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Thread: Audi S3 8P versus BMW E46 M3?

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    Audi S3 8P versus BMW E46 M3?

    Hi just wondering if anyone has owned both these cars and what they think about the performance of the two. I was always a bmw person and was aiming for the new 330 convertible, bought an A3, then bought an e46 m3 convertible but didnt have it long cos i loved the audi more. Got rid of the m3 (sport button was fantastic though!) and now iv bought an s3 instead. I dont give bmw's a second glance anymore, iv converted from the dark side!

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    Driven the M3 E46, superb. Considered one instead of the S3.
    IMO its just too dated, in and out, no warranty etc so the S3 is the better for ownership proposition as a daily driver.
    The M3 is more of a blast to drive I reckon.
    FWIW you bought the right car
    Had mine for 3 year and still think its excellent.

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    as above - only had a very short go in an E46 M3 and loved every minute of it, but on balance the S3 is a better proposition, particularly if you don't live at the Nurburgring.
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    you will probably find the M3 is a lot more rapid and sounds a lot better due to its 3.2 straight 6, but stick a re-map & at least a cat-back milltek exhaust and it will transform the S3 in to a much more capable and comparable car
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    ive driven both... obviously i own an S3 and my mates had two M3's now....(E46 variant) all i can say is... on a track id rather be in the M3... its just a better drivers car ADL... no question about it.. But as Paul said.. as a daily motor your S3 is a win win situation .. M3 running costs are higher, not petrol but general servicing, tyres, oil changes, especially if your taking it to BM's or a specialist... not to mention the really are looking dated... i love M3's & id change to one in an instant but only for an E90... they are just fantastic cars... and worth the sacrafice of the interior IMHO
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    i was just on auto trader and e46's are really cheep now! i remember 10 months ago when i was looking for my S3 prices for the e46 were slightly higher, now looks like the market has dropped out of them, am really shocked!
    the E90 is a totally different animal, personally i think they are stunning both inside and out and would have one in a heart beat if i could afford one! been in a 650hp g-power supercharged one and its just ridiculous the way it shifts!
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    I have! I owned an E46 M3 (with SMG II) for 2 years and an S3 for around 16 months. Quite different cars and both very capable. For me personally, I grew tired of the S3 very quickly and ultimately found it a little numb and boring; I didn't get excited when I turned the key after a few months, whereas the M3's engine always made me smile. And the noise...! :o) To me, the S3 wasn't special enough and was a machine that did a job (but did it well). The M3 was a car that could be enjoyed more when you were in the mood! However, the Haldex did make for "safer" driving, as the M3 could be a handful! Have even seen the new V8 M3s below 30K now, although I think the E46 is a better car overall, but as posted is dated now...

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    I am not knocking some of the BMW's virtues but as a proposition would go Audi every time. BMW's are common as muck and the Build Quality especially the interior is really naff. Also many drivers still hate the BMW image.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    BMW's are common as muck
    i wasn't aware the 8P was so exclusive...

    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    Also many drivers still hate the BMW image.
    i get the feeling that they hate Audi drivers just as much nowadays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    I am not knocking some of the BMW's virtues but as a proposition would go Audi every time. BMW's are common as muck and the Build Quality especially the interior is really naff. Also many drivers still hate the BMW image.
    Not going to get into a slanging match re which car is more "popular", however, I would say that Audi's market share has increased dramatically in the last 18 months. Additionally, they seem to have products that cover every single niche. Or if there isn't a niche, they create one and then a product to fill it. That maybe viewed as a successful company maintaining their commercial edge though. But I have to agree and say yes, BMWs are not exclusive, but then neither are Audis anymore.

    But... Having owned a couple of Audis, including the famed S3, I would say that, in my experience, the build quality was worse than any of (or my current) BMW(s). Both my S3 and the A3 before squeaked, creaked and rattled like a train, with both having the same noise issues in the same areas; not what you expect from a 30K+ premium car. They both spent a lot of time at the dealers (A3 over 9 visits for same problem) with them attempting to fix the issues: replace rear seat belt holders; replace both door seals (repeatedly on both cars); electrics failure re central locking, door mirrors, lights; drivers door not aligned correctly; poor paint finish; it goes on. Maybe I was unlucky, but it was enough to return to BMW where I did (and do) not experience such quality issues.

    I hope the even more expensive RS3 isn't the same and inherits the problems that it seems all A3's have!
    Last edited by a3norwich; 15th January 2011 at 12:35.

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    The Interior of BMW 1 and 3 series is seriously plasticy and tacky I think.

