Compared: 2023 Audi S3 vs. 2023 Audi S4

These luxury sport sedans offer decent fuel economy, traction at all four wheels, and plenty of interior features.

Split-screen image of an Audi S3 in Tango Red atop an Audi S4 in dark grayAudi


It's tough to beat Audi when it comes to all-wheel-drive (AWD) luxury. While A-badged Audis are your basic, well-appointed luxury sedans, S-trim Audis get a performance boost and are a great way to get some go-fast bits combined with stellar features and plenty of cool technology.

The entry points are the 2023 S editions of the subcompact  Audi A3 and compact  A4. While the S3 and S4 offer similar features and interior space, they differ in price, performance, and fuel economy.

Audi S3 in Tango Red, rearAudi

The S3 Starts at a Lower Price Than the S4

Both Audis are available in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels with Quattro AWD standard.

The S3 starts around $48,000 and can climb to almost $55,000 for the top trim. Every S3 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 306 horsepower and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Plus, you need only buy the base model to get a sport suspension, advanced LED headlights, and features like a panoramic moonroof.

The S4 is motivated by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with 349 horsepower. An eight-speed Tiptronic auto box is the only available transmission. Starting price here is around $54,000, while the top trim sits above $62,000. Like the S3, the base S4 comes standard with a sport suspension but adds details like S sport seats with power side bolsters and a massage function. The top S4 Prestige trim adds features unavailable on the S3, such as heated rear seats.

Audi S4 in gray, rearAudi

The S3 and S4's Interior Dimensions Are Closer Than You'd Think

Both Audi sports sedans have seating for five. But at 177 inches, the S3 is more than 10 inches shorter than the S4, with a shorter wheelbase to boot. Both vehicles have similar front and rear legroom, and the S4 bests the S3 in headroom by about half an inch. If cargo space is important to you, the S4's trunk offers 12.0 cubic-feet, which is a step up from the S3's at 8.3 cu-ft.

The bottom two trims on the S3 are similarly equipped with heated front seats and a 10.1-inch infotainment screen standard. The top Prestige trim adds an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, Audi's cool virtual cockpit with navigation, traffic sign recognition, and a head-up display. Nappa leather is only available on the top two trims of the S3, though all trims get leather seating surfaces and heated front seats.

Audi S3 interior in blackAudi

On the larger S4, there are more differences between trims. As in the S3, all S4s get heated front seats and leather seating surfaces. The Premium Plus gets an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, virtual cockpit, and leatherette trim on the center console and armrests.

Go big with the Prestige trim, and you'll add those aforementioned heated rear seats, interior LED lighting, navigation with traffic sign recognition, and a head-up display. If you want to fancy up your S4, a nifty Audi Sport interior adds contrasting red stitching, and carbon trim can be had on the upper two trims. In contrast, a fine nappa leather interior is available on the Prestige trim only.

Audi S4 interior in redAudi

The Smaller S3 Sips Less Fuel Than the S4

High fuel prices might make the Audi S3 more of a draw for some folks. The smaller car is EPA-estimated at 23/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined, while the agency says to expect 2 mpg less across the board for the larger, heavier S4. Still, that's a minor efficiency hit for a sports sedan working with two additional cylinders under the hood.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Emme Hall
Emme Hall loves small convertibles and gets out to the canyons in her 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata whenever she can. You can also find her in the dirt in her lifted (yes, that's right) 2001 Mazda Miata, or racing air-cooled Volkswagens in races like the Baja 1000. She's taken first place twice in the Rebelle Rally — once driving a Jeep Wrangler and then a Rolls-Royce Cullinan the second time. She was also the first driver to take an electric vehicle to the Rebelle Rally when campaigning the Rivian R1T to a top-five finish