Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Typically, anytime Audi replaces an “A” for an “S” on its cars or SUVs, you can expect high-performance, intimidating design cues, and otherworldly technology. Insert “RS” to the model, and now we’re talking about full-out domination. But with the all-new 2022 S3 Sedan, I wasn’t as enthralled as I initially imagined. Yes, the S3 is quick, agile, and dynamic, yet the styling is soft and the minimalist cockpit didn’t excite me. Thankfully, Audi innovation is still a key factor with the S3 sedan.
My weekly test vehicle rolled up in a Daytona Gray Pearl Effect hue with the $1,950 Black optic package featuring 19” Audi Sport rims, summer performance Continental tires, a black roof, quad black exhaust tips, black mirror caps, and black window frames. Though it’s an “S,” you still have to add an array of packages to make your S3 as worthy as possible. My vehicle was loaded with a plethora of features from four unique upgrade packages, which added another $11,500 to the base price. Three trim levels include the S3 Premium at $44,900, S3 Premium Plus for $47,700, and S3 Prestige starting at $51,500. My loaner totaled $57,440.
The 2022 S3 is 1.5 inches longer, .8 inches wider, taller, and more spacious than its predecessor. The small German sedan is instantly recognizable by its traditional Audi family rhombus pattern single-frame grille, Matrix-design LED headlights, and a chiseled front fascia. Red brake calipers as part of the $1,100 S sport package pair with a Sport suspension with damper control for superior handling and stopping power. Aside from that, the S3’s styling didn’t release the euphoric emotions and desires I experienced from the e-Tron GT, RS7, or the Q8 my wife just purchased.
Efficient power stems from a 2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine distributing 306-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It cruises 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds but feels much faster than the numbers suggest. Using Audi Drive Select modes, owners can set the S3 in Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, or Individual modes depending on how you wish for the 7-speed S tronic transmission to shift. I prefer Dynamic mostly, using the S sport steering wheel’s paddle shifters (manual column adjustment). As a result, the temperament gets more aggressive and spirited.
Metal pedals, including a wide dead pedal and heated S performance 8-way bolstered Fine Nappa leather seats with Diamond stitching showcase the dynamics of the interior design philosophy. However, Audi has forgone the traditional hand shifter for a tab where you push forward for reverse and down for drive/sport automatic modes. It’s a strange movement for a performance vehicle and leaves you with a basic layout since almost all physical controls have been removed and integrated into the MMI touchscreen. I genuinely miss the original MMI, which was perfect.
When purchasing any Audi, always factor in ancillary cash for the Prestige package because it offers far too many attractive options. It may be pricey, but for $6,600, you receive 19 different features in the S3, including Adaptive cruise assist, Audi MMI Navigation plus with the 12.3” screen, 3D sound Bang & Olufsen audio system, Head-up display, wireless phone charging, and much more. Keep in mind that the smaller S3 only has one screen instead of the dual-screen setup in other models like the Q8. Volume and seek controls are embedded in a circular touchpad. Black piano glass houses the MMI screen, while new Carbon atlas structure inlays enhance the craftsmanship. Wireless Apple CarPlay also came in handy.
Safety is always a priority with Audi, and in the S3 you receive Rear cross-traffic assist, Park assist, Parking system plus, Audi side assist, Lane departure warning, and High beam assist, to name a few. The 2022 Audi S3 sedan will appease many but leave others with questions. It’s a safe and joyful experience, but do not expect anything extraordinary.