AUDI wants to build a reputation as a well-known prestige brand and the S3 typifies its approach. It is an expensive, lavishly equipped hot hatch. The price makes it an exclusive proposition, but that is exactly what Audi believes S3 customers want. Its closest competitors are the Volkswagen Golf R32, BMW 130i and Alfa Romeo 147 GTA – also pricey, boutique high-performance models that are expected to find only a few buyers. The new S3 is nearly $2000 cheaper than the outgoing model and is no longer the most expensive A3 – unlike the first-generation S3 (which was $20,000 more than the next model down, the A3 1.8T). The S3 is the same price as the A3 3.2 quattro S tronic.

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