Merely a week’s driving and I have made up my mind that I really, really like the S3. It’s a cheeky little car that tries its darndest best to assume a sportscar personality. It blips and burps its way through the ratios, and really clings on to gears and lets the engine rev as long as it possibly can — it’s almost as if it wants you to ignore its size and take it seriously. Even though it’s essentially a Volkswagen Golf R underneath, the S3 feels so much more characterful than its Wolfsburg cousin.

It is the smallest performance Audi on sale and the moment you step in it’s kind of like stepping into an immaculately produced scale model of a full-blown fast Audi. Everything from the buttons, knobs and even the infotainment screen is like a shrunken version of what you’d find in say, an RS 6. It gives the S3 almost a toy-like feel inside, but one with all the serious intent and performance chops. It gives it this playful persona which eggs you on to drive this car the way it is meant to.

I don’t think I have been in any small fast car recently which has the same tugging-at-the-leash enthusiasm of a playful puppy like the S3 does — I absolutely adore it.
Naturally, that doesn’t mean that it is devoid of flaws — it’s got some turbo lag, for instance. More next week...

 

The progress

Week 1
Audi’s 2017 S3 arrives at wheels HQ, and Arabic editor Fadi is full of praise for the pocket rocket. The new S3 gets sharper styling but retains its 290bhp engine from last year.

Highs: Sprightly performance

Lows: None so far

Week 2
The Audi S3’s cabin is impeccably put together and the materials used inside are of undeniably high quality.

The layout is very, very well thought-out and practical.

Highs: Everything in the cabin lives up to the premium badge on the nose of the S3

Lows: Small boot opening