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    Ta for that. The m3 i had was an 03 and it did feel quite dated, it squeaked n rattled, plus it was a convertible and it leaked. I just felt it had the potential for something major to go wrong with it being the kind of car it was and its age and if something went wrong with it itd be VERY expensive. I loved the performance though.

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    i had an 04 e46 m3 in phoenix yellow before i bought my s3.i was torn between the 2 at first but decided to go for the m3.kept it a year then got the s3.probably due to the good/bad opinions on the colour,running costs and the fact that its completely useless in the slightest bit of snow and i live in a hilly area.
    i did love the car tho.performance wise i dont think theres much in it driving round the streets.obviously on the track it'd be a lot faster than the standard s3.i do miss the noise and the drama of it tho.thats what is missing with the s3 but its probably a batter car to drive around town in.the smg did my head in at times.
    i think if i had it in grey i may have kept it and put up with the costs for a bit longer but i always thought it was a financial time bomb waiting to go off!
    i thought the build quality was similar atho theres a few thingS on the audi that werent thought aS well but no complaints on the BM
    would love another m3 (e90) but no way ill be able to afford it
    happy with the s3 for now :-)

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    E90's going for 25k upwards now...... it's just running the damned things!! lovely cars externally
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    Well put nealjohns about the financial timebomb waiting to go off. That was it in a nutshell for me. Im hoping i love the s3 more. Its coming tue or wed

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    you will love the S3, and once its remapped it will be as quick/faster than an E46 M3 ive had a manys 1v1's with M3's, never lost at lower speeds... cant say actual speed. The M3 DOES pull away from the S3 but only at ridiculous speeds

    i dont think BM's build quality is as good as Audi, well my mate M3's roof leaked. saying that i have zero experience of Audi convertibles
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    Quote Originally Posted by S3RYE View Post
    you will love the S3, and once its remapped it will be as quick/faster than an E46 M3 ive had a manys 1v1's with M3's, never lost at lower speeds... cant say actual speed. The M3 DOES pull away from the S3 but only at ridiculous speeds

    i dont think BM's build quality is as good as Audi, well my mate M3's roof leaked. saying that i have zero experience of Audi convertibles

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    well i know its not a S3 but my mate got a b7 rs4 avant a little while back and the next day his m3 was up for sale as the audi is a much better car coming from a guy who loves bmw's lol so i imagine the S3 would be the same sort of thing a much better car on the whole as said on a track yes the m3 is better but day to day living the audi wins for me everytime
    ​She is back on the road yay!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by S3RYE View Post
    never lost at lower speeds... cant say actual speed. The M3 DOES pull away from the S3 but only at ridiculous speeds
    ... course you can because im sure it was either on a track, private road or on the autobhan
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    Quote Originally Posted by jungleman View Post
    ... course you can because im sure it was either on a track, private road or on the autobhan

    I'd say private roads it happend on
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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    The Interior of BMW 1 and 3 series is seriously plasticy and tacky I think.
    agreed they do look cheap compaired to the a3/s3 or any audi for that matter
    ​She is back on the road yay!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    The Interior of BMW 1 and 3 series is seriously plasticy and tacky I think.
    1 series yes, yuk; 3 series disagree. And my 3 series interior doesn't squeak/rattle/creak like both of my A3/S3 interiors did!
    Last edited by a3norwich; 15th January 2011 at 23:26.

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    Just get one of each.

    Seriously though, the S3 is the safe in all weather, nicer interior, cheaper to run. The M3 is faster, much more responsive and more engaging to drive, but the interior is slightly (and I mean slightly) less modern than the S3 and I expect it will be shocking in the snow!

    The M3 for me, the S3 for the little lady, although she now tells me she wants something bigger, so it may be an B7 S4 soon and lose the S3 for good.
    Last edited by beanoir; 15th January 2011 at 23:53.
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    a before b bmw always taking second place they are admitidly a thrill to drive but the m3 is to be fair to be compared to the rs4 and it is pants compared to that a3 s3 rs3 is the one series in comparison so even if bmw thinks they whip s3 they pickin on the smaller kid the phrase take on something your own size ie rs4 and prepared to be spanked every which way yeh baby woop woop

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    Audi S3 8P versus BMW E46 M3? remapped S3 be quicker me thinks

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    Quote Originally Posted by a3norwich View Post
    1 series yes, yuk; 3 series disagree. And my 3 series interior doesn't squeak/rattle/creak like both of my A3/S3 interiors did!
    The last 3 series I looked at was a 2008 58 330d M Sport Touring and it was horrible... Plasticky cheap looking and the Alcantara seats in the one we travelled in were like an old Granny's Nightie ... I think... no personal experience with the later ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Butler View Post
    Audi S3 8P versus BMW E46 M3? remapped S3 be quicker me thinks
    No chance, having both of the above I guarantee the M3 is still significantly quicker.
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    Really? I find that hard to imagine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by N8 View Post
    Really? I find that hard to imagine!
    Try harder then
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    No chance, having both of the above I guarantee the M3 is still significantly quicker.
    Stage 2 is an easy match if not a bit quicker, and Stage2+ is comfortably ahead, seen it at Crail with my own eyes, with different S3s running different software/hardware, also and been in /driven both flat out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by N8 View Post
    Really? I find that hard to imagine!
    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    Try harder then


    Beanoir do you have any photos of your M3?
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    Quote Originally Posted by akash_sky1 View Post
    Stage 2 is an easy match and Stage2+ is faster, seen it at Crail with my own eyes, and been in /driven both flat out.
    Thats a slightly different matter, as stage 2 and 2 plus requires further modifications, you then aren't comparing apples with apples, so it's a pointless argument.

    An E46 M3 reaches 60mph nearly a second quicker than a stock 8P S3 does, now a stage 1 map with no other mods does not enhance the S3 enough to make it that much faster. You haven't even shown it corners, bends, or the requirement to break and balance, once you do you can wave good bye to the S3. Anybody that believes it does is either delusional or a fanboy.

    I OWN both, and have no bias opinion to either, but I know the capabilities of both.
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    No chance, having both of the above I guarantee the M3 is still significantly quicker.
    odd, ive had a rolling sprint against and M3 and my S3 was quicker, admittedly, the M3 had better response due to its naturally aspirated engine, but i hauled it in very quickly

    this was however a straight line sprint and not a test through the twisty stuff
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    An E46 M3 reaches 60mph nearly a second quicker than a stock 8P S3 does
    5.3 and 5.7?

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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    Thats a slightly different matter, as stage 2 and 2 plus requires further modifications, you then aren't comparing apples with apples, so it's a pointless argument.

    An E46 M3 reaches 60mph nearly a second quicker than a stock 8P S3 does, now a stage 1 map with no other mods does not enhance the S3 enough to make it that much faster. You haven't even shown it corners, bends, or the requirement to break and balance, once you do you can wave good bye to the S3. Anybody that believes it does is either delusional or a fanboy.

    I OWN both, and have no bias opinion to either, but I know the capabilities of both.
    I know but they were talking about a remapped S3...so stage 2 is still a remapped S3, abeit with further mods..
    But of course its not a proper like for like comparison I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by benskin07 View Post


    Beanoir do you have any photos of your M3?
    A few, not great ones mind (waiting for the weather to improve before I get the decent camera out)
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    Quote Originally Posted by akash_sky1 View Post
    I know but they were talking about a remapped S3...so stage 2 is still a remapped S3, abeit with further mods..
    But of course its not a proper like for like comparison I know.
    well put, think my hp & lb/ft figures show that my S3, in a straight line is going to be more then a match for a stock M3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    Thats a slightly different matter, as stage 2 and 2 plus requires further modifications, you then aren't comparing apples with apples, so it's a pointless argument.

    An E46 M3 reaches 60mph nearly a second quicker than a stock 8P S3 does, now a stage 1 map with no other mods does not enhance the S3 enough to make it that much faster. You haven't even shown it corners, bends, or the requirement to break and balance, once you do you can wave good bye to the S3. Anybody that believes it does is either delusional or a fanboy.

    I OWN both, and have no bias opinion to either, but I know the capabilities of both.


    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    A few, not great ones mind (waiting for the weather to improve before I get the decent camera out)
    Will wait to see the decent ones
    Dark Vader Half sibling - MyThread

  40. #39
    paddy's Avatar
    Audi=No fault code, no idea

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    what are we trying to prove here ?? If you tune the Boll"cks of an S3 it is quicker than a stock M3 ? well get away ......lol
    Ibis white Revo S3 and now matching Vivaro LWB HR 2900 :-)

    Many people are alive because its illegal to shoot them.

  41. #40
    beanoir's Avatar
    Sharpest Tongue in the West

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    Quote Originally Posted by paddy View Post
    what are we trying to prove here ?? If you tune the Boll"cks of an S3 it is quicker than a stock M3 ? well get away ......lol
    Exactly.
    Porsche Cayman S |Jeep Grand Cherokee|1988 Ford Fiesta XR2

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