2020 Audi S3

#7
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$43,000
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2020 Audi S3 Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


Abhinandan Banerjee's image

Abhinandan Banerjee Senior Correspondent Updated on: November 23, 2019


One of the most affordable and entry-level luxury sports sedan in the market, the Audi S3, is back for yet another stint at our market for 2020. The S3 has always been one of the most sought after sports sedans in the market and Audi is making some subtle changes to make it look fresh against the rising competition. The 2020 Audi S3 Sedan bridges the gap between the standard and the most affordable Audi for our market, the A3 Sedan and the ultra-hardcore, track focused and performance-oriented RS 3 sedan.

See detailed review »

Pros

Superb response from the motor

Impeccable interior build

Joyful handling

Ultra intuitive infotainment system

Cons

Sub-par cargo capacity

No manual transmission even as an option

Cramped rear seat space

What's New?

Omission of the ‘Prestige’ trim and introduction of a new entry level ‘Premium’ trim

Additional premium features, standard on the Premium plus trim

New Quantum Gray color scheme


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$43000

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

AWD

engine type

displacement

121 cu.in.

horsepower

288 hp @ 5400 rpm

torque

280 lbs.-ft. @ 1900 rpm

transmission

7 speed auto shift manual

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

brake rotors (f/r)

61.1/60.1

dimensions

wheelbase

103.6 in.

length

175.8 in.

width

70.7 in.

height

54.8 in.

curb weight

3494 lbs.

capacity

cargo volume

10 cu ft.

payload capacity

1102 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

4.7 sec.

zero to 100 mph

5 sec.

standing ¼-mile

13.6 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

22//29 mpg

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr. / unlimited


Pictures

Exterior
 2020 Audi S3 3 Quarter View  2020 Audi S3 3 Quarter View  2020 Audi S3 3 Quarter View  2020 Audi S3 3 Quarter View  2020 Audi S3 Left Side View
Interior
 2020 Audi S3 Rear Seats  2020 Audi S3 Front Seats  2020 Audi S3 Cockpit Area  2020 Audi S3 interior  2020 Audi S3 Cockpit Area

Styles

 2020 Audi S3 in Ara Blue Crystal Effect color  2020 Audi S3 in Brilliant Black color  2020 Audi S3 in Daytona Gray Pearl Effect color  2020 Audi S3 in Glacier White Metallic color  2020 Audi S3 in Mythos Black Metallic color
Ara Blue Crystal Effect

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Engine

8.2

Interior

7.0

Safety

9.3

8.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Audi S3 S-Line Premium

S-Line Premium

power
288hp @ 5400 rpm
fuel
Diesel
mpg
25 combined

$43,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
2.0T S-Line Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl 7AM) Starting at $43,000 MSRP (22/25/29) 288hp @ 5400 rpm, 2 L, I-4, diesel
7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD and auto-manual all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.2

Overall Rating


Speaking of changes and updates, the 2020 Audi S3, now becomes more affordable with the introduction of a new entry-level Premium trim priced at $43,000. The erstwhile top of the line Prestige trim has now been given a miss and the Premium Plus trim sits at the top of the table. The Premium Plus trim also gets additional premium features like B&O Audio, High Beam Assist, and interior storage package as part of the standard equipment. Mechanically, the 2020 Audi S3 remains identical to the 2019 model and you will still find the same old but impressive 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder motor, doing duty in the same. Quattro AWD is standard across the 2 trims and so is the 7-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch gearbox.

With the introduction of the new Premium trim, the Audi S3 Sedan has become much more affordable. The prices for the 2020 S3, ranges from $43,000 to over $45,000, depending on the options you spec your S3 with. In terms of the rivals, the 2020 S3, goes head to head against stalwarts like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Infiniti’s Q50 and Acura’s TLX sedan. 

