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A3 1.2 TSI -v- S3: comparing the bottom and top of the range!

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Ben H, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Ben H
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    Ben H On a journey...

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    I had been hoping for at least an R8 as a courtesy car when dropping my S3 S-Tronic off for a service at Bristol Audi this morning. So my heart sank a little as I was handed the handed the keys to a 1.2 SE S-Tronic. ;) Boasting 104bhp / 129 lb.ft to my S3's 300+ of each, the A3 was going to be an "interesting" way to spend the 85-mile round trip I had in mind to a nice town for lunch with the wife.

    Today's exam question was therefore to be: how does the almost bottom-of-the-range A3 (£19k) compare to the almost top-of-the-range S3 (£34k)? Does a third of the power and a lot less cash dilute the experience?

    A3 Sportback 1.2 TSI SE S-Tronic

    [​IMG]

    S3 Sportback S-Tronic

    [​IMG]

    Thigns got off to a good start once the service lady gave my 2 year old daughter a choc chip biscuit - can't beat Audi service. :)

    Opening the door to the Deep Sea Blue A3, I noticed a nice coffee stain to the cat-sick colour interior... don't even think of this interior colour option if you have a family. SE spec and the Comfort Pack meant at least an armrest and a few bits of kit (like rain and parking sensors) that my S3 doesn't have. The cloth interior, stereo and door inlays were obvious downgrades to the interior - but the overall effect wasn't too bad.

    Starting up the engine and selecting gear through the familiar S-Tronic lever, things started feeling good. The 1.2 may only have 104bhp, but with 7 gears to choose from it is always in a smooth and reasonably torquey spot - it's so good that I had to check that I didn't have the 125bhp 1.4 in the paperwork! It's clearly no ball of fire, but I'd say that this is possibly one of the best matched engine and drivetrain combination that I have driven (feels made for S-Tronic more than my S3's engine).

    Part of this was because I was driving smoothly for the day, but it really excelled in the zone of 20% effort for everyday driving. The ride quality on SE suspension was quite nice after owning an S-Line and S3, although it clearly lacked grip and poise compared to my quattro cars. It was also a bit of a surprise to experience wheelspin a few times - quattro makes a real difference even in the dry!

    Overall average fuel consumption for the day was 43.2mpg, compared to about 32mpg that I would have got from the S3 driving in a similar style. This isn't amazingly better than the S3 (which is running AWD too), but I think you'd need to be averaging 47mpg in a TDI to gain any cost advantage over the 1.2. This is something to really think about if you are looking at TDI's, as the 1.2 TSI felt a lot smoother than my own experience of VAG diesels.

    Getting back into my shiny and freshly serviced S3 at the end of the day, it was nice to be welcomed back to the comforts of leather, Bose sound, RNSE and back-lit display - but I'd certainly consider the 1.2 TSI as an alternative to a TDI or as a car for essential family needs.

    Overall, the 1.2 TSI is a real peach of an engine and very well-matched to 7-speed S-Tronic transmission. SE spec is comfortable and good value at the price, meaning that you get a good-looking and reasonably equipped car. Is it as good as an S3? Obviously not, but it's surprising how three times the power doesn't feel like three times the power...but also that you don't get three times the fuel economy in a 1.2!
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  2. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Interesting read!

    Funny isn't it, you say 300bhp and think that's mega power, but it's not. It must be something to do with air resistance in some part as it took Bugatti 200 extra BHP to get another 12mph of speed from the Supersport Veyron.

    Good to know if times are hard or circumstances change, the 1.2 isnt so poor that driving it would leave you wanting to auto-asphyxiate on the jacket hanger to get some thrills in it!
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  3. Ben H
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    Ben H On a journey...

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    Forgot to add that the 1.2 has a stop / start system, which includes a "coasting" mode, which turns the engine off as you are moving!!

    With all that efficiency kit, there is no way that I could have got more than the c.43mpg I did today. Interestingly, the DIS recorded a lifetime average of 34.5mpg - seems a bit low, even for a courtesy car!!
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  4. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You've just made me love the S3 even more. I'd be mortified if I bought that car for economy and got 34.5mpg I'd want a refund!
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  5. Farhan
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    Farhan Active Member

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    Try driving my courtesy car

    its a 1.2 3 Cylinder 59BHP polo.....

    Averages around 38mpg....And before someone blames my driving i have to boot it a bit to move any where....
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  6. Harrelson
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    Harrelson Member

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    Interesting read.

    Personally i don't mind small engines as long as they are torquey, makes a hell of a difference to day to day driving. Weak, laggy, lethargic engines will get you killed at junctions, roundabouts and when overtaking that tractor on a country lane.

    I would like to see such an engine mated to three turbos like BM's new tri turbo diesel. That would be fun
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  7. RedDejavu
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    RedDejavu Well-Known Member

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    especially when it comes to replace 3 turbos at the same time;)
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  8. lil_coz
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    lil_coz Active Member

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    Nice write up! Interesting read that.

    On the MPG front, I can think of a couple of reasons why the MPG is so low. Firstly it's a courtesy car, and it won't exactly be driven like a Prius driver with tree stickers on the back bumper. Also, because you've come out of your S3 and into that, you get used to a certain type of acceleration. So you give it a bit more throttle to get it there without you noticing. It's like when they had the Prius hammering it round the TG track and they had an M3 just keeping up with it and the M3 done more MPG.

