2.0-liter TFSI DOHC I-4, turbocharged, direct injection (292 horsepower @ 5,400-6,200 rpm; 280 lbs-ft of torque @ 1,900-5,300 rpm)
Six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission w/ all-wheel drive
23 city/31 highway/26 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
23.1 mpg on the GIVE ME ALL THE BOOST! cycle (Observed, MPG)
Tested Options: Technology Package, LED Headlights, 19-inch 5-Parallel Spoke S Wheels, Spang Blue Pearl Effect paint, Audi Magnetic Ride, Red Brake Calipers
Base Price (Prestige/Technik):
$47,895* (U.S.)/$49,595* (Canada)
As Tested Price:
$52,395* (U.S.)/$54,845* (Canada)
* All prices include $895 destination fee (U.S.) or $2,095 destination fee, PDI and A/C tax (Canada).
Inline, four-cylinder engine. Turbocharging. All-wheel drive. More than 250 horsepower.
Ten years ago, that combination was a rarity in the compact performance segment. Now you can have it all day, every day from Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru (with a boxer engine) and Volkswagen.
If you have some extra cash laying around — as you do — Mercedes, BMW and Audi will certainly fill your order.
In this sea of choice, turbocharging is the norm, all-wheel drive is becoming more commonplace due to astronomical output numbers, and active differentials and suspensions are programmed to give you Group B levels of confidence.
So, what separates them all from one another? Horsepower, certainly, if you are the type of person to count each and every calculated output unit and declare the top performer — which is the Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 — the winner. You could prefer the driving dynamics of rear-wheel drive, thus BMW would provide your only real option.
But, if you aren’t caught up in the numbers or mode of output, the Audi S3 does have a qualitative trick up its sleeve.