2020 Audi S3 Sedan Front View
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Front View
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Rear View
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Rear View

 

8.2/10
Engine

 
 

7.0/10
Interior

 
 

9.3/10
Safety

 
 
 

2020 Audi S3 Features

For 2020, Audi is making small changes to the trim family of the S3. The erstwhile top of the line Prestige trim now makes way for the new entry-level Premium trim, making the S3 more affordable. The Premium Plus trim now sits on top of the lineup and gets features like a Bang & Olufsen sound system, high-beam assists, interior storage package with rear USB port, and auto-dimming, power-folding, heated mirrors as standard.

Trim

Premium

Premium Plus

MSRP

$43,000

$45,600

Key Features

Auto-dimming Interior Rearview mirror

Auto-dimming, power-folding, heated ORVM’s

 

Automatic dual zone climate control

B&O Audio system

 

18” Aluminum-alloy wheels

Full LED Headlights with high beam assist

 

Remote keyless entry

Apple Car Play, Android Auto

 

Heated and Power adjust front seats

Audi side assist with Rear cross-traffic alert

Which trim to buy?

The Premium trim bundles plenty of features for its price and adding the available side and rear cross-traffic assist pack to the same makes the S3, a near-perfect buy. Hence, we would recommend the same as the configuration to go for.

2020 Audi S3 Engine

8.2/10

With no mechanical changes for the 2020 model year, the S3, still derives its power from a 2.0L, Turbocharged fuel stratified injection motor that is good for 288 horses and 280 lbs.-ft. of torque. While these numbers may not sound much, in the real world, you won’t find many reasons for complaining. This 2.0L unit from Audi comes as one of the most refined units in the market and with the Quattro setup, you will have a truly enjoyable driving experience while putting the S3, through its paces.

Audi S3 Sedan Engine
2020 Audi S3 Sedan 2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4 Engine

Talking about the transmission, this 2.0L unit comes coupled to a slick-shifting 7 speed ‘S-Tronic’ dual-clutch transmission. We use the word “slick” here as this unit is one of the fastest in the segment to slot through the gears and the Quattro system has been well-tuned, to suit the requirements of this gearbox. There is very little transmission lag and when there is a demand for power, you will find the S3, in the right gear every time.

Models

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

MSRP

$43,000

$38,400

$38,295

$38,200

Engine

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

3.0L Twin-Turbocharged V-6

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

3.5L Naturally aspirated V-6

Transmission

7-speed dual-clutch transmission

7-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed shiftable automatic

Power(hp)

288@5400rpm

300@6400rpm

280@5200rpm

290@6200rpm

Torque(lbs.-ft.)

280@1900rpm

295@1500rpm

306@2000rpm

267@4500rpm

*2019 model year figures used for comparison purposes only

Pitting the Audi against its adversaries, you will find that it gets beaten by some of them, in terms of the power and torque on offer. The Infiniti comes with the most power on board and has the 3rd best torque figures. The Acura is the 2nd in terms of power and the lowest on torque. The Alfa has the lowest power figures but delivers the most torque output of this entire lot.

How fast is it?

The 2020 Audi S3, comes with a punchy motor and Audi has done well to pair this engine with a superb 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a refined Quattro AWD setup. In the real world, the 3 parameters combine to make the Audi, one of the fastest cars in our comparison today. Out on the roads, you will not find much to complain about Audi’s acceleration. Overtaking other cars on the motorway and in the city streets is a breeze and on the right stretch, you can reach the 3 digit mark in no time at all.

Audi S3 Sedan being put through its paces
2020 Audi S3 Sedan takes less than 4.6 seconds to reach 0-60MPH

Models

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

0-60 MPH (sec)

4.6

5.0

5.3

5.8

Quarter mile(sec)

13.0

13.8

14.1

14.2

Engine

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

3.0L Twin-Turbocharged V-6

2.0L Turbocharged Inline-4

3.5L Naturally aspirated V-6

Emissions (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

7.0

7.1

6.6

7.7

No car in our comparison today can hold a candle to the Audi, other than the Infiniti Q50. The Alfa, despite its sporty credentials, falls short of the other 2 here and comes in the 3rd spot. The Acura, owing to its heft and lower torque figures, comes last in our comparison today.

What about the driving dynamics then?

