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For anyone who used to own an old style s3 and who owns a new style one now..

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Backdrifts, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Backdrifts
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    Backdrifts Member

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    How do you find the new style s3 over the old one? do you think you spent your money wisely or do you wish you'd maybe went for something different altogether?

    Do you find major differences over the new one? Do you think the old one has anything better then the new one?

    Basically I'm just wanting to hear peoples thoughts on the new car, who have been owners of the old car!
    #1
  2. jasaudi
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    jasaudi Member

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    have had both. I started with a 1.8SE and then moved to another car and have susequently bought a 3.2 because the A3 is such a superb car. Would I buy again? yes in an instant
    #2
  3. fraud
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    fraud jamo s3

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    i,ve had both, and i have say i think more time and effort went into designing the old one, this new one is so much like the s.line with a little extra aluminium trim. and the interia squeeks the seats are ***** to move, there is polystyrene in the door near the hinge. the brakes are better on the new one, i think the haldex comes in a bit late on the 8p you can hear it wheel spin in first and second. also the suspension and handling aren,t up to much on the new one. apart from that it,s nice and smooth daily drive if you don,t give it to much abuse.golf r32 is deffo worth considering if you looking at the s3. the s3 needs some mods to get it up to a good standard in my opinion.
    #3
  4. Backdrifts
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    Backdrifts Member

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    So do you think the new one handles worse then the old one? I dont the the old one handles very well on a stock set-up, it rolls about all over the place. Also the breaks are terrible, are the breaks on the new s3 any better?
    #4
  5. s3mike
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    s3mike Member

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    I didn't have the old one but Autocar and Evo who have both done extensive road tests of the S3 rate the handling way above the R32.

    They say the R32 understeers like mad due to the heavy engine and you cannot do anything to stop it, in the S3 a quick lift of the throttle does the trick.

    Every car I buy seems to be rated highly by magazines but as soon as you join a forum everyone complains the handling in rubbish.

    Hmm...
    #5
  6. Backdrifts
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    Backdrifts Member

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    I agree to a point, but maybe thats the difference between test driving one, and having one as your every day car. I test drove one and quite liked it, the steering felt much lighter, the car felt more throttle responsive and it felt like it had much more torque.

    I didn't really get a chance to throw it round a around about or anything, or break from a high speed down to zero really quickly.

    I'm surprised by the lack of replys really, i thought there would be more former old s3 owners who now own a new shape one, maybe that says a more about the new car.
    #6
  7. hfu
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    hfu Member

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    Yes I had the old one, and liked it a lot, and I spent weeks wondering if there was any point in getting another, new S3.
    And safe to say, it's a decision I don't regret, not one bit.

    The new model is a brilliant car, and improves on the old in almost every aspect;

    - its a lot quicker - power feeds in quicker from lower revs, and turbo lag is almost non existent. Power delivery was lumpy in the old model I thought.

    - all the controls, gears, handbrake feel more suitably positioned and better laid out. It just feels more comfortable to sit in and drive.

    - the gear shift, clutch and handbrake are all lighter to use (missus was always complaining about the old ones)

    - the engine sounds awesome - far better than previous model - instead of the common 1.8T whining it now growls, a lovely bassy burble comes out the exhaust

    - rear seats don't fold flat now, almost but they don't quite fall flat - bit strange actually

    - i only have one reversing light - again strange - maybe I should get this checked out!

    - the speedometer reads up to 180MPH! lol ;-)
    #7
  8. hallster
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    hallster Member

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    Never had the old S3 so can't comment on that...

    Had the new style S3 for a good couple of months now and I still love it. I've no complaints about the handling - it responds well enough when you go for a good thrash and throw it round the corners, but is a nice relaxed drive day to day if you want. I've found the interior and build quality to be really good so far (touch wood) so no complaints all round.
    #8
  9. JohnS3
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    JohnS3 Active Member

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    Well I've had both, I was hoping for flared arches and electric recaros on the 8P. Sadly it had neither, but I still ordered one. One of the first things I noticed about the 8P was the ride quality, it's far more refined over the bumpy bits, yet still hang on in the corners far better than the 8L did. The engine/exhaust noise is just superb. The styling is quite subtle, which is not a bad thing as it doesn't stand out in a crowd. The car has grown up a lot, I for one am very pleased with mine.
    #9
  10. JohnS3
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    JohnS3 Active Member

