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S3 - an ideal tool for trip to Alps - tested

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by rgb8888, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. rgb8888
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    rgb8888 New Member

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    Often it seems that Forums are full of people's problems so I just thought I would pen a quick note detailing how impressed I was with my S3 on last weeks 1600 mile return trip from Norfolk to the French Alps.

    After studying the forecast in search of snow I decided late last Sat that a trip to Val d'Isere was on. So quickly booked a ferry, stuffed a bag with ski gear, organised foreign insurance cover and checked car over: including levels increasing tyre pressure to the recommended max to cope with 3 people and all gear and left at 6am for trip to Dover.

    The S3 performed brilliantly and was the perfect tool for the job never skipping a beat in its near constant use (approx 11 hours out and 11 back).

    It was comfortable, refined and all the gizmos came in very useful:
    Quattro - all roads in Val d'Ise were covered in snow and ice so came in very useful, also helping feeling surefooted in the continuous rain on the way back

    ESP, Traction, ABS - all were used and very useful and reassuring on very icy roads

    Heated seats ---> leather and -10 degrees doesn't go well!!!!

    Cruise Control - worked a treat especially on the deserted auto routes

    269 BHP and 268 Torques - (thanks to AMD) made progress effortless

    Spilt seats - enabled accommodation of 3 pairs of skis, poles, boots and large bags all inside car

    I have done the trip numerous times before using my father's S2 and RS2 Avants but these only average approx 18mpg so to use only 260 litres of 98 Ron was a refreshing change, and with careful packing the S3 can cope with all the gear you need.

    With the new French strict stance on speed I chose to cruise at a steady 90-99mph on auto routes - instant ban at 100+ according to EVO and friend's experience.

    Total trip computer stats: Driving 22h:30 mins, covering 1618 miles at average 72mph and 30.8 mpg.

    The car didn't use a drop of oil and thanks to the excellent seats I finished the trip with no back pain (unlike the Impreza I was using last week). What was most pleasing was the computer said it needed a service at 4300 miles prior to leaving and 5100 on return (thanks to the long journey) - so almost free usage!!!

    Only problems - car ended up completely filthy and my armrest is now stuck in the up position!
    #1
  2. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    EXCELLENT! sounds like you had a nice road trip :racer: , what wheels may I ask, did you use for your trip to the Alps?
    #2
  3. FactionOne
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    FactionOne Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    ...And what rubber?

    Regards,

    Rob.
    #3
  4. Randomjim
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    Randomjim Active Member

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    S3 next :arco:
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  5. Aky
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    Aky Aky

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    already purchased - can't wait til next summer when it starts to explore europe. Nice write up - didn't know they sold 98 on the continent!:jester:
    #5
  6. rgb8888
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    rgb8888 New Member

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    I have the standard 17" Avus wheels with Conti Sport Contact 2 tyres on all 4 corners. Tyres are all still very fresh.

    If I was spending a long time in the alps snow/winter tyres would be ideal - all French and Swiss appear to have these and I have used them lots on front wheel drive hire cars - they make a massive difference.

    Because I decided to go last minute I didn't have time to invest in some snow chains or snow socks but a pair of these for front wheels would be a good idea - infact I think in heavy snow the authorities will not let you up the mountain without them.
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  7. MattS3
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    MattS3 Member

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    Glad to hear you had a good trip Rob, you can tell me all about it on Monday.

    p.s. I did Snetterton today, you'd have loved that too. Greasy enough to be fun, and no hardship for the tyres either.
    #7
  8. jcs356
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    jcs356 Brum brum

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    I took my S3 down to the south of France in September. OK, the weather wasn't as challenging - but I second your comment about the seats. 730 miles driving in a day with no problems - those recaros are so good.

    Only problem was my drivers window getting stuck down just as we were coming back thanks to the known problem of the plastic clip breaking.

    I think I'd look at getting cruise control retro-fitted if I were making the journey regularly.
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  9. jonS3
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    jonS3 Member

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    thats good going! and very good mpg!

