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My S3 - First thoughts

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by golf, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. golf
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    golf ***** rent boy VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Having just bought my S3 (the handling is woeful and the ride crashy) I'm looking to do a few exterior mods before concentrating on sorting out the way it drives (how it left the factory in that state I'll never know).

    I'm blacking out the grille and the headlights, and I'm looking to match the mirror covers and alloys (new style RS4 18") in a gunmetal finish like so:

    [​IMG]

    I'm looking for a set of used alloys which I can spray myself as I don't want to buy a new set and ruin them by experimenting. I've painted before so I'm aware of the procedure, but would gunmetal mirror covers and alloys look right on an S3?

    I will be looking into lowering asap, as the handling is pretty poor, and I found my FWD A4 to be a lot sharper and a bit more fun. I know a lot of people use H&R springs with Bilstein dampers, but does this make a noticeable difference to handling? Is there an ARB which can be bought to improve things because as it is I'm pretty disappointed. Straight line speed is not bad, and the interior is lovely (no armrest or heated seats though) but through the bends it gives absolutely no confidence at all. I can see the car has a lot of potential, but it will need some work, the brakes also are hopelessly inadequate I feel. Also for a car that has xenons, light output is pretty poor (a new set of 5000k D2S bulbs may cure this).

    In the fear of sounding like Ess_Three I'm not complaining just yet because I got the car for a very good price and most other 21 year olds are driving Nova's and Saxo's round these parts, but I feel that the S3 needs a lot of work done to make it a bit more enjoyable. I don't know, maybe I was expecting too much, but on first impressions I'd say the S3 is a very capable and comfortable cruiser and little more. If I could get insured on an M3, I'd have one in a heartbeat, now there's a true drivers car.
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  3. bantam1
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    bantam1 Member

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    see FAQs for virtually everything you're asking about. It can definately be made into a better car to drive, within reason.

    S3 is a great allrounder - that's what you've got to realise (and perhaps before you purchase one).
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  4. Mike H
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    Mike H Member

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    I had very high expectations. Went from an R32 to an S3.... and felt let down. S3 was way too twitchy for my liking. Probably makes it more fun to some people but they just scared me a little too much.

    Going back to the VW......
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  5. [Dave B]
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    [Dave B] Daddy

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Do people not buy cars without giving them a good test drive first these days?
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  6. m40rcd
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    m40rcd Sunny Delight

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Even though an s3 would be far down the list on a car to buy i'm suprised with these comments. I didnt think someone would find many problems with one.


    Bummer about the m3. At 21 i was able to get insured on the m3 quite easily, for around 1500. I know its alot of money, but at the same age an escort cosworth or evo 6 were 3000 and 2500 respectively, which puts it into perspective
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  7. golf
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    golf ***** rent boy VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Well obviously I test drove it first, but when I really opened it up it failed to excite. I'm not bothered too much though, it's a nice cruiser and I'll probably trade it in for an R32 in a few months. It is a great all rounder though, there's no denying it.
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  8. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    I would say that very few people can honestly say they can get to the limits of a car on a test drive...it takes hours of driving for the lacking areas to reveal themselves...especially if the goon in the cheap suit and plastic shoes (sorry...Sales Executive) is sitting rambling nonsense in your ear as you drive.

    If you can find the limits on a test drive, you probably shouldn't be on the road, at all...
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  9. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Careful...people will start a fresh thread complaining about you if you speak like that...

    Yes. Huge.

    Neuspeed do a pair that are superb.
    Some prefer R32 ARBs...
    some just an R32 rear...

    Plenty of choice...I'd still suggest the Neuspeed pairing it spot-on for road / mild track use on real roads.

    A lot of confidence can be dialed in by playing with the tyre pressures and suspension angles...
    But, basically get more front end grip, and things improve immesurably.

    Better pads / grooved discs work as a stop gap...Brembos are unburstable.
    spend more on bling callipers but get no gains in braking over a simple LCR/Brembo GT upgrade.

    Try adjusting the lights up...they are normally set way too low...mine were, as have every set of VAG Xenons i've checked.


    What's wrong with that? :p
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  10. golf
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    golf ***** rent boy VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    Finally, a decent response. Thanks.

    I'll post up some pics once the car is looking a little better, at the moment it's a bog standard ebony black facelift S3.
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  11. voorhees
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    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 26, 2007]
    fastest colour eh
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  12. [Dave B]
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    [Dave B] Daddy

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    [Oct 27, 2007]
    This comment is a surprise coming from you, I thought the S3's flaws were all too obvious ;)

    I always buy private so this doesn't really apply, I can understand that it would be annoying though.

    When I test drove my S3, I took it over snakes pass and back. On the way back I pulled up and did a standing start to 80mph then stopped again, just to make sure there weren't any obvious mechanical faults. That told me all I needed to know about the standard performance and handling...I still bought it though :p
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  13. chesney
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    chesney Member

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    [Oct 27, 2007]
    My 1st post!:icon_thumright:

    I have just bought one too. It has Bilstein Coilovers, Milltek and a remap. It handles ok but not pushed it hard enough yet to see how it takes B road abuse. Meant to have a Whiteline rear ARB coming for it but in day to day driving it seems ok.

    Only drove 2 s3's and the other one had more noticeable bodyroll even on eibach's and bilstein fast road dampers.

    Hoping the rear bar will make it more lively at the rear.

    Found the brakes lack bite and requires more pedal movement than expected. Might just need bled or perhaps its a downside to DS2500's?

    Can't complain about fuel economy as I think 450 miles from my 1st tank is good going.

    Was shocked that the tyre pressures had obviously been neglected though! 15/17 rear and 25/27 front!:no:

    Bought it as I've always liked the looks. Wanted something fairly quick but not hard work to get moving like a type r, comfortable and well built. Quattro will come in usefull in the winter as we're moving near the mountains!!:cold:
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  14. Lenny Benford
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    Lenny Benford snowed under

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    [Oct 27, 2007]
    Chesney, You can forget about that 450miles on a tank when you start to use the loud pedal a bit more mate.........but the again i bet you never got it for fuel economy.
    Tbh once you get them set up right there good fun to drive IN MY OPINION.
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  15. Ess_Three
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    Ess_Three Active Member

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    [Oct 28, 2007]
    I thought the S3 handled tidily for a luxury hatch...bearing in mind the one I drove had a handful of miles on it and everything was tight and fresh.
    I was always looking for a project though...

    I had a 4 hour test drive...and it still took me months to really expose the shortfalls of the S3.

    But, I never really push cars other than my own anyway.


    Fair play...
    #14

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