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    It's normal, the light on the other side is the rear fog light.
    #10
  11. jamiekip
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    jamiekip Guest

    As John said above, I had the old one and moved straight up in to the new S3.
    I too was gutted about the lack of flared arches, losing the electric seats, but having run the car for over 6 months now, it's clear Audi invested their time, R&D and investment in making the new S3 become more of a 'drivers' car. OK, it's never going to be as raw as an R26, so it's refined and compliant when cruising, but show it your favourite twisty B road and it comes alive, staying flat in corners, the haldex adjusting far quicker and more discreetly offering more gripp than you thought it would.
    Where the old car was a bit numb and understeery, the new car is involving, more feelsome and adjustable. The brakes are far less grabby than the old cars and will sustain prolonged abuse (a track day at Mallory Park is tribute to that!). What I'm saying is, the car drives better, far better and in hindsight i'm happy Audi focussed their attention on the way the car drives than the flared arches that would no doubt cost a fortune in machining costs.

    The interior personally is a bit of a let down compared to the old car. The seats aren't as good (am I the only one that really misses the extendable leg supports). Some of the plastics 'appear' to look lower quality (though to the touch they do feel of high quality). I'd recommend things like the interior light pack, flat bottomed steering wheel and electric lumbar support to help add something special to the interior - even the buckets if your budget stretches, though I presonlly think they are more suited to not doing long runs.

    Overall it's a really good car, and I think most mag reviews second that, just pulling it down due to the price, which let's be honest with some people saying 5-7% diiscounts are around on S3's and a new R32 not coming with a lot of the luxuries of the S3 (Full leather option on a R32 is £1600 for example!) I don't think it is that unreasonable!

    The old S3 was a great car, I loved it, but the new car has exceeded my expectations. Take one out for a drive, and if your seriously interested ask if you can schedule taking it for a few hours so you can point it down that favourite B road of yours and see for yourself. Trust me, you won't be dissapointed.... I wasn't!

    Let us know what you do.
    #11
  12. Kris
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    Kris Member

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    Think i did it the other way round (not the rubbish bit though). Hung my nose over one so read reviews on motoring web sites. I read the S3 suffered from turbo lag, poor/light steering, over priced, dosen't handle as well as blah blah blah etc. I took one out for a long test drive with a few straights and a lot of bends, i also drove it on bumpy/poor roads. Ragged the asre off the car (16.9 mpg !!), came back with a big smile on my facing and ordered one. Bad press was rubbish !

    :thumbsup:
    #12
  13. Power_Junkie
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    Power_Junkie Member

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    I took one for a test drive on saturday, and came out with it on order "also Spirit blue" the handling reminded me of the 911 C4s in the way of its body control, I also found it sits into corners very nicely,
    I cant wait for it to arrive now.
    #13
  14. siu00adg
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    siu00adg Member

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    I ordered the buckets, they look totally awesome, and are very comfortable on long journeys, more so than my old 2.0FSI A3's standard seats. You do have to be skinny though, a 120kg friend of mine struggled to fit in them!
    #14
  15. JamS3
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    JamS3 Active Member

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    Had 2 old ones and a new one now and in every respect it beats the old one I totally echo hfu's and John S3's comments above.

    As for the handling being better on the old one I do not agree with that the new one eclipses the old in every aspect.

    I dont think some people have actually looked what the new S3 has beaten around the EVO magazine track, have a look in every issue it is near the back with a 2 page spread showing the track in map form and where each car came in a table.

    Why oh why does everyone moan when they say the styling is subtle and no where near like the old S3?

    The new one has the exact number of external styling differences over the old S3 MINUS the front flared arches!

    New front end like the old one
    Side skirts (old one had grey trim running on the door ala s line)
    Silver mirrors (some old S3's these were optional)
    Roof spoiler
    Different rear end inc diffuser which old one didn't have.

    If you put a 8L A3 next to a 8L S3 and a 8P A3 and a 8P S3 next to each other the newer S3 looks more different to the base model to the 8L S3.

    People seem to think just because the front arches are not flared its not much different! To me there is a massive difference, like comparing a Focus ST to a normal one!
    #15
  16. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    I've had both. S3 8L for 5 years, and S3 8P now reaching 5000 miles since April.

