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Not perfect but perfect for me: RS3 owner review

Discussion in 'RS3 Forum' started by MBK, May 4, 2012.

  1. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Hello all, as I'm new to the site I thought I'd start of with a post about how I arrived here and my initial thoughts about my RS3.

    Would you be surprised if I told you my arrival here was hugely influenced by a year in a Skoda Fabia VRS 1.4 TSi? About 3 years ago I decided to take a break from performance cars, a new baby arrived, the track day R26.R special was sold which left me with just a work leased Mini Cooper S. As luck often has it work then decided to pull lease cars in response to the recession, I was left needing a car quickly. Unsure what the future would bring and still wanting a daily driver with the performance of the Cooper S, without the premium cost, the little Fabia VRS its turn of pace, decent economy, comfortable ride and magic gearbox fitted the bill. But what has this got to do with an RS3, well more than anything that gearbox and the dual personality that it makes available in the car.

    So 3 years on and with the recession weathered well (so far), I found myself in the lucky position – and I do count my blessings I know it’s been different for some - to think about a performance car again. Now a bit like the Titanic film there are no twists in the tale - I bought an RS3, that’s why I’m posting here but I thought you might like to know more about how I reached that decision and my initial thoughts on the car.

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    To set the context my petrolhead journey started in the likes of Pugeot 205 GTis and the later 306 GTi-6. Then came the late 90’s and the inevitable Impreza and Evo that ruled the era unless you had far more serious means. The late 90s and early 2000s were the days of the B-road Sunday blast for me, A4059, Felindre top, Llyn Brianne or now infamous Evo triangle anyone? With the roads ever more congested I moved to trackdays, with a couple of TT’s thrown in as daily drivers, which offered all that fun with much less risk and a big realisation my driving could improve an awful lot! So a couple of Westfields with bike and car engines, an S2000 and this utterly fantastic R26.R track day special later I had scratched the track day itch.

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    Buying another performance car left me with almost too much choice. The M3 was first out of the running, a great machine but by the time the engine has woken up the speeds are seriously big numbers. Next up was the C63 and in all honesty I could easily be posting this message on the AMG forum, the C63 is a fabulous machine, the 6.2 litre V8 growl is pure wild animal, and if we lived in a warmer and drier climate (with cheaper super unleaded!) it would have been the choice. When you remember you live in an often wet and windy country the security of Quattro suddenly takes on a different appeal. Then there were a stream of used 911s but the practicality is limited, the earlier Porsche semi auto transmission leaves something to be desired and I wanted something I could use rather than a garage queen. The spectre of the Nissan GTR also loomed large, 40K+ buys a remarkable performance machine and if performance is everything it’s hard to argue with – as long as you have deep pockets for the running costs. I can only imagine GTR owners have huge reserves of self restraint because I’m not sure how long I’d have a licence if I drove one every day. That left some other usual suspects namely the WRX STi 320R or Evo 330 SST, both have similar power to the RS3 and it’s hard to ignore the pace of the STi around the Isle of Man in the hands of Mark Higgins. The 330 SST is also quick with a few mild tweaks. What stopped me? Well I’ve been there before the Evo IX MR FQ360 was probably the pinnacle of the 4wd turbo nutters and I just felt their day had passed – big insurance, big tax, big fuel bills and all.

    As this is an Audi forum I will quickly skip over the likes of the A7 which, on 20” wheels ought to be supplied with an Osteopath, oh and for such a big car why is there so little room inside? That still left 2 other cars to be considered – the TTRS and Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy. Lets deal with the TTRS first. I loved my previous TT 3.2 DSG and later Quattro Sport but having kids gives the TT a different perspective, the rear seats must border on child cruelty.

    [​IMG]

    Leaving the Renaultsport Megane 265 as the last alternative to the RS3 might seem like blasphemy on this site but I wonder if you’ve driven one? After the R26.R I know just how good the little Renaults are and if I had wanted a more track day biased machine the Renault would have been the choice but like the TT the RS 265 fell at the all rounder and practicality hurdle.

