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2025 Audi S3 First Drive: An Evolution Marked by Sportiness and Innovation

2025 Audi S3 | Photo: Audi
  • EPA Category: Luxury compact car
  • Warranty: 4 years / 80000 km

strong / weak points

  • Enhanced performance
  • Refined driving dynamics
  • Comfort and interior design

  • Type S not very visible from outside and inside
  • Poorly positioned mode selection knob
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Khatir Soltani
This year, Audi offers a refined version of the S3, a well-established figure in the small sports sedan segment.

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2025 Audi S3.

Munich, Germany - The Audi S3, first launched in 1999, is a well-established figure in the small sports sedan segment. For the 2025 model-year, Audi is offering a refined version of its fourth-generation model (model code 8Y), which promises to offer driving enthusiasts an even more dynamic and responsive experience.

We recently took the wheel of this reinvigorated machine, designed to take the battle to its main rivals the Mercedes-AMG A-Class and BMW 2 Series.

See also: 2025 Audi A3 First Drive: German Quality, Present and Accounted For

2025 Audi S3: What's new?

For 2025, the Audi S3 presents with significant, if apparently subtle, adjustments. The design remains true to Audi's DNA, receiving a few tweaks to refine its look, including a new front bumper, a redesigned grille and headlamps that can now be fitted with Matrix LED technology.

At the rear, the most notable change is the layout of the exhausts, topped by a honeycomb-effect plate for a more aggressive look.

2025 Audi S3, in Sportback and sedan formats
2025 Audi S3, in Sportback and sedan formats | Photo: Audi

2025 Audi S3 design - 7.5/10

The new rear bumper modifies the car's appearance, giving it a more assertive look. The single-frame grille is accentuated by L-shaped fenders that extend to a gloss black rear apron above the diffuser, which is divided into two parts to emphasize the S version's specific design. This design is reinforced by vertical side reflectors, similar to those found on RS models.

Four tailpipes, characteristic of Audi’s S variants, complete the design. An optional high-performance exhaust system with titanium muffler had been added to our test model, resulting in an accentuated sound.

If there's one complaint, it's that there isn’t more differentiation between the A3 and the S3. Those who buy this type of car tend to want it to be visually distinct. In this case, there are only two or three discreet S3 logos and four distinct tailpipes.

2025 Audi S3, interior
2025 Audi S3, interior | Photo: Audi
Audi S3 2025, seats
Audi S3 2025, seats | Photo: Audi

Inside the 2025 Audi S3
The interior of the 2025 Audi S3 has been revised to match the changes made to the exterior. Adjustments include a new gearshift design and redesigned air vents, as well as decorative fabric inlays and updated interior lighting.

Once again, we would have liked a little more sportiness coming through in the environment. The interior, apart from a few reminders in the form of S3 logos here and there, looks very much like that of the regular A3.

As in that model, the ambient lighting system (included as standard) now inhabits several areas of the cabin, including the front storage compartment, doors and footwell. The centre console and cup holder also benefit from contour lighting.

A notable feature is the backlit, laser-cut fabric front door panel, which changes brightness when the vehicle is locked and unlocked, offering a distinctive touch without being ostentatious.

The interior colour palette is predominantly dark, with a few silver elements. The black ceiling, stainless steel pedals, illuminated door sills with aluminum inserts marked with the S logo and aluminum trim reinforce the cabin's understated style. The armrests are upholstered in synthetic leather.

The cabin is equipped with dual-zone climate control for enhanced comfort.

2025 Audi S3, steering wheel
2025 Audi S3, steering wheel | Photo: Audi

The three-spoke leather sports steering wheel, flattened at the bottom, features multifunction buttons and new chrome gearshift paddles.

The sport seats, typical of the S3, are comfortable and supportive. They are available with Dinamica microfibre upholstery, a new textured technical fabric, aluminum or carbon-fibre. Overall, the materials used are of the highest quality, with customization options that include leather inserts and enhanced ambient lighting.

Technology in the 2025 Audi S3 - 8.0/10

Inside, the S3 continues to offer a refined, technologically advanced environment. The new small gear selector and multifunction steering wheel emphasize a driver-oriented cabin. The dashboard is dominated by a harmoniously integrated 10.1-inch multimedia screen.

