103.5 in
  • Height 55.7 in
  • Max Width 71.5 in
  • Front Width 60.8 in
  • Rear Width 59.8 in
  • Curb Weight 3,538.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Mythos Black Metallic +$595
  • Glacier White Metallic +$595
  • Daytona Gray Pearl Effect +$595
  • Navarra Blue Metallic +$595
  • Tango Red Metallic +$595
  • Python Yellow Metallic +$595
  • Ibis White
  • Turbo Blue

2022 S3 Sedan Performance

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Driving Front Angle Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Driving Back View Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Engine Bay Audi
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Driving Front Angle
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Driving Back View
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

  • Engine
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain

Handling and Driving Impressions

We hopped out of the softer, more economy-tuned A3 into a sporty S3 finished with a spicy Tango Red paint job. Immediately, we could tell these two machines were built for different purposes. Audi's traditionally overlight steering feels sharper in the S3, especially with the car placed into its Dynamic setting. The wheel feels more connected on-center than Audi's larger performance models, giving the S3 an enthusiastic edge that we adore.

Though the A 35 and CLA 35 are more rowdy on a back road, they are far less comfortable and balanced. Where the AMG cars punish your spine with stiff suspension, the S3's optional available sport suspension with damper control rides beautifully over rough pavement, making this the most livable car in its segment. Placing the suspension into Dynamic mode makes the S3 a bit firm for everyday driving, but still more bearable than the AMGs. Larger 14.1-inch front brake discs help bring the S3 down to a quick halt, and for the first time on this model, all four discs are internally ventilated to keep them cool.

The Audi S3 feels like the most well-balanced vehicle in its competitive class; more thrilling than the BMW M235i but easier to live with than the AMG A35 and CLA 35. It's tiny dimensions let it squirt through tight bends with ease, more gracefully than its larger S4 sibling. And while the S4 now rolls with a conventional eight-speed automatic, the S3 keeps its quick-shifting DCT that feels better catered for enthusiastic driving. There's noticeable turbo lag if you mash the throttle unexpectedly in a higher gear, but the DCT can quickly figure out the correct gear. In its Dynamic setting, the transmission holds gears longer, giving quicker access to the available power. This car is remarkably quick when driven correctly, but it lacks the always-available punch of a larger engine. Place the S3 into Comfort or Auto mode, and it quiets down into a comfortable cruiser.

2022 S3 Sedan Interior

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Dashboard Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Gauge Cluster Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Steering Wheel Audi
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Dashboard
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Gauge Cluster
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Steering Wheel
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Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 41.2 in
  • Front Head Room 36.5 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 36.1 in

2022 S3 Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Armrest Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Glove Box Audi 2022 Audi S3 Sedan Trunk Space Audi
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Armrest
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Glove Box
2022 Audi S3 Sedan Trunk Space
  • Trunk Volume
    10 ft³

2022 S3 Sedan Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Audi S3 Sedan A Good car?

With this latest refresh, the 2022 Audi S3 becomes the most well-rounded option in the entry-level performance luxury segment. It's prettier and more fun to drive than the BMW M235i Gran Coupe, but also more premium and comfortable than the Mercedes-AMG A35 and CLA 35. We'd slightly lean towards the AMGs for one spirited drive up a mountain, but we'd grab the keys to the S3 for the commute back.

There's only two questions you need to answer about the S3 to decide if it's right for you. First, is it big enough? With limited back seat and trunk space, an A4 or S4 might be the better option. Second, is the S3 the ideal level of performance? The Audi A3 comes in at a significantly lower price with 201 horsepower and improved fuel economy, while the hotter RS3 arrives next Summer sporting a larger five-cylinder engine with circa 400 hp. We'd call the S3 the sweet spot of Audi's entry-level trio, though the upcoming RS3 leaves our enthusiast cravings wanting a bit more.

Check out other Audi A3 Styles

2022 Audi S3 Sedan Comparisons

Audi S4 Sedan Audi
Audi A3 Sedan Audi
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Audi S3 Sedan306 hp23/32 mpg$46,800
Audi S4 Sedan 349 hp21/30 mpg$52,800
Audi A3 Sedan 201 hp27/35 mpg$35,400

2022 Audi S3 Sedan vs Audi S4 Sedan

The S3 is the more youthful sibling between these two, whereas the S4 is more conservative but better suited to a family. For only $400 more than the S3 Prestige, you can get behind the wheel of the base S4 Premium. Perhaps the biggest change is that the S4 has a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It's barely faster than the S3 but the two extra cylinders give it a smoother, more refined demeanor. There's also more space in the back seat of the S4, while its trunk is larger. There are nicer materials in the cabin of the S4 but we do like that Audi was more adventurous with the S3's design, both inside and out. If you want a quick, polished sedan, both the S3 and S4 are excellent. Pushed to pick a favorite, we'd go for the S3 which simply has more personality.

See Audi S4 Sedan Review

2022 Audi S3 Sedan vs Audi A3 Sedan

Do you really need the extra power of the S3? The new A3 Sedan starts at $33,900, over $10,000 less than the cheapest S3. However, the base A3 makes do with front-wheel drive and a 201-hp turbocharged engine. It's around two seconds slower to 60 than the S3, although 6.6 seconds to 60 is still a decent showing. If comfort and convenience are more valuable to you than performance, you could go for the A3 Prestige at $41,200. It comes with all the gadgets like a head-up display and the Audi virtual cockpit plus for less than the price of the more sparsely equipped S3 Premium. It's all about where your priorities lie. Considering that the S3 is less efficient and a bit stiffer, perhaps a fully loaded A3 is the smarter choice. But then again, performance has never been about logic.

See Audi A3 Sedan Review
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