    If that car was bought by someone because if economy, they'd drive it in a more economical way. So I recon the average MPG would be a bit higher. It still won't be 3 times more economical than the S3 mind!
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  9. loudchris53
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    loudchris53 Member

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    I had an a1 with that engine as a courtesy car and it only had 85 hp and felt like it needed a bit more but was a really nice little engine what i would call happy :) Just a shame it runs out of revs so early but i suppose with an s tronic that doesn't matter but i had a 5 speed manual

    Chris
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  10. S3RYE
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    S3RYE Interior Next!!

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    i have a 1.4TFSI A1 at the moment with 122bhp (courtesy car). Its a cracking engine for a little car. Feels a lot better than 122bhp too! Audi really have made a great little car in with the A1. Shame they are so expensive! just built one on the configurator and it came out at nearly 30k! :scared2:
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  11. lil_coz
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    lil_coz Active Member

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    You need to sort out the typo mate. You accidently put 30k.



    That's insane!!!
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  12. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    New LHD A1 Quattro 2.0TFSi 252PS is likely to be £40k. 33 of the 300(?) are supposedly coming to the UK but will be sold 'immediately'..... That power in an A1 Quattro (which is going to be proper Quattro, not Haldex so rumour has it). I've just had a pant accident.

    [​IMG]
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  13. S3RYE
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    S3RYE Interior Next!!

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    tell me bout it! it did have 9k of extras though!! including the "super sports seats" which do look the part and the 1.4TFSI 185bhp which must go like stink to be fair! i cant imagine what the 2.0TFSI is going to be like. RIDICULOUS!

    that car looks so bloody cool! shame its going to be such limited run! :nunu:
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  14. lil_coz
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    lil_coz Active Member

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    Even though that A1 Quattro is a nice/mean looking little rocket, it's still an A1!! There's a lot more other metal on my list above the A1 that I would spend 40k on! I couldn't justify spending 40k on an S3/RS3, let alone an A1! lol
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  15. S3RYE
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    S3RYE Interior Next!!

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    totally agreee. :o.k:

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  16. plezz
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    plezz Member

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    i agree, for 40k you could probably get a nicely kitted out A5, and still have some left over.

    or how much does a second hand R8 go for these days?

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  17. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  18. S3RYE
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    S3RYE Interior Next!!

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  19. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is a cat D with 11k miles in custom Lambo orange for £45k, but I don't fancy a cat D R8. I'd would need to be a minter with less than 30k miles on the clock, subtle colour with nice coloured 'ears' (scoops). But on my salary now I'm dreaming!
    #19
  20. N8
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    N8 Kowalski Details

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    Good read Ben, but the overall customer service @ Bristol Audi is shocking! Hence I love living up North with the friendly northerners. Mind you, Manchester Audi isn't much better :laugh:
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  21. S3RYE
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    S3RYE Interior Next!!

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    thats a nice R8 that. Shame some pleb crashed it! would be worth a fortune still!

    yeh, i think id have to have a V10 one too tbh. Especially after seein your vid from Goodwood FOS!
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  22. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Mate it was just the bomb, even the missus who was in the one ahead of us said "that makes our S3 feel dog slow" and it did.

    The sound was awesome and those drivers are fearless. Her driver was one of the Audi Le Mans winners Marco Werner, and I had Jochi Kleint who has driven in rallying for VW / Opel for since the 80's. Make you see how quick a fast car really is when it's driven properly! I suppose they put proper drivers at the wheel as they can't be nailing customers into the ground when they have outstanding finance on S3's!
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  23. AidenUK
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    AidenUK Active Member

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  24. Ben H
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    Ben H On a journey...

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    Well, I think I really was driving it slow and smooth (20% effort, as I said - chasing the DIS best average!).

    I looked up the official EU MPG figures and was shocked to see that it was 43/51/62 on the urban/combined/out-of-town cycles. I know those numbers are always rubbish and that my 43mpg average for the day was still good even compared to a TDI - but I could only achieve the "urban" economy level on a run, whereas an S3 will get the "average" figure quite easily on a run.

    I think the 1.2 TFSI is far from alone in being hard to get to the more recent quoted average EU test figures. Goes to show that you need to be careful when making calculations about fuel costs when you haven't driven the car you're thinking of!

    P.S. I noticed that the car was actually Scuba Blue - not Deep Sea Blue!
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
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  25. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    Well said, what a bunch of clowns, who ever buys a car from there needs running over with their newly purchased s***tter

    Funny that this thread has appeared, today i dropped off my red S3 (clutch) for a nice 1.4 TFSI S line - cant wait to get mine back though, this things doing my nut in, it wheel spins too easy.... i've hardly ragged it as it depresses me that it doesn't go anywhere!! yet i've still experienced wheel spin - furked if i know. The only thing its succeeded in doing is showing me the nice chrome now placed on the mirror switch, the new door handles/mirrors and how a skinny nob feels under hand (I really hadn't experienced that before! ;) )
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  26. Cheese
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    Cheese Member

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    Stick with an S3. This new model only has a claimed 0-62 of 5.7:
    Audi to launch A1 Quattro with 252PS - Top Speed India

    It will be Haldex (1) because of what is said in that article and (2) because the engine will have to be transversely mounted to fit in to that tiny car (as with all current A1s and A3s). The 'true quattro' requires a longitudinally mounted engine if my understanding is correct.
    #26

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