2025 Audi S3, front
2025 Audi S3, front | Photo: Audi

Driving the 2025 Audi S3 - 9.5/10

The 2025 Audi S3's 2.0 TFSI turbo engine, with its 333 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque (up from 306 hp and 295 lb-ft in the previous model) promises an invigorating experience. But this Audi isn't just a more powerful car; it's also more responsive, thanks to optimized electronics and turbocharger management. The addition of the torque split system considerably enriches driving dynamics, offering precise control and superior grip, especially in tight corners.

The 7-speed dual-clutch transmission has been refined for quick, smooth gear changes, which is particularly appreciated when testing the car's limits. The suspension and steering have also been fine-tuned, transforming driving into a more direct and engaging experience, perfectly balanced between comfort and sporty responsiveness.

On the road, handling is smooth and quiet, without the model losing its impressive maneuverability. Even the rather firm suspension never becomes a source of discomfort, while vigorously supporting dynamic driving.

While the smallest Audi in the family proves to be a good everyday companion, it's when you fully exploit its capabilities that it reveals its true character. A firm press on the gas pedal and the S3 takes off with restrained aggression. Using the Auto mode of the Audi Drive Select system, which automatically adjusts driving settings, every acceleration is a demonstration of controlled power.

2025 Audi S3 Sportback, from above
2025 Audi S3 Sportback, from above | Photo: Audi

During a test drive on the Autobahn, we were able to push the S3 even further. Accelerating effortlessly from 160 km/h to 220-230 km/h, the car still seemed to have a lot to offer, without showing the slightest sign of fatigue. It was impressive and very enjoyable.

This Audi Drive Select system offers six driving modes, providing a full spectrum of experiences - from comfort to intense dynamism. With the new Dynamic Plus mode, the car takes this dynamic experience even further. In sporty driving, the system directs as much torque as possible to the rear axle, favoring the outside wheel in bends for controlled oversteer. Dynamic Plus mode also sharpens the engine's idle speed, set at 1,300 RPM, and refines throttle response for enhanced responsiveness.

Every interaction with the gas pedal is direct, almost instantaneous, while the gearbox contributes to these dynamics with later shifts and earlier downshifts.

To drive the 2025 Audi S3 is to experience a symphony of performance in which every component plays its part to perfection, transforming every drive into a truly memorable experience.

2025 Audi S3, three-quarters rear
2025 Audi S3, three-quarters rear | Photo: Audi

2025 Audi S3 pricing in Canada

Canadian prices for the model have not yet been released.

Frequently asked questions about the 2025 Audi S3

What are the main new features of the 2025 Audi S3 compared to previous models?
The 2025 Audi S3 features several improvements, including a more powerful 2.0 TFSI turbo engine with 333 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. It also incorporates a torque split system, as well as updates to the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

What driving modes are available on the 2025 Audi S3?
The 2025 Audi S3 offers the Audi Drive Select system with six driving modes: Auto, Comfort, Dynamic, Individual, Efficiency, and the new Dynamic Plus mode. Each mode adjusts various vehicle parameters to optimize performance and comfort according to the driver's preferences.

Is the 2025 Audi S3 available in sedan and Sportback versions?
Yes, the new S3 is available in two body configurations: the four-door sedan version and the five-door Sportback version.

What are the safety features of the 2025 Audi S3?
The 2025 Audi S3 is equipped with numerous advanced safety technologies, including driver assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control, among others.

2025 Audi S3 Sportback, rear
2025 Audi S3 Sportback, rear |

The final word
The 2025 Audi S3 continues to stand out in the compact sports sedan category, offering a mild but consistent evolution over the outgoing model. Without radically revolutionizing the series, this new generation brings substantial improvements both in terms of performance and on-board technology.

Most of all, the 2025 Audi S3 excels at what it sets out to do: deliver an exciting, dynamic driving experience, while incorporating modern features that meet drivers' expectations today. It doesn't try to be perfect in everything, but excels in its field, guaranteeing that it won't disappoint. That's all there is to it.

Competitors of the 2025 Audi S3

  • - Mercedes-AMG Classe A
  • - BMW M240i
  • - Acura Integra Type S
2025 Audi S3, three-quarters front
2025 Audi S3, three-quarters front | Photo: Audi
2025 Audi S3, rear lights, trunk
2025 Audi S3, rear lights, trunk | Photo: Audi
2025 Audi S3 Sportback, in profile
2025 Audi S3 Sportback, in profile | Photo: Audi
2025 Audi S3, Audi logo in relief on front grille
2025 Audi S3, Audi logo in relief on front grille | Photo: Audi
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada