S3 - an ideal tool for trip to Alps - tested
Often it seems that Forums are full of people's problems so I just thought I would pen a quick note detailing how impressed I was with my S3 on last weeks 1600 mile return trip from Norfolk to the French Alps.
After studying the forecast in search of snow I decided late last Sat that a trip to Val d'Isere was on. So quickly booked a ferry, stuffed a bag with ski gear, organised foreign insurance cover and checked car over: including levels increasing tyre pressure to the recommended max to cope with 3 people and all gear and left at 6am for trip to Dover.
The S3 performed brilliantly and was the perfect tool for the job never skipping a beat in its near constant use (approx 11 hours out and 11 back).
It was comfortable, refined and all the gizmos came in very useful:
Quattro - all roads in Val d'Ise were covered in snow and ice so came in very useful, also helping feeling surefooted in the continuous rain on the way back
ESP, Traction, ABS - all were used and very useful and reassuring on very icy roads
Heated seats ---> leather and -10 degrees doesn't go well!!!!
Cruise Control - worked a treat especially on the deserted auto routes
269 BHP and 268 Torques - (thanks to AMD) made progress effortless
Spilt seats - enabled accommodation of 3 pairs of skis, poles, boots and large bags all inside car
I have done the trip numerous times before using my father's S2 and RS2 Avants but these only average approx 18mpg so to use only 260 litres of 98 Ron was a refreshing change, and with careful packing the S3 can cope with all the gear you need.
With the new French strict stance on speed I chose to cruise at a steady 90-99mph on auto routes - instant ban at 100+ according to EVO and friend's experience.
Total trip computer stats: Driving 22h:30 mins, covering 1618 miles at average 72mph and 30.8 mpg.
The car didn't use a drop of oil and thanks to the excellent seats I finished the trip with no back pain (unlike the Impreza I was using last week). What was most pleasing was the computer said it needed a service at 4300 miles prior to leaving and 5100 on return (thanks to the long journey) - so almost free usage!!!
Only problems - car ended up completely filthy and my armrest is now stuck in the up position!