The Audi S3 is available unlike most of its rivals is available in three guises - hatchback, cabriolet and saloon, which is designed to appeal to a wider audience than before.
Sizing the Audi S3 up
The obvious one is the Volkswagen Golf R – the S3’s sister car, but there is also the ridiculously quick Mercedes-AMG A45 and the all-paw Ford Focus RS and a better-rounded Honda Civic Type-R, which have all shaken up the established order. It was the fast Blue Oval's arrival that has prompted Audi to tweak the S3 along with alongside facelifting the A3 range - with the fast hatchback/saloon/cabriolet gaining an additional 10bhp, leaving it short of the Focus RS and A45, but ahead of the Golf R on the performance stakes.
It may seem ludicrous to some, to allow such a power deficit against convincing rivals, especially when you add the 365bhp BMW M2 into the mix, but it allowed Audi Sport to introduce a facelifted version of the monstrous RS3, which blows the AMG, RS and M2 out of the water with the 394bhp it produces from its five-cylinder engine.
The A45 arguably owes its existence to the highly successful template Audi established a decade and a half ago with the original S3, and while it isn’t in the same league as the upstart’s prodigious pace (that's the RS3's modus operandi), it does nudge everything in the right direction.