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New car - E46 330CD or Audi S3???

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by IH786, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. IH786
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    IH786 Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Hello

    This is my first post on audi-sport, so be gentle! I sold my car a 2003 Seat Ibiza TDi Sport, which i owned for 2.5 years. I hated seeing the new owner drive off with my car, i had such great fun with it. :sadlike:

    I now have to drive my mums 1.0 Yaris, :mad: until my exams are over in June, then i will concentrate on buying a new car. I have two choices, either an E46 BMW 330CD M Sport or the new Audi S3. I like the idea of the S3, but it is much more expensive than the 330CD (by about 10k).

    TBH i'm looking to splash out on at least 1 nice thing before i do the sensible get a house/wife/kids that inevitably happens to everyone as they get older.

    If i do get an S3, its going to be in white, with the bucket seats.:icon_thumright:

    I'm leaning towards the S3, i was dead set on the 330CD. But i've had a diesel for so long, and they are great, i just a fancy a change. Also i am probably going to work close to the city centre, which will mean a shorter journey, mostly stuck in Birmingham rush hour traffic, so the argument of getting a diesel for economy doesn't look as attractive.

    In the flesh, the 330CD does look good, haven't seen an S3 close up yet though.......

    I posted this same question in the Seatcupra.net forums i have frequented over the last few years, and everyone preferred the S3 over the E46.

    I then posted the same question on BMWLand, and i was told that Audis handle terribly, with poor steering feedback, and that an E46 is better option since it is a better drive, and the S3 is too ordinary looking.:confused: :confused:

    So what do you guys think:think: :think:
    #1
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  3. jamiekip
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    jamiekip Guest

    [Apr 25, 2007]
    S3 handles really well IMO - but first thing i'd do is go and get a test drive. When I did my answer was made up!!!
    You're right, it is pricey for a 'hot hatch' but I don't regret it a single bit!

    Welcome to as.net!
    #2
  4. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    I haven't driven an S3,but there's no doubt a 3 series knocks a standard A3 into a cocked hat for driver enjoyment.
    The S3 maybe closes the gap,I dunno.
    The BMW is more 'metal for your money' though,which has always been one of my problems with the S3.
    #3
  5. klauster
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    klauster Well-Known Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    The new BMW 3 series are nice if not a little boring looking. Havent driven one so cant comment on the driver experience but I hear good things.

    Im not sure the cars are really comparable tbh, its gonna boil down to which you prefer and which fits your lifestyle best, there are images that go with both. Rep vs Chav (only kidding Bowfer)

    Id test drive them and then start doing your sums, the S3 is not cheap to own and run, but its a hot hatch, so it shouldnt come as a surprise!
    #4
  6. normski
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    normski Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    I have driven 330 diesels to death and whilst they are a good motor for a diesel, they aren't really comparable with the performance of the S3 IMO (second gear in a 330D is a joke).

    I assume the one you are looking at is used.

    Having driven the old and new 3 series coupe in various guises, ranging from less than the S3 in price up to the 335 m-sport, I have plugged for the S3, depsite comfortably being able to afford the more expensive car.

    The BMW's get you there quick, but I find them very uninvolving, with the new 3 particular more boring. Do'nt get me wrong they are still lovely cars, but it sounds like you are after fun rather than speed with ease.

    The S3 and 3 coupe are totally different beasts for me, and one is common as muck too.
    #5
  7. markwiggy
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    markwiggy Third Gear

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    For me I think it depends on wether you want to be a bit different, the world and his wife seem to have a 3 series IMO. Used to have one myself and got sick of seeing little scrotes driving them.
    The S3 ''superhatch'' is just a little more exclusive, since I got mine in January I have not seen another one on the road.

    Mark
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  8. IH786
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    IH786 Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    It is good to hear from someone who has driven both cars. I did get a lot of people on BMWLand saying their old Audi wasn't that great, but that didn't mean the new S3 was rubbish.

