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How hard do you find your suspension?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Vertigo1, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Having read a few comments here and there regarding the suspension on the A3 I thought I'd ask the question.

    How do you find the suspension on your A3, be it SE, Sport or S-Line? I'd be particularly interested to hear from those who've driven more than one of these derivatives.

    Personally, I currently have an SE and I was concerned that the S-Line suspension would be rock hard by comparison so I made a point of test driving a couple before I placed the order for the new car. Frankly I was surprised as I thought it would be a lot harder than it was. Sure it's firmer and more "jiggly" over poor surfaces and you have to slow down a tad more for speed bumps but on the whole I didn't think it was hugely firmer than my SE.

    Some people seem to think the Sport and S-Line suspensions are far far firmer than the SE, to the point of "ruining the ride", a comment I've seen a couple of times. Others, OTOH, don't seem to have any problems with it.

    Interestingly, the vast vast majority of A3s I see are Sports with comparatively few SEs around. This could be simply down to people ordering based on a preference for the standard spec of the Sport over the SE and never test driving it beforehand (why do people do this!?) so for all I know loads of these Sport drivers could hate the suspension but have to live with it.

    Be interested to hear people's thoughts on this.
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  2. mfspen
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    mfspen Member

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    My previous A3 was a sport, and the current one is an S-Line.

    I would say the Sport is the best compromise between handling and comfort. The S-Line is a tad too hard really.
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  3. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    had an se or a sport as a loner and it was a bit soft for my liking. I've got the s-line but have lowered it on eibachs sportline springs and it is still acceptable.

    It is going to depend on what you used to though, I have come from a string of hot hatches...

    J.
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  4. Tim Stuart
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    Tim Stuart Member

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    Before I got the S-Line I drove an SE for 9 months. TBH not too much between them really, most noticable is the taught line you can take into fast corners. Sure the ride is a little firmer but not to the point of being uncomfortable. For that I have an Alfa 147 on 17s with Eibach springs. Now that's a nightmare on anything but flat, smooth well maintained surfaces - to the point where I avoid some roads to avoid the banging and crashing. The S-Line in comparison is cosseting!
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  5. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    The S-line is hard,but it makes all the difference.
    I had a sport on loan for two days about a month ago.
    The funny thing was that although the ride wasn't that much softer than the S-line,the handling was vaguer than an MP being asked about an affair.
    It lurched and wobbled and slid all over the place.
    Some of that was down to the smaller tyres and wheels,but a lot of it was down to a lack of body control compared with the S-line too.
    Bdy control and mechanical grip is more important to me than ride.
    I can put up with a jiggly ride,but I cannot abide wobbly,lurchy cars.
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  6. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    I have an SE and find the ride very much hard enough, but I came from a Renault! My father came out on one of the test drives I had initially and couldn't believe how hard even the SE was! I think it depends what you are coming from.

    I test drove a Sport and SE back to back twice and preferred the SE personally, though I did have to have 17" 5 star wheels as I disliked the std 16" wheels!!! Therefore I guess my ride is harder than an average SE but not quite so hard as a Sport.

    Spec wise I wanted a blend of Sport and SE so achieved that through options.

    I've read many reviews where people have complained about the Sport suspension, one person saying they couldn't adjust the radio station over uneven surfaces, others saying they wished they had an SE! The former a bit harsh I think!

    At the end of the day it depends what you want the car for - I don't drive sportily or aggressively so chose the SE as it suits me best. Others may want the taut ride of the Sport or S-Line to get a more involving drive or throw it into corners. You buy whatever suits your driving I guess.
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  7. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Very true.
    99% of my driving is over twisty scottish A and B roads,so handling is way more important than ride.
    I have to drive 140 miles before I get to a motorway !
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  8. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Same here - I seem to spot more Sports that SEs. I would guess the larger wheels and foglights make it look more attractive!

    As for the ride, we test drove a Sport at the Sportback's launch. While the firmness wasn't an issue, the ride was harsh and it seemed very noisy. But by then I'd already taken a preference to the SE because of the equipment (arm-rest, cruise control, extra interior lighting) which was more important to me.

    And sure enough, the SE ride is spot on; very taut and solid but soft enough over long distances, while definitely quieter than the Sport. I should also add that since buying it, I ditched the 16" alloys for the 17" Star wheels - solely to improve the looks - but there's no penalty to the ride. If anything, it's weighted up the steering nicely and it has improved the feel.
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  9. S_Line
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    S_Line Member

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    I find the S_line very hard ride, its as hard as my ole WR1.