    For several weeks I looked at RS3s thought they might be the answer and each time decided no, without ever driving one, which I can now say was a mistake. Too many were way over list price standard cars and none were close enough to encourage me to travel. Until this, now my car appeared in Cardiff Audi.

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    There was one show stopper – this interior shot

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    I’m glad I went to see the car (with my sunglasses packed just in case) because it looks nothing like this in reality, the red is far more subtle and actually lifts the whole cabin. It’s not a colour scheme I would have chosen yet the Audi Exclusive trims are nice to live with. The first few feet on the test drive told me this car was right for me, the weight of the steering, throttle response all as I wanted – in no small part due to the excellent Fabia I’d become used to. A deal was struck that day and I would highly recommend dealing with Steph Gosling at Cardiff Audi, she listened to the deal I wanted and achieved the right trade in price.

    [​IMG]

    That just leaves the car to talk about and 3 weeks in I am still grinning. As per the thread title the RS3 isn’t perfect but it is perfect for me right now. It’s not perfect because yes, as pointed out by the likes of Evo magazine it doesn’t have the same tactility as something like the Megane. The road testers though spend far too long in sunny climates and on track to realise the rest of us spend far more time on the drenched M4 – here that ultimate lack of feedback becomes a positive, the RS3 is stable and assured whatever the weather and that is all good with me. Away from the mundane commute the RS3 really starts to shine. On my favourite A roads it is devastatingly fast in any conditions and yet somehow remains a composed place to sit. With the sport button pressed and S engaged the aural drama makes me laugh out loud. With the sport button deselected and placed in Drive the Mrs remains happy despite covering the ground at the same pace – that’s genius. Far from the passion and soulless descriptions given by many esteemed journalists any passengers who have asked ‘to see what it can do’ end up either in fits of giggles or a stream of expletives. I’m sure many exotic cars really do have more soul but for most of us that isn’t the reference point. I’d also happily congratulate anyone who buys a 1M, it certainly looks the part and if you have the sideways skills of Chris 'Monkey' Harris it is surely an engaging machine. Maybe I’m alone on this but I can remember the last time I intentionally went sideways on a roundabout – yes that was never - well OK maybe once and that almost caused an accident in the S2000.

    For me the RS3 is an automotive iPhone, competent at everything, fast, intuitive, looks good, makes me smile and it just works as it should. Yes, a few similarly special cars have better abilities in one key area, the C63’s growl, the Megane’s feel, the 1M’s scoops, bulges and hooliganism but, for me, none have the all round abilities of the RS3. On a wet Monday the RS3 moves seamlessly between quickly despatching lines of slow moving traffic to a docile auto capable of dealing with the city rush hour while still providing a great place to sit and relax with all the entertainment anyone could require. The RS3 is quite rightly an Evo magazine 4 star car because outright sporting ability is judged above all else in that rating, yet in the most positive sense of the meaning the RS3 is the Jack of All Trades, certainly better than master of one.

    [​IMG]
    #1
    CatnipRS3, Shadowman and Paullie like this.
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  3. jerseypaul
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    jerseypaul Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Superb write up there.
    Totally agree.
    Coming from an RS2 with loads of character I think they did a great job adding all the right elements to this car.
    sport button gear changes are so addictive - it just barks at you.
    For the real world there's not a lot of machines quicker point to point on the road.
    m3 on certain tracks might have it.
    but with the wife and kids driving home on a rainy night?
    no contest.
    #2
  4. Dave Hedgehog
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    Dave Hedgehog Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    it drives like no other audi i have driven, so hooked up

    not sure why evo had a dig at the interior, its almost the same as the TTRS and I have been in the B8 A4 and A5 and its just as good if not a little better for fit and finish

    it wasnt univerally panned by the press, it did far better in germany in reviews than over here, often out lapping the 1M

    Auto Express did rate it over the 1M in there PCOTY awards, which surprised me

    Audi RS3 | Performance Car of the Year 2011 | Auto Express



    That interior thou! You need to post some better pics because as it stands it needs to be in a TT !!! :)
    #3
  5. CarrG
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    CarrG Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Hello and welcome mate.