    You are right about the 3 Series, they are REALLY common. And that does put me off. I was looking at getting a 3 Series M Sport Coupe 2004-2006, probably would have cost low 20k ish.

    I have never bought a new car before, let alone a 30k one, so i have to be sure it is the right one!! It would mean i would probably have to borrow the extra 10k, although i have a few people i could borrow about half of that from, interest free of course :sly: :sly:
    #7
  9. prt57
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    prt57 Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    IH786, it sounds like you are local to B'ham.
    If you want to have a close up of an S3 there were 3 in the showroom of B'ham Audi which is located in Solihull a couple of weeks ago. There must be at least one left!
    Cheers, prt
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  10. IH786
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    IH786 Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Yeah i live in Birmingham. In fact i work very very very close to the Audi dealers (about 1 minute). It only opened recently. I have to pop over there in my lunchtime. :) :)
    #9
  11. Evotek
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    Evotek Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    I had a 330Ci and still miss it now and then.
    Fantastic engine and a very nice ride indeed.
    Sure it´s a bit common but still a really good car.
    Didn´t really fancy the new 3-series so i bought an A4 Avant instead but i still have my Z3 coupe to play with so.........

    The S3 to me are not that different from the rest of the A3´s so for non Audi people it may look common aswell.
    #10
  12. newbiecrg
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    newbiecrg windsurfer

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    BMW excellent but extras make the car too expensive, S3 is probably the best package, not cheap but you get a lot in standard trim, including a competent 4 wheel drive. I'm saying this not because I bought one but I truly believe the S3 to be the best package...

    Of course 330cd fuel economy is miles away from my thirsty-smile-enhancing, S3...

    Your call mate, but before any decision a proper test drive is advised.

    Pedro
    #11
  13. BrianM
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    BrianM BrianM

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    If you want a good opinion on the BMW try www.carmagazine.com its by far the best BMW forum going in the UK, they will of course still be biased but objective. Personally the 330D is a very refined car and perhaps easier to drive and the 330D engine is a peach...but not an S3.
    #12
  14. chanlon1
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    chanlon1 Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    IH786, I just took delivery this morning of my S3 ... I was driving a Z4 up till then.
    Certainly haven't felt any probs with the handling....all I can say is that the performance of the S3 takes your mind of it:icon_thumright:
    #13
  15. copperband
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    copperband Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    I have to say I found reading this post quite scary given that I am moving from a 330Cd MSport (Superchipped since new) to an S3.I didn't get the resounding "the S3 is so much better,more fun better handling,etc" that I expected to see???

    I have high hopes for the S3 but now I'm having doubts having read here what people have written about both.

    When I drove the S3 the things I liked about it were the following:

    - Smaller size, felt more compact and easy to throw around on country roads than the bmw.
    - Definately felt the 4 wheel drive difference vs my rwd only
    - Car felt more confident on the road, I have always found the bmw to be very skittish with steering that has a tendancy to not give me confidence at times.
    - Sounded better that the diesel
    - Individuality, although this is diluted slightly by the ndertstated look of the S3 vs A3 and there are plently of those on the road.Nevertheless in my mind it is much more individual.
    - Sounds stupid but I've never had and Audi, had 3 bmw and lexus,honda,etc so a new marque is a nice change.

    Things I felt the bmw was better on:

    - Torque, being chipped the bmw has torque just uder 500 which I still find phenomenal on the motorway or fast A roads.

    - Fully electric seats with memory, a small thing but I find really useful to put back to exactly how I had it following my wife driving it,service,etc.

    - Load through seats make the coupe quite practical, but I think the hatch will make up for that?

    - MPG and range, having had a Mazda RX8 prior to the bmw I am not looking forward to going back to filling up every 250 miles, I get 450- 500 on a full tank in the bmw (almost all motorway)

    I'm hoping the change will be a positive one for me and I'm really looking forward to getting the S3 in late May,early June:)
    #14
  16. IH786
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    IH786 Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Considering you had a 320cd, and you have now decided on a S3, surely you felt the S3 is a better car, especially reading your comments about how it handles etc.