    The old S3 will always be close to my heart. The styling, the interior, and they still turn my head today. Whenever I see one, I always give the owner a thumbs up.

    It was a tough decision going for the new S3, until I test drove it. Decision made. The engine, the steering and the brakes are superb.

    Comparing the two. I'm not convinced about the S3 8P's handling. It *is* like others have said much more compliant over the bumps - at normal speeds. On a country road, I found the S3 8L more "chuckable". A bit more nimble. In the S3 8P you can feel its a bigger shape and slightly heavier. The 8P does feel like it has a bit of body-roll though, can't say if more or less than 8L. But given the extra power and the better brakes, the S3 8P would be quicker I think.

    The major thorn in the side of enjoyment, for me, is the fuel economy of the S3 8P. It guzzles it! I've therefore found myself being much more consious of economy, and no longer drive that fast. Where as in my S3 8L, it was pretty much full throttle acceleration most of the time. Which brings me on to...

    Clutch and gearbox. I just cannot get used to the clutch in the S3 8P. Its very light and I just cannot find that sweet-spot for launching off quickly. Also, setting off normally, I cannot find that balance of clutch-slip and throttle, in order to set off without the car bogging down slightly.

    Gearbox, is now feeling a notchy, 1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd. And because the change isn't smooth and slick, it slows your progress.

    I've got mixed feelings about whether I got the right car. For me, the clutch, gearbox and fuel economy is spoiling the party a bit.

    AL
    #16
  17. mitch78
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    mitch78 Active Member

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    :thumbsup:
    #17
  18. JohnS3
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    JohnS3 Active Member

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    Thats a lot of miles, what do you do to run up that kind of mileage?
    #18
  19. mitch78
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    mitch78 Active Member

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    :thumbsup:
    #19
  20. Spook
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    Spook Member

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    I know exactly where you're coming from, Al. I've had my new S3 since July, but I still pine for my 8L S3, which was a faithful friend for over 6 years. I was gutted as I saw it drive away for the last time, but consoled myself with the thought of the new S3 that was to come. Sadly, I'm also now beginning to wonder whether I got the right car :sorry: .

    Hard to put my finger on the reason, but I think EVO probably got it right when they said that the new S3 only feels special when it is pushed to its limits. This disappoints me, as my daily commute does not give me much opportunity to drive any car to its limits. Call me fussy, but I want a car that cost me over £31k of my own money to feel special without having to drive it like Colin McRae (God rest his soul).

    I have now reached the point where I am considering an option I looked at 18 months ago and dismissed in favour of waiting for the new S3 to come out: a Golf R32. It might not have the ultimate abilities of the S3, but it's not far off, and the reports I have read says that it is an entertaining drive even when cruising; something that sadly cannot be said for the S3, as good as it is in so many other respects.

    Anyone else feel the same?
    #20
  21. consilio
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    consilio Up the owls!

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    Sorry spook but I have to disagree there with the reports you have read. I took an R32 out for a spin and thought it was the most boring drive i've experienced since my 1.1 Saxo. I currently drive a Peugeot 206 Gti 180 and i'd rather keep the Pug thanks very much.

    Shortly afterwards I took an S3 out and its a totally different car, far far better than the R32.

    I'm ordering one very shortly subject to Audi giving me an S3 for the day so I can make absolutely sure its the car for me. However despite me pushing the sale, getting a car from Audi seems to be a challenge in itself - though i'm promised its on its way
    #21
  22. Spook
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    Spook Member

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    Charismatic V6 not for you, then?
    #22
  23. g5und
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    g5und Member

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    I've just traded in my Mark V R32 for a new S3 which I picked up yesterday! :icon_thumright:

    The R32 just doesn't compare to the S3 IMO. The build quality for a start on the Golf is very 'plasticy' and just looks a bit more budget!

    The everyday drive can be pretty boring, and the manual box is extremely notchy... something that I never got used to during the 3 months of ownership.

    Personally I prefer a turbo engine rather than a big V6, but that's just my opinion.
    #23
  24. s3mike
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    s3mike Member

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    If you think the S3 sounds boring try opening the window slightly and then play with the throttle.

    I think the whooshing turbo noice is really cool and also the surge of torque.