    Nice write up and your spot on. My mate has a mappped 1M stunning but as you say UK weather means in reality the RS3 is a better all rounder IMO.

    Your RS originally lived near me. Love it in red. Spent a few months for sale at Bath and Cardiff. I was there a few weeks back and they said it had just gone. Congrats mate hope you have many miles of pleasure. :beerchug:
    #4
  6. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    :) That interior shot is a shocker isn't it, the dangers of flash photography I suspect. If I had judged the car by that picture I wouldn't have even travelled to see it. Will get some better shots when the Quattro weather finally passes. I thought it would be more of a talking point but in the flesh no one seems to notice.
    #5
  7. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Thanks, Steph in sales told me the interesting story of the car, just one of the reasons they were good to deal with, the price was more sensible in Cardiff too! I preferred this one over a dealer demo, fewer miles and probably a lot less test pilots. I wouldn't have built a car to this spec, the bucket seats were my only real want, but the deal was right and the extra toys are a bonus.

    I am enjoying, even sitting in traffic is a pleasure!
    #6
  8. CarrG
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    CarrG Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Yeah I've dealt with Steph and Nick Measures. Ha the price was reduced a few times, good for you. It was causing them a head ache. I sat in it, much better than pics reminded me of an old mk3 colour concept I once had. Buckets are great!

    Driving mine to Llangadog, Brecon later, should be fun!
    #7
  9. Sticks
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    Sticks Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Great write up also totally agree with your comments, I'm glad you made the right decision , I don't miss my e93 m3 one bit
    Welcome to the fold .
    #8
  10. 3DTDi
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    3DTDi Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Great write up mate! Glad your enjoying it
    #9
  11. Moschops
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    Moschops Active Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Hi MBK, nice write and well done on your purchase..:beerchug:

    What's the screen in place of the sat nav screen?
    #10
  12. Paullie
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    Paullie Banana Menace!

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Looks beautiful in red, glad to hear you're loving it! :wub: xx
    #11
  13. Sandra
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    Sandra MODERATOR Staff Member Moderator

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    [May 4, 2012]
    What a fabulous write up. I love the car, especially in red. I hope you enjoy lots of happy safe miles :racer: It. :) x
    #12
  14. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Thank you. It's the handbooks, this was the dealers photo the Nav had been removed for security at the time.
    #13
  15. JA60N JL
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    JA60N JL Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Hi MBK excellent write up, glad your happy with the Rs3 :icon_thumright:
    #14
  16. TerryCTR
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    TerryCTR Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Amazing looking car, great write up - its only helped my jealousy to grow
    #15
  17. elton121272
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    elton121272 Member

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    [May 4, 2012]
    Great write up mate.....written like a 'proper' impartial journalist that lives in the real world.…...I suspect Audi's corporate marketing team will be in touch soon ;-)

    Nice car you have and like most of us on hear you have sampled many a good fine wines in your time and now settled for a nice little Chateauneuf du Pape (I know it's French!)
    #16
  18. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 5, 2012]
    Thanks, I know I didn't mention them in the RS3 review - and I might be making a big leap based on your user name - but we like Type R's (& S2000's) a lot too, fabulous engine when wrung out and most reliable cars we've owned by some distance.
    [​IMG]
    #17
  19. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 5, 2012]
    Thanks I will take journalist as a compliment - my own thoughts were more ramblings of a mildly (?) OCD petrolhead!

    As you mentioned wines I found this description of a Reisling that certainly fits.

    "[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]With its red slate soil and stunningly steep aspect comes this turbo charged apricot, peach and mineral laden, sweet fruited Riesling classic with perfect balancing acidity. Hard to resist now but will age sublimely for several years." (from www.thesecretcallar.co.uk) [/FONT]


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    #18
  20. TerryCTR
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    TerryCTR Member

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    [May 6, 2012]
    Spot on mate although I'm from the ep3 era. I spent 15k modding my first uk one and now currently have a jdm version I went back to as a stop gap and am now struggling to sell to hopefully get an S3 SB on order before its too late.

