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Monday, January 24, 2022

2022 Audi A3/S3

Audi S3 Sedan

by Frank S. Washington

Denver – Audi has redone its entry level sedans, the A3 and the S3. They are both all new.

These sedans have been around since 2005 and neither seemed the worse for wear in terms of the time they’ve been on the market.

But the entry level premium/luxury market is growing and getting crowded with more entries. So, Audi decided to put some polish on the sheet metal, throw in more pronounced creases and make the operative word for the 2022 Audi A3/S3 more.

The car just went on sale. It is longer, wider, and lower; not by much but just enough to have an impact. The most important addition for enthusiasts is both cars have more horsepower.

For the A3, the number was 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The S3 gets 306 horsepower. Both have a seven-speed fast shifting dual clutch automatic transmissions.

Of course, the S3 is the performance model if the horsepower did not give it away. It can get from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Audi is employing what it called trickle down technology. Both cars were available with head up displays and memory power seats.

They had park assist, and an adaptive suspension. However, both still had the single frame grille that is Audi’s face. The hood was aluminum, Audi was one of the first brands that shifted to the metal to make their vehicles lighter and stronger.

The adaptive suspension was appreciated. The climate here calls for heavy use of salt to keep the roads clear. The cold, snow and ice make for rough streets in dry weather. And that is what we found here.

But the suspension smoothed the rough patches, and the sound proofing kept the pounding out of the cabin.

They gave both cars sharper creases and sculpted sides. And though they left the grille shape alone, they did make some subtle changes in terms of fillers. There were cross-drilled brakes, a rear lip spoiler, black roof, and a quad exhaust. The Alcantara headliner was a nice touch.

The Audi A3 had a bolder, wider stance supported by sharper side sculpting, and prominent quattro blisters with strong concave surfacing. At the front, the single frame grille was wider with a honeycomb design and aggressive hood sculpting, flanked by striking headlight design.

A revelation was that the new Audi A3 was a mild, 48-volt, hybrid with an electric motor that operated as an alternate starter. It provided twelve more horsepower and 37-pound feet of boost.

That extra boost during the climb to Lyons, CO., came in handy. Not once, did our A3 struggle to get up the foothills of the Rockies and we were at altitudes of more than 8,000 feet.

Both cars had a drag co-efficient of .26 and they were 20 percent more fuel efficient. There was contrast stitching in the interior and a 10.1-inch touch infotainment screen.

All the testers had Quattro. That is Audi’s all-wheel-drive system that puts power to all four wheels all the time. We can’t imagine getting over these roads when they are ice and snow filled but the Quattro system is meant to do just that.

The interior was functional, nice, and easy to use. They pruned the electronic great shifter down to a knob which allowed for more space.

The sight lines were great, the more effective brakes slowed the A3 promptly which happed often on these winding roads.

All the models had four USB-C jacks and the instruments were digital.

We couldn’t take advantage of the S3’s horsepower. We took a direct route to return not realizing that it would be mostly on Expressway I 36E., back to the hotel and we ran into traffic. But we can tell you that the engine was ready to run. Just the lightest push on the accelerator and we could hear it growl.

The FWD A3 has a base price of $33,900, while the Quattro had a base price of $35 900. The beefier S3 started at $44,900.

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