Since the Audi S3, presents itself as a sportier alternative to the standard A3, you do get Sportier handling in the same. By sporty, we mean stiffer suspension setup courtesy of customer tuned S Sport suspension, progressive steering, and better engine performance. The S3 never feels unsettling to ride out on the city streets and on the highways and it’s just the big bumps that will creep into the seats. The suspension absorbs the majority of what the road has to throw at it, with the utmost authority and you won’t be disappointed sitting for long hours in the S3.

Audi S3 Sedan moving through a sharp curve
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Rera View

With better brakes, stiffer suspension improved steering responses and a fine-tuned Quattro AWD system, you will never feel the lack of grip or confidence while putting the 2020 S3, to its paces. Body roll is well contained while taking corners and when the conditions get wet, the Quattro AWD ensures that there is enough traction on all 4 wheels. Sure, you may not be able to slip Audi’s tail out but then, you will enjoy the way this Audi goes around the corners.

How does the Audi S3 fare on the braking front?

The Audi S3 isn’t just impressive in terms of performance but in terms of braking abilities as well. The Audi manages to stop from 60 MPH to a standstill in just 107ft., owing to its lightweight body, bigger brakes, and the AWD setup. In terms of brake feel, the Audi feels confident in all situations and the brakes offer a reassuring feel at all instances. Nosedive is well-contained at all situations and the car maintains a linear path under heavy brake application.

Brake rotors of the New Audi S3 Sedan
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Front Brake 13.4 and Rear 12.2 in.

Model

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

Brake Front (in.)

13.4

12.6

13.0

12.6

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

12.1

12.5

12.2

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3494

3842

3521

3765

60-0 MPH (ft.)

107

109

124

122

Comparing the Audi to its rivals, you will find that the aforesaid factors lift up Audi’s braking performance and hence making it, the best performing sedan here. The bigger Infiniti Q50 manages to match the timings of the Audi but falls short, by the shortest of margins. The Alfa and the Acura, struggle to keep up with the other 2 sedans here, owing to the Alfa’s RWD configuration and the Acura’s heft.

2020 Audi S3 Fuel Economy

People going for performance sports cars hardly take into account, the MPG figures of their vehicles. But for when they do, Audi has ensured that the customers, wouldn’t have to bother much with the gas expenses of the 2020 Audi S3.

The 2020 Audi S3 delivers an overall gas mileage figure of 25MPG and 29MPG on the highway. On the city, the S3 manages to dish out a respectable 22MPG. Combine all this, to the 14.5 gallon fuel tank and you have on your hands, a minimum driving range of 319 miles, which is decent considering the S3’s performance on offer.

Model

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

MPG (City)

22

19

24

20

MPG (Highway)

29

27

33

29

MPG (Combined)

25

22

27

23

Fuel Capacity(Gallons)

14.5

20.0

15.3

17.2

Range(City/Hwy)

319/421

380/540

367/505

344/499

Looking at the table above, you will notice that Alfa’s motor, comes out as the most efficient of this entire bunch. However, despite having the least efficient motor of the lot, the Infiniti Q50, can traverse the most distance of them all. The TLX, offers a better range than the Audi but has the 3rd least efficient motor here.

2020 Audi S3 Interior

7.0/10

Audi positions the 2020 S3 as a sports sedan but despite that, it has not made any cuts on providing a pleasurable and comfortable ride experience for its passengers. The 2020 Audi S3, comes with leather seats with perforated contrast diamond stitching and the “S” embossing. Extendable support on the front sport seats adds to the convenience of the driver and the passenger. The leather upholstery feels premium to touch and the immaculate stitching doesn’t desire anything more to be wanted out of it.

Audi S3 Sedan Rear seats
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Rear Seats

Heating functionality on the front seats and the power adjust for the seats ensures the passengers have no issues in adjusting the seats as per their preferences. The seats themselves offer enough padding to not tire out the passengers occupying them and ensure that they don’t feel tired after a long drive.