    Fantastic engines, gearbox etc and the reliability and relatively low fuel consumption was always a big plus point. I went for a TTC S line SE after the ep3 so never did get round to owning an FN2
    #19
  21. longp2
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    longp2 Member

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    [May 8, 2012]
    Great write up, love the interior, I have the same magma red/black in my new S4 and it is a lot more subtle than in any of the photos.
    #20
  22. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 8, 2012]
    Thanks longp2 - I agree, I think these photos do the interior a bit more justice than the dealer shot even so it still looks better again in reality. I looked at an S4 and those magma red/black sports seats would have been my choice too.

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    #21
  23. CarrG
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    CarrG Member

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    [May 8, 2012]
    Looks great. Would you add tints or like it as is? :beerchug:
    #22
  24. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 8, 2012]
    I'm undecided on tints, purely practical they are good for the summer months and look much better than the sun blinds. I had rear tints on the little (also red) Fabia and they looked good so they might be an add at some point.
    #23
  25. Ash B
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    Ash B Well-Known Member

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    [May 8, 2012]
    Looks great mate. Loved the interior can remember having a good look around this when it was at Cardiff Audi.
    Hope to see you at some local meets :thumbsup:
    #24
  26. elton121272
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    elton121272 Member

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    [May 8, 2012]


    Was also a bit of a type r fiend.....great cars....here is the last 2 before I joined audi.....

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    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

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    #25
  27. Ben H
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    Ben H On a journey...

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    [May 9, 2012]
    That is a great write-up. It's good to read what an RS3 is like in the hands of a real person with real-life considerations such as kids.

    I could probably afford an RS3 but have so far resisted, so it's just as well that none have come into close contact with me! Thought I'd show the difference between Brilliant Red S3 and a Misano Red RS3 too. :)

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    #26
  28. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [May 9, 2012]
    Thanks Ash - I'm sure I will make a meet at some point a I remember a few good ones with the TT club.

    I'm liking all the Civic love too, those JDM FD2's were special, I seriously considered a Type R Mugen but after the R26.R there didn't seem as much point and they were a lot of money so the Mrs talked me out of it - and she is still a Type R fan, that earlier pic is her on track at Pembrey. Only one gear change better than the rifle bolt S2000 in my experience and that's the s-tronic because I get the choice (blimey I'm getting old!). I'd very much like to add an Atom to my little fleet, that engine (with or without the charger) and only 500kg to push yes please.

    Ben, thanks, it's great that cars like the S3 and RS3 are around for those of us in the real world with kids, sure I'd have liked the TTRS or a C4S but it's great cars like this exist that can do the family job and still provide a lot of fun. I was happy with my Fabia VRS so I know I'd have been very happy with an S3 too. Interesting comparison between Misano and brilliant red, a friend at work has an A3 Cabrio and there doesn't look much between them in the car park.

    So wet again in Wales today it was good to have the reassurance of quattro, after a few years in r/fwd the difference is stunning.
    #27
  29. CarrG
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    CarrG Member

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    [May 10, 2012]
    Yep Sunny South Wales has been a tad wet this week and it is nice to be able to put the power down as opposed to 360hp through the front wheels. Just down the road from you MBK mate, I'd like to attend a meet.
    #28
  30. AudiNutta
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    AudiNutta Member

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    [Mar 14, 2013]
    Really nice read there, thoroughly enjoyed hearing your thoughts on the car. Whereabouts are you from in South Wales? I live in Blackwood near Caerphilly. Never seen an RS3 on the road yet :(
    #29
  31. MBK
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    MBK Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 14, 2013]
    Thanks, I'm near Swansea, but most days I'm out and about somewhere along the M4 or wider Wales. Like you I've never seen another RS3 on the road and only one other in a dealership window.
    #30

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