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In-depth reviews

Audi S3 review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Audi offers the S3 in three body styles, all with class competitive practicality, giving buyers plenty of choice

Practicality is one of the major points of differentiation between models in the S3 range, due to the variety of body styles available. If space and versatility is important to you, then the S3 Cabriolet is least likely to appeal – although it's still reasonably roomy for a small four-seat convertible.

All models serve up decent comfort for the driver and front passenger. The standard leather sports seats are supportive when you’re pushing hard, yet comfortable enough for long journeys. Plus, there’s a wide range of adjustment, so few owners will find fault with the driving position.

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Cabin storage is decent without being exceptional; there are large bottle holders in the door bins, a central storage cubby for odds and ends and a reasonable-sized glovebox.

To boost the S3’s practicality, Audi offers a fair amount of tech, too. Aside from Internet access via the MMI system, with all its associated apps and services, you can specify a reversing cameras and an automated ‘hands-free’ parking system.

Size

At 4,237mm long, the S3 Sportback is a little shorter than the 4,263mm SEAT Leon – in spite of shared underpinnings – and the 4,324mm BMW M140i. The size and packaging mean the Audi offers less interior space than its VW Group stablemates the Leon and Volkswagen Golf, but it’s only those sitting in the back who will feel the pinch.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The five-door S3 Sportback and S3 Saloon have decent access to the back seats, but once there the space is a little cramped, especially for adults. There are three seatbelts, but anybody sitting in the middle will feel even more cramped, courtesy of the raised transmission tunnel that makes way for the quattro four-wheel-drive system.

The Cabriolet provides the worst rear accommodation, as the hood mechanism pushes the back seat closer to the front row. Large door openings help access when the roof is up, but the dark roof lining and small windows mean it feels even more cramped in the back than the rest of the range. Unlike the hatch and saloon, the S3 Cabriolet is a two seater in the back.

Boot

With the rear seats in place, the S3 Sportback offers a boot capacity of 340 litres, and this extends to 1,220 litres when they’re folded. Rivals like the BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf provide more space, but the load bay in the Audi is a useful size and shape.

As you’d expect, the S3 Saloon isn’t as practical as the hatchback model, even with the seats folded, although it does serve up the largest boot space with the rear seats in place, at 390 litres. 

Not surprisingly, the S3 Cabriolet has the smallest boot, with a capacity of only 285 litres when the roof is retracted.

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