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My views on the s3...

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by vetch, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. vetch
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    vetch S3

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    ......after owning it a few days.

    Firstly, prior to buying the S3, I was also considering the Civic Type R, Leon Cupra R, Anniversary Golf, Alfa 147 GTA or even a modded Peugeot 306 Gti6.

    I decided on the S3 as its rare (theres a Civic Type R on every road in the UK it seems), grown up, well put together, fairly quick and it looks good. For me, it ticked more boxes than any of the other cars.

    Having done about 350 miles in it, on various roads at various speeds, I thought Id post a small review of it.

    My other half has owned a 2003 A3 1.6S for a couple of years, although it couldnt pull the skin off a custard, it has never gone wrong (despite her relaxed attitude to service schedules) and it looks nice and is very solid. If it was faster, and handled better, it would be a really good car.

    So to my S3, as you can see from my signature its a 2000 pre facelift model in Imola yellow. Its had the Revo remap to a supposed 265bhp, its lowered approx 25-30mm (unknown suspension components) and its on 18" RS4 replica wheels with Michelin pilot sport tyres. Its done just over 80k and it has full Audi service history, 8 stamps in all (this is reading like a for sale advert so far).

    For me, the ride is quite harsh, with poor road surfaces causing a fair amount of vibration in the cabin and a crashy ride. Being lowered on relatively large wheels doesn't help, but worn suspension parts could be contributing to this, so this is more of an observation of my S3 rather than a generalisation. Id be interested to take a ride in other S3s.

    For me, even though its remapped the S3 doesn't feel that quick. I must admit I was expecting it to be quicker. Although I haven't driven that many S3s, so I don't have much of a basis for comparison. Also, I would have to say that driving a 210bhp standard S3 would disappoint me a little (if my car is anything close to 265bhp), so I would remap it asap or spend a few hundred more and get a hybrid turbo.

    Handling wise, the S3 is the least "chuckable" car Ive ever owned, I was was fully aware of this prior to buying it however. Its surefooted and solid, but lack of feedback and understeer don't inspire you to test its limits. They (whoever "they" are) say this is typical of Audis. And Ive discovered many enthusiasts make extensive modifications to their suspension setup to correct this. If I decide to keep the car long term, I shall be doing the same. Although my car will never get near a track while in my ownership I would like to get as much driving enjoyment out of it as I can (which is the same for all of us).

    In the looks department, it couldn't get much better! It looks mean and masculine but very mature too. And the design is still fresh and modern. And for me, far less clinical and cold than the 8P version. And women seem to love it too, which is a bonus!

    To conclude, the S3 was/is an exciting ownership prospect for me. Fast(ish), stylish and grown up. I like it alot, I wouldve liked to have gone for a newer facelift version, but I couldnt sell my current car in time. From the outside though, only the 2 piece headlights give away that its a pre facelift car and I hope to change them soon. When my old car does sell however, I will have a few £k burning a hole in my pocket!

    Well, thanks for taking the time to read my mini review on the S3, Ive probably left a few things out, so I might add some stuff as I remember it.

    Vetch (Stu) :s3addict:
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  2. S3 Rav
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    S3 Rav Active Member

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    i would say your pretty spot on there mate. agree with everything you've said. after owning it and comparing it to any of the above....which would i still take...the s3 me thinks.
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  3. Essflee
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    Essflee Active Member

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    Yeah I tend to agree with this, although mine is only on standard suspension...which to be fair after comming from an A3 which was a lot lighter and on coilovers was shocking...that said, I had an Astra diesel which was worse on the bends :)
    #3
  4. S3mad
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    S3mad Dark Knight

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    Why waste your money upgrading the headlights unless you have a personal plate people will know its a pre-face model . There is nothing wrong with the pre-face and if not its a bonus as you have larger pistons than the 225 model's which helps for big turbo upgrades ;)

    #4
  5. Essflee
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    Essflee Active Member

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    Larger gudgeon pins, not pistons...
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  6. vetch
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    vetch S3

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    I do have a private "S3" plate along with post facelift rear clusters.

    What is a gudgeon pin then? Its 6:30am, so I'm too tired for some Google based investigation!
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  7. hutchybee
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    hutchybee Faux Musician

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    Its the pin that connects the piston to the conrod.

