I thought I would conduct a review on my 57 plate Audi S3. I took delivery of it last week and the long wait was well worth it! Having parted with a 56 plate VW Golf R32, matching performance and build quality were sure to be tested. Firstly, the image. Subtle, sheep in wolfs clothing, understated would sum it up! A lovely looking car, unique brushed aluminium door mirrors which are associated with the S range and a deep front bumper and rear diffuser set it apart from the similar looking S-Line models. It sits lower than its counter parts and as in my colour choice (phantom black) the chrome and black work very well together and was the reason I chose this colour. 18 Alloys blend in nicely with huge brake discs and black painted callipers showing the S3 logo. I would have preferred say the blue like on the R32 or even red as the black is lost behind the wheels! A fairly decent size boot is available, however I miss the pockets and extra storage which my Golf gave me. Xenon plus discharge headlamps are superb and they are also self levelling. The interior is near as damn it identical to the rest of the range. The odd S3 logo pops up here and there and my choice of two tone embossed silk nappa leather seats bring a bit of colour to the interior. I chose aluminium trim as opposed to the piano black which can mark easily. The flat bottom steering wheel, similar to that from the RS4 looks fantastic and has a superb feel. Its a good size and the flat bottom really is a nice touch when cornering! Build quality of the interior is far better than my Golf was. My R32 had rattles everywhere, where as the S3 is so quiet, its hard to tell the engine is running when stationary! The cabin in my opinion could have been a bit sportier compared to the rest of the range, however it is very well put together and a very nice place to be. I opted for Bose Sound and was not disappointed. This optional extra provides excellent sound and the Bose embossed chrome speaker look nice in the doors. The S3 only came with a manual 2.0L and I was undecided as to whether I would get on with this, after having the superb DSG box from the Golf. Im still not the smoothest of drivers at the moment when it comes to the gear change, but I put that down to the lazy previous year I had with the DSG. The gearbox itself is the smoothest I have ever experienced. Its very positive and smooth when putting it in gear and the feel is superb. Obviously slower than a DSG, but it makes you feel more part of the car! Once on the move, this is a blisteringly fast 3 door! Previous to my R32, I had Subarus and this was my benchmark on performance comparison. Well, i was not disappointed. The S3 flys Im telling you. 062 in 5.7secs and a Ltd top end of 155mph. Sure there are faster cars out there, but in similar price range, they lack the build quality, prestige and comfort that the S3 offers. It shares the VW Golf GTis 2.0L TFSI powerplant, however it has been hiked from 200PS to 265PS. This was all done by strengthening con rods, a more robust small and big end bearings, while the crankcase is stiffer and the cylinder head is cast from an alloy with high heat resistance. It boasts a larger turbo and produces 1.2bar of boost. The intercooler has been modified to increase cooling capacity and the exhaust camshaft has different timing, to compliment the larger fuel injectors. A whopping 350Nm of torque is available from 2500 5000rpm with 3rd gear being amazing! Without going on too much about the engine spec, acceleration is impressive. A very audible noise from the turbo can be heard on acceleration with the odd chatter from the waste gate on lift off. The Haldex System 4WD works well, however the S3 is primarily a front-driver. I havent pushed it yet, but the traction is reported to be outstanding, especially in the wet! Fuel consumption is better than the V6 R32. I achieve anything from 30-35mpg on motorways which is very good. You can however get this down to the low 20s when having one of those moments and enjoying the performance! Steering is very light, infact too light really and lacks the feedback which I got with the R32. The R32 steering however was rubbish at low speed and it visited the garage on a few occasions to get checked out! I do prefer the S3 steering but it could have been weighted up a bit more a higher speeds! This steering, combined with the Audi's firm suspension, makes it a hard ride round the back roads. Although its fine on motorways, the R32 gave a better ride and I much preferred that. Im sure the S3 is better on track for instance, but for everyday use, the suspension is a bit too firm for me. (Fortunately the seats are very comfortable) Having had performance cars pretty much all my life and ones which look like they are handy, having the S3 almost wants me to shout out and tell everyone what this thing can really do! I sit at traffic lights and in traffic cues and it does get alot of looks, but to the untrained eye, it looks just like a standard A3. Some like this inconspicuous look, I do once I have shown someone up, but I would have preferred Audi to do a bit more in distinguishing the S3 from the rest! In summary, opt for the S3 and you get plenty of kit as standard. The high price tag is in part due to the costly four-wheel-drive system, while the prestige image and impeccable build quality also count for a lot. If you want performance and performance alone, there are cheaper cars which will offer this. If you however want performance, image and status, then the S3 fills these criteria. A lower tax band and slightly cheaper insurance than the R32, better fuel economy and a more rewarding drive summarise the enjoyment I get.