Model

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

36.5/54.8/41.2

40.2/56.7/44.5

38.6/56.1/42.4

37.2/57.5/42.6

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

36.1/53.0/35.1

37.5/56.1/35.1

37.6/53.6/35.1

36.7/55.4/34.5

If we were to complain about something, it would be the lack of space on the rear seats. The sloping roofline and the compact proportions at the back add to the claustrophobic feel of this Audi. The competition, on the other hand, excels in offering a far better space for the rear passengers. Overall and surprisingly, it’s the Infiniti that manages to outrun all other cars in this comparison and the Alfa comes in second in the same aspect. The Acura comes 3rd in the cabin space department and manages to beat the S3, owing to its bigger dimensions.

Does it come loaded with tech?

Audi has been famed for its infotainment system, specifically its MMI/Multi-Media Interface unit because of its ease of use, responsiveness, and features on offer. The 2020 Audi S3 boasts of a lot of features on the infotainment front, irrespective of its sporty credentials. Here is a list of some of the cool features on offer

Audi S3 Sedan Infotainment
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Infotainment Screen
  • Color DIS
  • 10 Speaker 180W Single CD Audio System with HD and Sirius XM Radio
  • USB Port for data and Charging, Bluetooth Streaming and Wireless connection for phones 
  • Apple Car Play, Android Auto support
  • Rear View Camera
  • Audi Drive Select

What about the utility?

In terms of utility, it feels like Audi hasn’t taken much care on that front. There are plenty of cubby holes and storage spaces on the inside but its the rear cargo area that dampens the sense of practicality. The split-folding rear seats, however, manage to garner some lost ground for the Audi in terms of practicality as they add to the overall cargo area of the S3.

Audi S3 Sedan Cargo Volume
2020 Audi S3 Sedan 10.0 cu ft. Cargo Volume

Model

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

Volume (ft cube)

10.0

13.2

12.0

14.3

The Acura TLX comes out on top as the sedan with the most space on offer. The Infiniti, despite its low cargo capacity, comes out as the second-best here. The Giulia comes in 3rd and the table is rounded up by the S3 sedan.

Creature comforts on offer?

Audi has had this thing of not disappointing it’s customers, in terms of the features that they load in their cars and the 2020 S3 is no different. Despite being a relatively sporty offering from this German marquee, the S3 sedan boasts of a multitude of creature comforts that includes the likes of

  • Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control
  • Flat Bottom Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters and Tilt and Telescopic Adjust
  • Ambient LED Interior Lighting
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Keyless Start, Stop
  • Leather seating surfaces
  • Heated 12-way power-adjustable front seats with 4-way power lumbar adjust
  • One-Touch Up/Down power windows with pinch protection
  • Folding Front Center Arm Rest
  • Aluminum interior package
  • Auto-Dimming Interior Rear View Mirror with Digital Compass
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Interior

2020 Audi S3 Exterior

To make the 2020 Audi S3 worthy of an S badge, Audi has made a lot of changes to the standard A3 and spruced it up accordingly. The wide front bumper intake and the single frame mesh grille, makes the S3 stand out from its other siblings. The huge side skirts and the dual exhausts add to the performance appearance of the S3. The big alloy wheels enhance the overall appeal of this sedan and make it look sporty.

Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan 3rd Quarter View

Speaking of proportions, the S3 is the shortest in length among its rivals and has similar dimensions when compared to the others. The wheelbase is the shortest among the rest and the weight is comparable to the others as well.

Model

Audi S3 Premium Quattro 

Infiniti Q50 3.0t Pure AWD

Alfa Romeo Giulia RWD*

Acura TLX SH-AWD

Curb weight (lbs)

3494

3842

3521

3765

Length(in)

175.8

189.6

182.5

190.7

Width(in)

70.7

71.8

73.7

73.0

Height(in)

54.8

57.2

56.5

57.0

Ground clearance(in)

4.7

5.0

3.9

5.9

Wheelbase(in)

103.6

112.2

111.0

109.3

In terms of the other cars in this segment, the Acura is the biggest of the lot. The Alfa takes the lead when it comes to the girth of these sedans. While, the Infiniti, takes top honors for being the tallest of the lot.