    I went down to the alps in March in an A6 3.0tdi Quattro S-Line and got caught doing about 115mph, they were quite good about it, just an 80 euro fine. Going down again in a few weeks, this time in a 3.0 allroad, so will make sure I keep to below 100!
    #9
  10. Mo-S3
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    Mo-S3 Member

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    Great to hear positive reviews. Sounds like you had a great time. Did you manage to get any awesome photos? Scenery must have been spectacular.
    I agree, the Recaro's are excellent for comfort and support. Wouldnt want to be in any other seat if i was making long distance trips.
    I had the full leather in my S3 too but got it retrimmed in half alcantara. Massive difference and massive improvement.
    #10
  11. fasteddie
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    fasteddie Member

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    Hi, this is good news as I am planning the same trip in Jan. Any recomendations regarding chains/socks and shouldn't all 4 wheels be shod in the snow? tyre choice? any help on this could prove useful, I am also on the hunt for some cheap 16/17" wheels for winter.
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  12. darko
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    darko Member

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    you can get chains for 18" wheels - i use a set every year time i go to the mountains, bit of a pain to remove though if they have been on for a while and the snow / slush has built up around the wheel arches. buy some from a decent supplier and show them your wheels, they will recommend ones that dont mark the alloy and fit properly. The shop I bought mine from tried 3 sets to get ones that fitted perfectly, worth the effort
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  13. darko
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    darko Member

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    ps - dont forget if you get stuck going up hill in the snow, turn the traction control off - otherwise the ecu cuts the power to all wheels !
    #13
  14. darko
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    darko Member

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    pps - from memory you can get a set of 17" steel wheels from a vw beetle that will fit the S3 so you can leave your nice wheels at home warm in the garage ;)
    #14
  15. fasteddie
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    fasteddie Member

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    you're kidding, the A3 is the same fitment as a VW Beetle? That's top I was looking for a cheap set of wheels for this trip. Can anybody confirm this?
    #15
  16. 347
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    347 Member

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    i think darko is refering to the latest beetle which is built on the golf 4 platform
    so yes the wheels should fit , not sure about the et ofset being correct though
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  17. jcs356
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    jcs356 Brum brum

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    Yep, same PCD between the beetle and the A3, although I thought that the offset was slightly different(?) for the beetle than all of the cars on this floorpan - or I could be wrong.

    Otherwise, anything as showing as fitting the Golf Mk4, Bora, Octavia, Toledo, Leon, or TT will fit - providing you go for 17 inch to clear the S3's front brakes.
    #17
  18. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    You can fit a set of 16" wheels from Golf Mk4 V6 4Motion, they will clear your brakes, so long as they are standard!
    #18
  19. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    i have spike-spiders on my car, and i'm very happy with them. they're so easy to fit and remove...
    #19
  20. rgb8888
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    rgb8888 New Member

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    The snow socks I was considering were "AutoSock" which are available from www.roofbox.co.uk/DT

    I was a bit late getting them as I decided to go last minute but I saw a few sets on BMWs over there.

    In the manual it says to put snow chains on the front wheels, but then it contradicts itself stating that not suitable for 17" wheels - which is standard.

    I would agree with the comments above re. chains as the fit and quality can vary a lot - choose a good set to avoid alloy damage.

    Really though the quattro can cope with most conditions brilliantly so if I went again I would just take socks and store them in the spare wheel.

    If I was going to be there for a while then snow tyres are awesome. It transformed the FWD hire cars I have previously used so on the quattro there should be no stopping you!

    One extra thing. Audi wanted £50+ to switch the dip over on my headlights. I was planning on using tape but on ferry purchased some Eurolites which shows you exactly on most vehicles where to place the opaque stickers to dip lights correctly - about £6
    #20
  21. SimonP
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    SimonP Member

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    S3's have a nice little lever within the headlamp assembly that swaps between left and right hand drive. £50 is taking the proverbial for a five minute job. I usually swap them over when sat in the ferry queue - tends to get funny looks as you take off all the extraneous plastic shite that covers the engine bay first before casually flicking the lever. Both my S3's have had this feature, both facelift cars, one X-reg, one last of the line 03 reg.

    Sadly they cost reduced it out of our A4 which doesn't have this excellent feature, I just stuck them pointing right down and carried on regardless. I'll not start my usual rant here about things the customer might actually find useful being left as a feature...

    Anyone had any experience with these auto-sock things? Have just been told that I won't get chains on either the S3 (225/45-17) or the A4 (235/45-17) due to their silly UK spec wide tyres. If anyone has successfully used chains on these sizes without shredding wheel arches, brake linings, liners etc please let us know.
    #21
  22. Jampublic
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    Jampublic Taking it easy..

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    rgb8888 sounds like a good drive!

    I did the same last year for a new year and again in feb, great car for the job. Then again a summer trip to the south of france, is even better warm weather, surf and sand! ;)

    Even when roads where closed to cars with no chains, you can carry on no problems.

    I hope i can get another trip this season. :sly:

    Enjoy
    #22

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