    I think you have made the right choice. And for me, the S3 is looking more and more like the car i want :yes:
    #15
  17. jamiekip
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    jamiekip Guest

    [Apr 26, 2007]
    I think most people bought the S3 on here because it was right for them.

    I chose it as it was so much better than my old shape S3, it's more refined on motorway's, the steering when you're hustling it is so much better, sharp, direct if a little too light at parking speeds. The suspension also loads up well in corners, resisting understeer (all Audi's are set up to understeer!!) very well and can be controlled on the limit on the throttle so does invite the driver aong to the party for some fun!
    The brakes are better than Audi's of old, if you've driven an Audi of the last 8 years you'll know the brakes we're notoriously grabby, on the S3 they are progressive and powerful.
    I'm really, really pleased with mine it offers the ease, practicality, luxery, sportiness and fun I want in a car - I can't think of anything I'd prefer for the money.

    it's a personal preference mate, for me BMW's aren't my thing unless I was in the market for an M3/M5 sadly I'm not and these car's are set up to be awesome when driven hard (remember Clarcksons report on the M5 - cr@p car until you hit the sport button and it came alive). For me about 5% of my driving is pushing it hard, the rest of the time i'm on a Motorway in a city etc and I prefer the great interior etc.

    Just go with your gut instict after you've driven them both!
    PLUS - you can chip S3's to 310bhp!!!!
    #16
  18. normski
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    normski Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Mate, if you want someone to tell you you are doing the right thing, then I am your man.

    I refrained from throwing my opinion in too much, because the more you are honest on here these days the more you get **** thrown at you from people (eg Bowfer), and I just can't be arsed with the anti-anything nice brigade

    The 3 series is a lovely car no doubt, and is refined and quick. You get some nice little bits on it such as the memory seats, a 3.5mm audio jack on the new 3 series, etc. etc.

    But I drive them fast and slow for a living at up to 1500 miles week sometimes, would I buy one...YES, would I buy one over the S3...NO

    Why you ask? Because I want a car that doesn't shed a fortune in value overnight, a car that is quite rare, a car that is blisteringly fast, a car that is fun to drive when you want it to be, and nice when it's not. I want to be different...I live on "an exclusive estate of 6 executive homes" as the book calls it, everyone has a 3 series and an X5, but I want to be different.

    If I wanted to go with the crowd, drive from A to B in complete refinement and when I thrash the car, get there without much involvment, then I would have had to consider the 3.
    #17
  19. markwiggy
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    markwiggy Third Gear

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    #18
  20. copperband
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    copperband Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Thanks for the comments, I feel much better now, even if you are a bit biased;)

    Just for clarification IH 786 I've not choosen the S3 because I think its better, my current Bmw is 3 years old in a couple of weeks and done 77,500k miles so I have to change it.

    I hate the new shape Bmw and for all the reasons I said above I am looking forward to the S3.

    I too drive a lot of mioles as you can see and for me most of the time is on motorways at cruising speeds but what I do want is a bit of fun and something a little more engaging when I do those shorter trips or the trips on more fun roads!

    Both normski and jamie have given a strong endorsement of the S3 but written in a balenced way, that's nice and fairly unusual to get on car forums, most people just knock anything that's not supported in the forum so good right up guys:applaus:

    The only thing I need to get sorted out now is the ICE, I refuse to pay for the overpriced Audi stuff and as mine is a company car I prefer to pay the extra money towards something I can buy separately andmove onto the next car.
    I still like this http://www.pioneer.co.uk/uk/products/10/20/241/AVIC-D3/index.html

    For me it's important to make the boring times spent in the car going up and down motorways as enjoyable as possible.I can't make the cars do that as it's really just taking me from A - B so I need to be entertained,eg having DAB put in my Bmw was the best thing I ever did:idea:
    #19
  21. S3Didge
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    S3Didge Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    The S3 is the best all round package for performance/handling/luxury you can buy for the money as has already been stated.