    Only problem is that 7k redline comes up far too soon!
    #24
  25. james0808
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    james0808 Active Member

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    Personally i prefer the older one.
    Not saying it looks better than the new one but park an 8L S3 next to an 8L A3 1.8tq and the difference is obvisous.
    However park an 8P S3 next to an 8P A3 2.0t S-line and its not.
    #25
  26. siu00adg
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    siu00adg Member

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    Thats a rubbish reason!

    If someone offered you a new condition S3 8L or a new S3 8P which would you accept? (if you wern't allowed to sell them thats is)
    #26
  27. james0808
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    james0808 Active Member

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    Read the quote
    How do you find the new style s3 over the old one?
    Its the style,not value.
    #27
  28. siu00adg
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    siu00adg Member

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    I read that as "how do you find the new S3 over the old?". I thought if he was specifically talking about the styling he whould say "How do you find the style of the new S3 over the old?"

    Maybe I'm wrong.
    #28
  29. james0808
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    james0808 Active Member

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    No probs matey.:icon_thumright:
    #29
  30. Garth_S3
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    Garth_S3 Member

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    I used to have an '03 S3 which had an AMD remap and I loved it. When it came to get a new car I test drove the new S3 and thought it didn't feel anywhere near as special. It did feel slightly quicker than the old one (when standard) but apart from that I couldn't really find anything I preferred about the new one, so I bought a BMW 330cd M Sport coupe.

    The seats were much better in the old S3, I much preferred the dash layout and the driving position was better.

    I have just ordered a new A3 tdi Quattro S-Line 170 with almost every extra because the S3 just doesn't seem much better than a standard S-Line and factor in the fuel savings and I reckon the TDI is the better car (new S3 owners don't shoot me down, these are just my opinions). I much prefer the look of the S-Line over the S3. Audi should have made it special like the last one.... it really misses the wider arches of the original.
    #30
  31. mattyboy199
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    mattyboy199 Active Member

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    how is the new S3 compared to an old remapped one ? in terms of speed
    #31
  32. Garth_S3
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    Garth_S3 Member

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    Slower... but it is smoother.

    I imagine a remapped 8P will be quicker than a remapped 8L though
    #32
  33. S3IZZO
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    S3IZZO Guest

    I still have both (the 8L is currently for sale though) - I feel the new one is a lot smoother in terms of power delivery.

    In terms of speed the 8P doesn't feel as fast but having had a blast against the old one (I was driving the 8P) there isn't a great deal in it.

    IMO the new S3 has a whole different feel about it - much classier car than the older model, I wouldn't have bought a new shape S3 without the Recaros though!
    #33
  34. wolfevo
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    wolfevo New Member

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    Thats true. I wouldn't buy new s3 if there was no option for Recaros. In my previous car (Civic Type R) I had Recaros and I loved it. I drive very fast often and if U do and like very fast driving U should go for Recaros. Standard seats makes U holding the steering wheel when making sharp turns. For me new s3 feels really special only when you have Recaros and FBSW.
    #34
  35. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had 2 Leon Cupra R's prior to my S3. Now although I admit you can't really compare a Leon with the S3 (8L), it was the same platform and there were quite a few shared parts (including the engine). Both my LCR's had the 225 lump, and both were modified to various states of tune.

    LCR (53 plate): AmD map / AmD DV / Dynatwist filter: 255bhp
    LCR (05 plate): Revo Stg2 / Forge DV / Forge FMIC / full Milltek + race cats / Dynatwist : approx 285bhp

    Now although we are talking old technology and Spanish build (although rumour has it these cars may have been built elsewhere), there was a magic to that car that made it feel like it was an event every time you drove it. There was far too much power for the chassis to cope with, and despite uprating all the mounts and fitting an ARB on the 05 car it was still frisky. I went for a second LCR over the old S3 as it felt a bit perkier to drive, and I tended to find it was a more challenging drive. I could forgive it for its 'cheapness', because it was about the way it drove rather than about the in car luxury (although it did have an A3 dash and a great steering wheel).

