Further revisions include the introduction of a new on-the-limit capability for the Audi's electronic stability control system, which permits it to apply gentle braking to the inside front wheels. This reputedly improves cornering responses at speed.
Much like the S3 saloon, the S3 cabriolet receives a range of cosmetic tweaks – including aluminium-finish door mirrors, redesigned bumpers and Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Interior changes are pleasingly restrained, comprising a flat-bottomed three-spoke wheel, grey dials with white needles and heated, S embossed front seats. It's also pleasing to see a boost gauge integrated into the instrument cluster, although it does admittedly take the place of the temperature gauge.
Standard equipment isn't exactly dazzling, with the additional premium for the S3 instead primarily going towards performance upgrades, but on the list of standard equipment is - 19in alloys, Audi's adaptive sports suspension, progressive steering system and an aggressive bodykit on the outside, while inside there is Nappa leather upholsterty, heated front seats and Audi's sound system.
That is on top of the vast amount of standard equipment bestowed on the S-Line trimmed A3 Cabriolets, including luxuries such as dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and interior lighting, rear parking sensors, an acoustic hood and cruise control, alongside Audi's 7.0in retractable infotainment system complete with DAB radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity and sat nav.
What's it like?
Out on the road it's surprising how relaxed the new S3 feels with the Drive Select system in Comfort mode. The throttle response is gentle, the six-speed transmission shifts quickly and smoothly and the exhaust note is restrained at small throttle openings. The immediate impression is of a refined, competent product.
It quickly becomes apparent, however, that the S3's steering is lifeless. When turning into a corner it feels overly light and lacking in any meaningful feedback – but it is at least accurate and its responses well judged. This makes it simple to adjust and maintain your desired line.
The suspension also has its flaws. On smooth surfaces the Audi rides in a comfortable fashion but run into a pothole, a crack in the road or a broken surface, and you'll know about it.
On rougher country roads the inability of the S3's suspension to absorb smaller defects becomes increasingly apparent, with it sending persistent jitters through the cabin and controls.
Fortunately, on the flip side, the S3 does compensate somewhat with impressive cornering capabilities. There's a vast amount of grip on offer and even sharp corners, at speed, are dispatched with minimal fuss and body roll.
Like many high-performance Audis its natural bias is towards understeer but, thanks to the advanced stability control system and four-wheel drive, it's easy to further adjust your cornering attitude by modulating the power.
Switch the Drive Select into Dynamic mode and, besides sharpened responses from the engine, transmission and suspension, the steering weights up in an effort to impart more accuracy and engagement.
While the additional heft does make the driving experience a little more physical, it can be tiring and frequently feels excessive. Fortunately the Audi's Auto mode strikes a comparatively happy balance between the two, selectively refining the car's responses based on the road speed and control inputs.