    It is the best car i've owned -fact.

    can't comment on the Bimmer tho - test drove a 325i coupe for a day, but the "salesman" (joke) didn't even bother to phone me to follow up at all! I guess all his customers do the chasing but that's another story.

    The S3 instantly put a smile on my face and it will yours i guarantee it.
    #20
  22. normski
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    normski Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    I have looked at exactly the same thing mate, but I have plumped for the "expensive" Audi stuff for now as I wanted my car wih as much kit as I would like as possible from day one.

    I met up with JamS3 the other day and fell in love with the RNS-E, though the advantage to the product you are looking at is it plays DVD's, DIVx's etc. as well.

    For £440 I thought the BOSe was pretty reasonable really, and another £500 for RNS-E fitted seems quite good to. But you are right, you can't take it with you.

    I did however buy a £1,000 car stereo about 4 years ago now with a 20gig hard drive in it, MP3 etc. and to be honest it seems a bit old skool now, so just depends on how often you change cars I guess.
    #21
  23. copperband
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    copperband Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Good point about the instand dating of consumer electonics,in fact I will sell my existing Pioneer HU to buy the AVIC-D3, had I paid the £500 out on BMW upgrade I would have to pay the same but have to send it all back.At least this way I can sell it on for a few hunderd?
    The problem I find with the Bose and most other incar systems is that they are just not made to play music loudly. I had the full Bose in my RX8 at great extra cost and it just wan't loud enough.Don't get me wrong I turn it down in area's where there are people around to avoid the CHAV bootshaking embarressment factor but on a nice run I like to be able to play loud distortion free tunes:icon_thumright:
    I will also change the front speakers and use my own amps.Does JamS3 have any pics or details on here of his set up do you know?
    #22
  24. JamS3
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    JamS3 Active Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Don't have any details listed on here apart from my vehicle spec below but am willing to tell!
    #23
  25. normski
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    normski Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    If the BOSE in the S3 isn't loud enough, you need to turn your hearing aid up m8.
    #24
  26. newbiecrg
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    newbiecrg windsurfer

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Just one thing! As some users here the S3 was just the car I was looking for so I really like it!

    I have to tell you though, if, by any chance or for a split second you worry about the money you spend on petrol be careful with your choice!! I knew beforehand what it was to have the S3, what I mean is I had no worries whatsoever about the costs of running a 2.0 TFSI engine so I was prepared for the reality... The S3 is great, superb if you want but that comes with a price wich is fuel! I would order it again today but the S3 keeps asking for speed and for petrol!

    But the smile it puts in my face is priceless!!

    Pedro

    P.S.: And mine is in standard tune... which is plenty.... for now!
    #25
  27. markwiggy
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    markwiggy Third Gear

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    #26
  28. jamiekip
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    jamiekip Guest

    [Apr 26, 2007]
    markwiggy - that's really interesting to hear - I was set on a life of regular fill ups with v-power - shell must love me!!!
    #27
  29. Spook
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    Spook Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Anybody running these 'ere new S3's on 95 RON fuel? If so, any differences noticed re. performance and fuel consumption from 98RON?

    I ran my 8L S3 exclusively on 95RON for 6.5 years without any problems, so just wondered whether the same could be said of the new S3.....
    #28
  30. AL_B
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    AL_B Active Member

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Approaching the start of the red zone on mine now on its first ever tank. Not chimed yet, but its done 229 miles, and overall mpg is slowly creeping up, now at 20mpg. The old S3 used to do 260-270 to the chime on my daily commute. Hope this will do the same. But I am expecting less to be honest, that tubro is addictive. :)

    AL
    #29
  31. newbiecrg
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    newbiecrg windsurfer

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    [Apr 26, 2007]
    Mine is with 4600Km already!! I did 4600Km in a week!!! I got a reason for that though...

    Fuel consumption is around 11.5-12L/100Km (I have to check mpg) The problem is that the car asks for the right foot to be heavy! eheh! Just love it! I should be illegal this car.... the arrogance it show overtaking and picking up speed going up in inclined roads is just devastating!!!

