Audi S3 (2013 - 2020) review - Reliability and Safety
With the might of the VW Group behind it, the S3 benefits from robust engineering and cutting-edge safety equipment
As it’s a high-performance hatch, the Audi S3 will inevitably work its way through tyres and brakes more quickly than a standard A3. That’s no reason to believe the car will be any less reliable, though, because the quattro powertrain, as well as the engines and electronics, have been so thoroughly tested across so many different models within the VW Group. The car also feels extremely well screwed together, with no flimsy trim or materials to generate annoying squeaks or rattles.
Audi trailed rivals in the Auto Express Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey, finishing in 13th place out of 32 in the manufacturers’ chart and 25th out of 31 in the dealers poll. But the standard A3 put in an impressive performance, ranking 27th out of 200 cars to give you some peace of mind.
The A3 was awarded a full five-star crash test rating by Euro NCAP in 2012, having scored 95 per cent in the adult occupant protection category. And, as you’d expect from a premium brand like Audi, the S3 is available with a whole host of advanced safety equipment.
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These options range from radar-controlled cruise control and lane keep assist to traffic sign detection and a self-parking function – although they’re not necessarily cheap. Still, multiple airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control are all included as standard.
Euro NCAP marked the regular A3’s crash protection as slightly better than that of its Ford Focus and BMW I Series rivals, although as the test has been made tougher in recent years, direct comparison is difficult.
The Audi S3 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is par for the course, but nothing special these days. Premium brands in general have some catching up to do with the warranty commitments made by more mainstream rivals, such as Toyota (five years/100,000 miles), Hyundai (five years/unlimited miles) and Kia (seven years/100,000 miles).
As usual, you can pay to extend the warranty, although this doesn’t come cheap. Increasing the cover to up to five years will set you back around £550.
On paper, the servicing options for the Audi S3 look a little complicated, but really they’re not. You just need to decide whether you’re a low-mileage driver (covering under 10,000 miles annually) or not.
Cars on the low-mileage servicing scheme require fixed annual check-ups. Meanwhile, owners who choose the high-mileage programme can opt for a variable schedule – this relies on the on-board computer to provide a dashboard alert when maintenance is needed.
Audi offers a variety of fixed price servicing plans, too, but the reality is that the S3 shouldn’t cost any more to maintain than an equivalent Volkswagen Golf.
In this review
- 1VerdictA turbocharged 296bhp powertrain, agile chassis and quattro four-wheel drive make the stylish Audi S3 a potent hot hatch.
- 2Engines, performance and driveS3 delivers amazing quattro grip and strong performance, but the car is quite clinical in its delivery
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsRunning costs are reasonable, but what makes the Audi S3 really attractive financially is its reputation for slow depreciation
- 4Interior, design and technologyThis is no stripped-out hot hatch; the S3 delivers a real premium feel and has the toys to match
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceAudi offers the S3 in three body styles, all with class competitive practicality, giving buyers plenty of choice
- 6Reliability and Safety - currently readingWith the might of the VW Group behind it, the S3 benefits from robust engineering and cutting-edge safety equipment