    [​IMG]
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  8. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    makes a huge difference:laugh:.... makes me laugh this as nobody seems to know anyone whos had a chuffin gudgeon pin fail, pre or post facelift....

    as for the lights i would want to change them too, the newer lights do transform the car subtely and make it look better IMO

    As for the review i agree with what you say....although pace wise you will be beating cars like the Type R's if your engine is upto scratch, so whilst its not the fastest car on planet, it isnt a slouch either.... just doesnt feel as quick because its not designed to be a through and through racer
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  9. S3 GEORGE
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    S3 GEORGE GEORGE

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    The 225 BAM has the larger 20mm pin!
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  10. voorhees
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    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes the larger pin line I've heard so many times yet no fail also this only comes into play when going for a lot more power.

    I agree with Animal your S3 shouldn't be as fast as a rocket but what have you driven before?
    mine feels quick and is Revo'ed and I've driven an RS4 :eyebrows:

    unless you have a boost leak and are not getting the full power.
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  11. hutchybee
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    hutchybee Faux Musician

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    I am sure I read somewhere the earlier engines had the larger pins and the BAM has the 19mm.......
    #11
  12. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    Vetch, try changing your tyre pressure to help your car turn in, makes a huge difference on the S3 chassis, try 32 fronts and 36 rear.
    #12
  13. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    I see a lot of people slating the suspension/handling on the S3 but a mate of mine who sold me my S3 previously owned a Subaru Imprza P1 and he said that for him the S3 handeled just as well if not better than the P1 did, and this is standard suspension and 17" wheels! And believe you me my mate knows how to handle a car.
    #13
  14. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    yup the BAM has the smaller pins, albeit 19mm or what ever it is - definately
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  15. fran-s3
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    fran-s3 Active Member

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    I agree mate. Personally I think it's the best handling car I've ever driven in standard form.
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  16. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    Thanks for the support :salute:
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  17. vetch
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    vetch S3

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    Ive no doubt its faster than Type Rs and the like, but I expected a remapped S3 to be quicker, but even before I started looking at them I knew what type of it car it was, ie not the most sporty of cars. The weight and running gear do make it seem less rapid that it actually is.

    Like I said in my first post, I havent driven that many S3s, so I dont have much to compare mine too. Dont get me wrong, it is fast though. My previous cars have been V6 Alfas mainly and Pug 306 Gti6s before that.

    It would be interesting to meet up with other local owners for a side by side comparison.
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  18. bantam1
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    bantam1 Member

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    Pretty spot on assessment there, although as has already been said depending on what you came from the S3 shouldn't feel 'slow' with a remap so might be worth getting a health check done on it.

    Regarding handling and ride. Unmodded the S3 handles like a boat, and modded like a slightly smaller boat running aground (i.e. not comfy). Plus very expensive on suspension parts.

    Handling - That's not what it does well though. It's an all rounder that feels good inside, is relatively quick, and will still bomb up and down motorways and get the shopping etc. etc. To expect anything else is missing the point a bit.
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  19. FazS3
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    FazS3 Member

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    S3 once suspension is sorted and some good rubber, is excellent on handling!!
    #19
  20. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    Am I missing something with the handling issue! I would not say the S3 handles like a boat unless your hitting bends at the wrong line going too fast. I used to own a clio 182 which is up there with the best front wheel handling cars you could get at the time and I dont think the S3 is any worse than that.
    #20
  21. MintyS3
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    MintyS3 Works 60% the time, Everytime.

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    It handles ok. You can drive it fast no doubt but the shocks and springs dont deal with bumps/uneven roads well, there is alot of body roll and it leads towards understeer.

    Im fairly certain the recommended mods will improve the road handling.