Any eye-catching features?

While modern-day Audi’s have been famed for their amazing styling quo, the S3 manages to grab hold of some of those touches as well. Talking of the note-worthy features, here is the list of a few of those features on offer

  • Automatic Full LED Headlights with Washers
  • Automatic windshield wipers
  • LED Taillights with dynamic turn signals
  • Power Adjustable, Folding, Heated Outside Rear View Mirrors with integrated LED Turn signals
  • Front and Rear Parking sensors
  • Body Color Rear Lip Spoiler
  • Keyless Entry
  • Front and Rear parking sensors
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior
2020 Audi S3 Sedan Exterior

2020 Audi S3 Safety

9.3/10

Well, that’s a very valid question, considering the rising awareness for the need for advanced safety features as standard. Taking this into perspective, Audi has added a plethora of advanced safety features to the 2020 S3 lineup as standard. Audi’s side and rear cross-traffic assist, now comes as an option, even in the base premium trim and as standard in the Premium Plus trim.

Even though IIHS and NHTSA haven’t tested the 2020 Audi S3, we do have the list of safety features that the Audi comes loaded with to ensure the peace of mind of the passengers.

Standard Safety Features on offer?

  • Front, Knee, Thorax Side, Head Curtain Airbags with occupant detection
  • Power Central locking with safety unlock for when the airbags deploy
  • ABS with EBD and brake Assist
  • Side and Rear Cross Traffic Assist and Audi parking plus with front and rear parking sensors
  • ESC with secondary collision brake assist and traction control
  • Anti-Theft System with Immobilizer
  • TPMS with LATCH for rear seats

 

2020 Audi S3 Competition

Audi S3 vs. Infiniti Q50

The Infiniti Q50, with its 3.0L motor, offers a lot more power and torque than the Audi. It’s spacious than the German and is on par with it in terms of performance. However, the S3 has it’s own perks. It’s stylish on the outside, has fantastic performance and comes with one of the best infotainment systems in the market. If you aren’t worried about the price gap between the duo, the Audi S3 will be a good choice but if you are thinking about the practical aspect, the Infiniti won’t be a bad buy either.

2020 Infinity Q50 Sedan
2020 Infinity Q50 Sedan

Audi S3 vs. Alfa Romeo Giulia

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the few sedans in the market that can do justice to the Italian spirit of racing and design. The Giulia is a superb embodiment of this Italian flair and peppy performance, bundled together in a big spacious package. The interiors may not be as well built as the Audi and the button placements may be a bit flimsier than the same, but if you go by the emotions on offer, we would definitely pick the Alfa over the Audi. However, if you think on the practical side and want to go by the reliability and build of the sedan, it’s the Audi that will be your best shot.

2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia
2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Audi S3 vs. Acura TLX

The Acura TLX comes in as a popular choice among the masses looking for a comfortable and spacious sedan. The TLX comes with a host of features onboard and is definitely, one of the most comfortable sedans to be driven in. However, while we are on the subject of performance sedans, it’s the Audi that will suit you the best. It has an impeccable interior, performs brilliantly on the road and comes loaded with futuristic features as well. So, overall, we would be leaning towards the Audi S3 as the victor between these 2 stalwarts.

2020 Acura TLX Sedan
2020 Acura TLX Sedan

 

2020 Audi S3 Final Verdict

Should you buy the S3?

Well, this is the most important question that a lot of you will have on your minds. With the 2020 S3, Audi has pulled out all stops in offering a sedan that bundles in performance with daily-driver credentials. The Audi comes loaded with a lot of features as standard and with the new Premium trim, it has become much more affordable than ever. Couple all this, to a well-built cabin, superb driving dynamics, and a peppy yet fuel efficient motor and the 2020 Audi S3, will tick a lot of boxes for you. Overall, while there may be more powerful cars at a slightly lesser price available in the market right now, we would still suggest the S3, for its sheer performance, looks, and usability on a daily basis.