    Now comparing my new S3 (8P) against it, particularly when stock, I was somewhat numb after my first drive. It didn't feel fast (but then its heavy and then there is transmission losses), and it was so over civilised it almost felt as if the car was actually at odds with itself. Don't get me wrong, its not a bad car, but its pretentions are as an 'out and out' S hatchback, when actually its just a quick A3. It lacks drama, and whilst on a long motorway drag that can be nice and forgiving, it only appeals to me now because I am 34. If I wass still in my 20's I'd be wanting a more raw experience.

    So that said, I think a well specced S3(8L) would still be a very good car by comparison. Whilst I understand some effort has gone in to reworking the 2.0T, and adding aluminium suspension, its added degrees of improvement rather than a revelation. I was thinking of hanging out for an RS3, but it seems it was never going to arrive based on Audi's ability to only churn out one RS model at a time. I'd have happily paid £40k for an RS version if it had been a 2.5V6 bi-turbo with 19's, flared arches, recaro's etc... Instead I feel like I've spent £33k on a car that is competant but uninspiring. I tried so many cars at the same price point, and to be honest many of them felt the same, good but not great. Whether this is because they are all £15k base cars with £15k of trickery rather than a bespoke £30k car with no options may be part of the issue. That said, Mitsi manage to pull it off with the Lancer / Evo.

    I'm happy, but not delirious. If I was richer the LCR would still be sat in the garage (stripped out), as a track day racer. The S3 (8P) at Castle Combe just felt too safe. Hence why I can understand people's continued love of the 8L
    #35
  36. [Dave B]
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    [Dave B] Rrrrrrrr-tech

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    A good insightful review for those of us with 8L S3's who might be considering an 8P S3 in the future.
    #36
  37. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    This 'identity crisis' that Audi are suffering from, and you touch on, was excellently covered by an Autocar article last month.
    The journo more or less said what you have.
    That Audi should drop the out-and-out sporty pretentions they are currently pitching at their range as, apart from the RS4 and R8, they are 'writing cheques they cannot cash'.
    The buyer that wants a sporty drive should go for a BMW, as they have the better chassis.
    Audi have always been the alternative to that, which is what they should stick to.
    The 'sensible' alternative, which they are very good at.
    The journo wasn't suggesting Audi are bad cars, not a bit of it.
    They just can't, or shouldn't, try and claim their cars are sporty to drive.
    #37
  38. Kef9
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    Kef9 Member

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    I dont care what anyone says but the old S3 looks better than the new one if you ask me and I'm not just saying that because I've got one.

    I remember about 5/6 years ago now when I was on a works mission in London and I came on to the M25 and split 2 S3's in the fast lane. Anyway the S3 behind me just ragged it past on the inside to get back with his mate. I just couldnt believe the speed and the looks. The cars were stunning at the time and I was in a civic diesel. The car made an immediate impression on me and maybe thats why I bought one.

    A new S3 looks like an S Line, the diffuser is the only standout feature. To me it doesnt look stuninng and definitely does not have the wow factor that the old one did when it was released.

    I have a problem with audi's new styling though in general. I dont like the grill and the cars are too boxy, where have all the curves gone?

    I've probably pissed off a load of new S3 owners with these comments but its just what I think.
    #38
  39. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    I think Kef hits the nail on the head.
    The old S3 was immediately identifiable, because no other A3 looked like it.
    The current one looks just like an S-line, so it instantly loses it's individuality and, with that, it's exclusivity.
    Maybe it's time Audi did what BMW and Merc do, and use a different 'arm' for their sporty cars?
    Like Alpina or AMG.
    They're badged differently.
    My D3 doesn't say BMW anywhere, it says 'Alpina'.
    Yes, it's still a BMW, but it has the different badging that sets it apart, especially to the unitiatied, and gains exclusivity.
    #39
  40. warren_S5
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    warren_S5 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm cool with it mate. I bought the car based on the fact I have always owned Golf based VAG cars (either Golf, Jetta, Leon or S3). As I had a few more quid to spend I thought I would go for the best one of the lot for and see if it was really worth the £10k premium over its poorer Leon cousin. Obviously its better in terms of the build and the brand, but......it's not really £10k better than a Leon Cupra. The Golf Edition 30 actually looks to be the better blend based on the engine type / price.

    I always loved the old S3, as it was a standout car and I always drooled over them and aspired to own one. The new one is so anonymous, but fits in with the VAG groups ethic of 'the power of understatement'. That translates to me as less effort and less cost for the manfacturer.
    #40

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