    To be honest though I think the brakes and the weakest point.
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  22. Essflee
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    Essflee Active Member

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    The S3 is a fast car, think it's deceiving because it's so smooth and effortless, the girlfriend describes it as running on air :)... As for the suspension the sheer weight doesn't help, I had an old j plate 16v clio and that was awesome on the bends, the S3 wouldn't get near it...hopefully one day I'll sort the suspension out...
    #22
  23. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    depending on what you do with them..... ive just replaced mine with OEM ones as they are well within the parameters of my driving.... good set up suggested is black dioamond disks with DS2500 pads....

    or you could go Brembo which are great but mostly for show....the S3 brakes are apparently really good if you have the right disc + pad combo....
    #23
  24. vetch
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    vetch S3

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    I think some people have misunderstood my comments regarding the handling of the S3. At no point have I said that it handles badly, however having driven a fair few A3s and a couple of S3's (including my own), its not the sort of car that encouranges you to throw it into a corner and drive it on the limit of its capabilities. But I also believe its not meant to be that sort of car. The S3 seems heavy and quite laboured in its steering, with little feedback and lots of understeer - that was the point I was trying to make.
    #24
  25. FazS3
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    FazS3 Member

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    Once set up correctly, it would be a crime not to throw it into a corner as hard as you could!!!
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  26. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    vetch we're often off on tangents on ere mate..... :salute:
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  27. Darren4
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    Darren4 Member

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    My previous car was a ep3 type r so i know a lot about that car. Ive only had my s3 for under 2 months (i think) and i prefer this then my ep3. Heres some facts i've learnt so far though:

    The ep3 has hardly any sound dending anywhere so you can always feel the speed as it's a bit lighter. The s3 is imo a tad bit quicker (i have the 210bhp facelift) and is more comfy to drive fast as it's less intense :lmfao:.

    Handling wise i had my ep3 on coilovers and was much flater round the corners then the s3 (but the 4wd makes up for this)

    The only thing the ep3 had over my s3 was it was much bigger inside and it was so easy to work inside the engine bay as the s3 is so darn tight:mad:.

    I do think your review is good bar the crashy ride as thats because it's lowered with low profile tires, i've been there once and will NEVER do that again :keule:
    #27
  28. MintyS3
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    MintyS3 Works 60% the time, Everytime.

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    Mostly for show....I take it your refering to some of the people who buy them.

    I can assure you the 4 pots are a massive improvement over the innadequate single piston calipers on the S3.
    #28
  29. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    im not questioning that minty, im putting my faith in the testing carried out by Glen.... from what i understand his car had more track use than most of us on here put together and he still didnt find the need to purchase a set of Brembo's?

    my point was that they are overkill from that evidence
    #29
  30. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    Unfortunately understeer is something that you will get will all cars with a front monted engine, at least understeer is a lot more predictable than oversteer.
    #30
  31. Scottynic
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    Scottynic Member

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    I think the S3 is quick and mine is standard. I use my S3 as an everyday car, i have a supercharged elise which is effin quick but I always love getting back in the S3 for its comfort and the fact it is quick for what it is. On another note tho my m8 has a modded mk4 golf GTI which is approx 200bhp he thinks its quicker I just think the S3 is much smoother not slower.
    #31
  32. MintyS3
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    MintyS3 Works 60% the time, Everytime.

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    I prefer oversteer. Can you predict going headfirst into a ditch? lol


    I was under the impression he had the brembo GT jr kit. I could be wrong.
    #32
  33. voorhees
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    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    wheres your location?

    It is a big heavy hatchback 1500kilos of car.

    he did have brembo's
    #33
  34. vetch
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    vetch S3

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    Swansea, South Wales.



    Yep, I know.
    #34
  35. 1animal1
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    1animal1 The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    in that case i stand corrected matey:salute:
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  36. alijames
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    alijames Active Member

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    At least you get to see which ditch you are going into, unlike going in backwards...

    :eyebrows::ohmy::tapedshut::keule:

    Cheers,
    #36
  37. ianysm
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    ianysm Active Member

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    The review is good. Tho i think your crashy ride will be due to lowering. Mine is also remapped and i think its pretty quick. My last car was a modified m3 which was faster and better on the limit but the s3 is a more relaxed grippy car and much easier to throw around the wet country lanes, probably just as quick a-b as well. Not many m3 owners out there car get the best out of them!
    #37
  38. A3_Turbo
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    A3_Turbo Swaying towards IHI....

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    Im sorry but an S3 just doesnt compare to a Subaru P1. Your mate doesnt know what he's talking about...

    Jason
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  39. Westy
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    Westy Double Dark Side! Diesel & 8P

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    We're only talking handling, nothing else! And I think he knows what he's talking about :tocktock:
    #39
  40. james0808
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    james0808 Active Member

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    I dont think he does if he thinks an S3 is a better handling car than a prodrive tweaked impreza P1.:wacko:
    #40

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