    Sometimes its great sometimes it nearly makes me sick specially after a meal out :(
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  10. tibbs
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    tibbs Member

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    My sline is pretty hard too, although I put 18s on it and it was no harder than it was with the standard 17s
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  11. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    Chrsit are Audi that tight with the standard S-line spec in Ireland that they don't even give you the 18" RS6's as standard?
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  12. shaheed
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    shaheed Member

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    Ireland should be similar to Portugal in what concerns S-line configuration.
    Here in PT they come out with old RS4 stile in 17''....auwful indeed!
    I'd say it's because our roads are really terrible...holes and bumps all over.
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  13. mark88
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    mark88 Member

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    My S-Line is perfect, compared to our Mini Cooper it's like sponge. I don't consider it a hard ride at all.
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  14. alanjonesbath
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    alanjonesbath VAGOwners.co.uk

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    If you want a hard ride, try my Ibiza FR ;) I've never driven a car with harder suspension in my life! By comparison, the S-Line is certainly firm, but its nowhere near as hard or harsh as the Ibiza is.
    #14
  15. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Thanks for all the comments so far. It obviously does depend on what you're used to as the firmness or harshness of the suspension is obviously a subjective judgement.

    There does, however, seem to be a fair number of people who support my feelings that the S-Line isn't really as firm as some people make out. Whilst firmer than the Sport and SE, I didn't feel it was radically so and definitely not in the same league as many "hot hatches".

    Out of interest, does the new S3 has the same suspension as the S-Line or is it firmer still?

    shaheed, your comments about the roads are interesting as I believe many of the German manufacturers supply their cars to the UK with firmer suspension than is used in the rest of Europe as apparently we prefer it like this.

    As for road quality, again this is all relative. Your roads may be worse than ours but take a trip down a German autobahn or French autoroute toll road and they're like glass compared to our motorways.
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  16. rowansbank
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    rowansbank Member

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    Interesting because I had the selling dealership take off the 18" wheels and fit 17s in view of the state of the roads round here - I've damaged wheels with very low profile tyres before.

    As regards ride quality, we had an MR2 (model before present) and I would say the S line ride is slightly firmer but still comfortable on normal roads. I also drive a Navara pickup which provides a very marked contrast in ride comfort in terms of pitch & roll (not to mention handling:laugh: )
    #16
  17. tibbs
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    tibbs Member

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    Yeah they're that mean MB, don't include aircon as std on ANY model A3 SE/Sport/ Sline its a 2k + "optional" extra.. C*nts
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  18. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    Holy cow - premium brand car with no aircon as standard!!!!

    J.
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  19. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    As a further point to this, I recall EVO once reporting that Audi doesn't carry out any vehicle testing or development here in the UK. So essentially, the suspension setup for the UK is non-existent - more like pot luck.
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  20. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Like the BMW 1 series is sold here you mean?
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  21. Spin140
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    Spin140 Active Member

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    My previous A Sport on an 04 was definetly harder and more fidgety than my current S-Line, I believe Audi made some modifications to the suspension set up between the 2, to be honest even the 'harder' 04 sport model was never an issue (that had 17") but I do have a preference for a firm ride, on the motorways I find the car very comfortable, the only sensible thing to do would be to take both an SE and an S-Line/Sport on a good long test drive over varied road surfaces. In comparison to the MKV GTI I would say the handling/ride is very similar the only noticeable difference being I find the steering a little light and lacking in feel on the A3. Buying an SE for comfort but speccing it like a Sport sounds like a plan if comfort is a priority :)
    #21
  22. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    I did hear that Audi softened the Sport suspension when they facelifted the 3Dr with the new grille
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  23. tibbs
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    tibbs Member

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    1 series se and sport come with aircon std here, though still wouldn't make me buy one of them puck nosed pieces of sh1t
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  24. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    That's interesting.
    Is it just Audi that are tight with spec in Ireland ?
    I bought my Alfa 156 from Ireland and as well as being miles cheaper than the UK it was better spec too.
    It had aircon and a sunroof for example,where the UK car only had one or the other.
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  25. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    But the base trim level doesn't come with aircon of any sort.

    My brother in law has a base trim level 120d and didn't realise this until I mentioned it to him, at which point he hastily added it as an option.