    Love it! Love its simplicity and lack of complexity! It's a normal car (not exotica) that just goes! What else could we ask for?

    Pedro
    #30
  32. normski
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    normski Member

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    [Apr 27, 2007]
    My only other option was the R32, and that car is bloody horrendous on fuel, so I can live with the S3.
    #31
  33. Prawn
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    Prawn My other car is a MINI!!!!

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    [Apr 27, 2007]
    if you had put just a single tank of V-power in it im sure you wouldnt have gone back........

    the manual even says the S3 SHOULD be run on 97RON or higher fuel, so putting 95 in it is just madness......

    ive run my A3 1.8T almost exclusively on 99RON V-power sinse christmas, and ive twice put esso 97 RON fuel in it, and noticed an obvious difference, and never want to go back to it. i can only imagine that on 95 RON fuel it would run like a bag of nails......

    also- when the car was standard, and i did put 95 RON fuel in it, i got better economy with V-power, so the cost was offset against improved economy anyway!¬
    #32
  34. TDI-line
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    TDI-line Uber Post Whore

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    [Apr 27, 2007]
    Buy a house.
    #33
  35. markwiggy
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    markwiggy Third Gear

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    [Apr 27, 2007]

    Should improve matey, i don't think I am driving any differently still giving it welly when conditions allow. Drove into Wales yesterday approx 40 miles and was surprised I had achieved 31mpg even though I had driven quite hard when not in built up areas or on the motorway.

    I use V-Power no point in having an S3 if your not going to maximise the potential IMO.

    Mark
    #34
  36. newbiecrg
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    newbiecrg windsurfer

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    [Apr 27, 2007]
    Same here! We do not have Shell here (last year sold everything to Repsol!!) but I only use 98RON petrol on my S3, will never try 95, I don´t want to confuse the ECU! lol

    Pedro
    #35
  37. Irish
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    Irish Member

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    [Apr 30, 2007]
    In ROI some bright spark decided we would not get 98 RON anymore so I have no choice but to run my S3 on 95. It runs fine with it to be honest although I have nothing to compare it to.
    #36
  38. newbiecrg
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    newbiecrg windsurfer

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    [May 1, 2007]
    The friend of mine of the TT has put, by mistake, one tank of 95, he reckons there is a difference... It states in Audi manual that 95 can be used with a slight decrease in power. I suppose it might not be noticiable in everyday driving but I want only the best for my S3...

    Pedro
    #37
  39. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [May 1, 2007]
    Intertesting thread. I moved away from Audi to BMW, although not a 3series, as in my mind the S3 isn't worth the money.

    If you search back through the posts about the S3 I was one of the few that actually liked the intial pics and sepc etc but when I went to look at one at the dealers soon changed my mind. The difference over my then a3 s-line in looks was minimal.

    I also think the asking price is a little high especially when you add a few options to it. Is the S3 a £30K car? To me no.

    Coming onto an Audi forum to ask if an Audi is pref over a BMW probably isn't your best starting point. Do a search fro BMW on here and I'm sure you'll find every thread is realated to how common/**** they are, how all the drivers of them are arrogant (oh the irony after reading this I earn/posses more than you attitude by some in this thread)

    As others have said get your backside down to the dealers and drive both cars.

    Good luck with whichever you choose.

    J.
    #38
  40. sat1983
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    sat1983 Member

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    [May 1, 2007]
    Your best place to ask a question like this is a website like www.honestjohn.co.uk

    You get plenty of good advice on there, unbiased too.
    #39
  41. Spin140
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    Spin140 Active Member

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    [May 1, 2007]

    J, is right a nice long drive in both cars should seal it for you, if any doubts about fuel economy then the BMW will be the one for you.

    I guess the S3 would get my vote against the 330D but mainly because its a new model/variant and all the hype makes it hard to resist, Go drive.....:)
    #40

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