Skip to Content
  • Subscribe
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Features
  • Buyer's Guide

2020 Audi S3

Starting at $43,995

7.5/10 C/D RATING
2020 audi s3 front
7.5/10 C/D RATING

Select a year

  • Highs Zesty acceleration, high-tech cabin, fantastic build quality.
  • Lows Tight rear-seat space, less fuel efficient than A3, Europe's hatchback version would be preferable.
  • Verdict The 2020 Audi S3 is fast, fun, and offers many of the same attractive attributes as its larger, more expensive stablemates.
By Drew Dorian


The Audi S3 blends high-performance and high-tech into a zesty compact sedan. In addition to its sporting chops, the S3 also excels at being practical thanks to a roomy trunk and decent fuel-economy ratings. Unlike the A3 on which it's based, the S3 is not offered as a convertible. This sharp-handling sedan may be built off of Audi's entry-level model, but it imparts much the same sense of quality and luxuriousness as the larger cars in the company's lineup. Its 288-hp turbocharged four-cylinder delivers ripping acceleration, and its plentiful tech features—both standard and optional—keep the S3 in the hunt alongside more modern rivals.

What's New for 2020?

Only minor changes are in store for the S3 for 2020 in advance of a totally redesigned model that we expect to debut for the 2021 model year. The largest change is the addition of a lower-priced Premium model as the entry-point for the S3 lineup; the expensive Prestige model has been discontinued, leaving just the Premium and Premium Plus trims. The Premium Plus model now comes standard with a Bang & Olufsen stereo system, automatic high-beam headlamps, a USB port for rear-seat occupants, and power-folding exterior mirrors with heat. Quantum Gray has been added to the palette of available colors.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

We'd splurge on the Premium Plus model as it adds a lot of features luxury buyers will be looking for, including the 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo, a wireless smartphone charging pad, automatic high-beam headlamps, front and rear parking sensors and eight-way power-adjustable front seats with power lumbar support for both chairs. To that, we'd add the Navigation package—it’s a big ask at $2000, but it adds Audi's slick Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display, in-dash navigation, and a touch pad for the infotainment system controller.


Find your perfect ride!

We're partnering with Carvana because we want to make it easy for you to find the exact vehicle you're looking for.

Finding Inventory
Card Image
Card Image
Card Image

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 288 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic is standard; a manual is not offered. With accurate (albeit lightly weighted) steering, all-wheel drive, and a sport-tuned suspension, the S3 offers great driving dynamics. The automatic snaps off quick shifts, and at our test track the S3 charged to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, 0.9 second quicker than the standard A3. If that's not quite quick enough for you, the even hotter RS3 model delivered a blisteringly quick 3.5-second run from zero to 60 mph.

2020 audi s3 rearView Photos

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The S3's fuel economy ratings aren't as frugal as the A3's but it lines up nicely against other performance-oriented small cars with all-wheel drive such as the BMW 230i xDrive coupe and the Mercedes-AMG A35 4Matic. The EPA estimates that the S3 will deliver 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. We haven't had the chance to test the S3 on our 200-mile highway fuel economy test route, but when we do, we will update this story with results.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The cabin is well-built and imparts a classy ambience, much like all of today's Audis. Passengers enjoy comfortable and supportive seats—which can be outfitted with quilted diamond-patterned nappa leather—but the interior is tight, particularly the rear seat. All S3 models come with a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting. The S3's trunk is identical to that of the A3; in our testing the A3 was able to fit five carry-on suitcases inside the trunk and when we dropped the rear seats, we squeezed a total of 13.

Infotainment and Connectivity

An optional 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display provides everything from vehicle speed to navigation functions, and a second infotainment display rises from its hidden spot in the dashboard when you switch on the ignition. Even though the infotainment system isn't the most modern offering from Audi—the brand's newer cars have moved to a more modern two-screen setup—it still offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as an optional on-board Wi-Fi hotspot. Navigation is optional and is bundled with the digital gauge display.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the S3 a five-star rating, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet to weigh in. For what it's worth, IIHS named the A3 a Top Safety Pick for 2019. Audi offers limited driver-assistance features as standard, but more advanced technology are options. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Available blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Available adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

All Audis come with a fairly basic four-year/50,000-mile warranty for both the powertrain and the rest of the car.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance


VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $53,775 (base price: $43,850)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 121 cu in, 1984 cc
Power: 292 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 280 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

Wheelbase: 103.6 in
Length: 175.8 in
Width: 70.7 in Height: 54.8 in
Passenger volume: 87 cu ft
Cargo volume: 10 cu ft
Curb weight: 3485 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 4.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 12.0 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 23.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 5.8 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 3.5 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.3 sec @ 104 mph
Top speed: 155 mph (governor limited, mfr-s claim)
Braking, 70-0 mph: 153 ft

EPA combined/city/highway driving: 24/21/28 mpg
C/D observed: 24 mpg

More Features and Specs


audi a3 sedan euro spec
2023 A3
Starting at $35,995
C/D Rating
2023 audi a4 sedan
2023 A4
Starting at $40,995
C/D Rating
2023 audi a4 allroad
2023 A4 Allroad
Starting at $46,595
C/D Rating
2023 audi a5 front exterior
2023 A5
Starting at $47,295
C/D Rating
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Hearst Autos - A Part of Hearst Digital Media

A Part of Hearst Digital Media

We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

©Hearst Autos, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information