    I wonder how many people order base-trim models, never even considering that such a "premium" car wouldn't have aircon as standard, then get a very nasty shock when they get the car and realise?
    #25
  26. tibbs
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    tibbs Member

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    On the A4 in Ireland (all trim levels) you've to pay €500 for the privilege of electric rear windows!!!! Even the base a3 sportback has them standard not to mention the speed sensitive steering, standard on a3, option on a4........
    #26
  27. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    Probably quite a few! Seen those ads for a new Golf at just £11,995? I'd be amazed if it came with an engine at that price ...
    #27
  28. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    I had a look,out of curiosity,when we were looking for a new car for my wife.
    It comes with nothing.
    It's about as basic transport as you can get,and a pish poor engine too.
    Something like 75bhp !
    Nothing like the same level of spec,or power,as the new Clio we chose,which is a Golf sized car now anyway.
    Really,although £11995 might sound impressive,it's really not.
    It would be impressive at £9995 though.
    #28
  29. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    Did you read what Clarkson was saying this week in The Times online about the Sline suspension on the new S6 Avant:

    " And then we get to by far and away the worst thing: the ride. They call it “S line”, and it doesn’t take too long to work out what the S might stand for. Clue: four letters, begins with S, ends in hit. Which is odd because it really isn’t one.

    It’s not firm in a controlled way. It’s firm like the matron in a Carry On film. It’s firm to the point where you start to laugh at its complete inability to ride with grace or panache over absolutely anything.

    I would love to meet the team who designed it, because I do not believe that anyone who has ever driven “a car” before could possibly have fitted this and thought it might do. Their bosses should certainly dig out their CVs and do some deep background investigation, because they’re either imposters or they’re secretly working for BMW. "
    #29
  30. vagman
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    vagman Member

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    I took delivery of my 170 S-Line yesterday and am very pleased with the ride quality.:hubbahubba:

    However, I have been driving TTs for the past 5 years, so the ride quality couldn't really be any worse.:whistle2:
    #30
  31. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    Clarkson's comments only go to show how relative such perceptions really are. My boss had an A6 Avant 2.7TDI S-Line Quattro loaner the other week (think it was one of the bosses cars as they screwed up his normal loaner) and said it was absolutely wonderful.
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  32. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    With all due respect to your boss,I'm guessing he doesn't drive the myriad of cars Clarkson does.
    So he's judging the car,more or less,in isolation.
    Although I don't find my S-line's ride that bad (or perhaps I've just got used to it),it is a lot more 'fidgety' than other sporty cars I've driven.
    It's quite a bit harder than the Golf Gti,and my old Alfa 156,for example.
    I don't think anyone would argue that the Gti,in particular,outhandles the A3.
    So that's just one example of how good handling needn't mean skateboard ride.
    It isn't the first time Clarkson has mentioned Audi suspension either.
    I think it was a TT they tested,in Iceland ?
    Some coupe test or other ?
    He slated the Audi for being way too hard again.
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  33. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Is that 17"s on your car ?
    I dunno if it's just an optical illusion,but your car seems to be sitting quite a bit higher than mine,which has the 18"s.
    #33
  34. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Active Member

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    A valid point and, although each person's perception of "firmness" or "harshness" is different, I wonder if there's not more going on here.

    As has been mentioned, I'm sure Audi softened the Sport suspension a bit at some point during the model's lifetime but I'm also wondering whether there's a difference twixt petrol and diesel models? Both of the S-Line's I've driven were diesels so I've no point of comparison but I don't wonder whether the extra weight over the front wheels makes a difference to the feel of the suspension. It obviously makes some difference but to what degree I don't know. Do they fit different suspension to the petrol and diesel Sports & S-Lines I wonder?
    #34
  35. cdb2
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    cdb2 Member

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    Sure I read somewhere Audi had realised they will soon have to start testing cars on UK roads?
    #35
  36. vagman
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    vagman Member

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    Nope, they're not 17s.

    It is normal S-Line suspension, i.e. 10mm lower than sports suspension.
    #36
  37. co55ie
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    co55ie Member

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    The Sline suspension is quite poorly judged its not initially pliant enough, the springs could do with being initially more progressive which would make the car handle better on our moto x style roads.
    #37
  38. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Are they higher profile tyres ?
    I'm looking at the photo of your car,then looking out the window at my car.
    Mine is visibly lower,for sure.
    Less of a gap between the wheel/tyre and arch.
    Maybe mine has settled on it's springs with mileage or something,I dunno.
    #38
  39. vagman
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    vagman Member

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    Your original post did get me thinking, so I popped out to the garage to check.

    The wheels are definately 18"ers. The tyres are 225/40 Conti Sportcontact 2s.
    #39

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