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SE handling

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

  1. mfspen
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    mfspen Member

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    A question for A3 SE owners :-

    As my signature shows, I currently drive an A3 S-Line, and I find it unacceptably hard on many road surfaces. If I decide to get another A3 next time, I would either get a Sport or SE.

    The SE would obviously sort out the ride quality problem, but what is the handling like ? I would be interested to hear SE owners views on this.
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  2. GeoffT
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    GeoffT Member

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    I have a Sport not an SE. I test drove both a Sport and an S-Line. I found the S-Line to be too firm for my liking. It always seemed to be twitchy even on road that I had driven before and thought had a reasonable surface. The Sport is a good compromise, I think, it is still firmish and handles really well, but is far more relaxing to drive on the UKs dodgy road surfaces than the S line. I didn't drive an SE because I prefer the spec of the Sport. I know you could always spec an SE to have sports seats etc but I'm not sure how cost effective that is. As far as I know the only thing you can't spec is the 3 spoke sport steering wheel, and SE always has a 4 spoke.
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  3. RobinA3
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    RobinA3 Active Member

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    I am pretty sure that the Sport and S-Line have the same suspension set up, the S-Line is only a interior and exterior styling package.
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  4. paul051
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    paul051 Member

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    Sline is lower than the sport!
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  5. GeoffT
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    GeoffT Member

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    And has larger dia wheels as standard. Definite difference in ride quality in any case.
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  6. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member

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    Unless, of course, you have an S-tronic gearbox, then you get a 3-spoke steering wheel as standard on the SE.
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  7. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Depends if you rate the handling of the S-line,mfspen.
    Although the ride of the SE and Sport is better,the handling is worse.
    Lots more bodyroll,lots less grip.
    If you try and chuck it into a corner like you do your S-line,you'll get a shock.
    I bloody did,that's for sure !
    One of those "oh christ" moments ! (that was a sport I was driving)
    FWIW,I don't like the S-line ride too.
    But I rate handling as more important,so I suffer it.
    All about priorities I suppose.
    I know stodgy handling will annoy me more often than a hard ride.
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  8. rich1068
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    rich1068 Member

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    Another idea would be to fit Koni FSDs but keep the standard S-Line springs. I did and the difference is quite noticable. A less jarring ride over uneven surfaces but little or no compromise in the handling when you're pushing it.
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  9. jasaudi
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    jasaudi Member

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    I have had an SE and a Sport and when I cam to buy my latest car I chise the Sport for exactly the reasons above.

    I wanted slightly tigehter suspension that the SE and less body roll and wanted a mpre comfortable ride than the S-Line or S3

    What I write now will strike a chord with some and offend others so I apologise now

    S3 - Great fun car to drive, but suspension a bit like a skateboard, hard as nails. Not great when you are getting on in years or live in the UK where the road surface is ****

    S-Line - Great fun car to drive, but suspension still a bit on the hard side. In fairness I never drove an S-Line with anything else other than 18" wheels

    Sport - I am biased - Softer suspension and you can spec it with 17" wheels. Now, I do not know if the suspension on the sport and S-Line are different, but suspect that they are but the thing I would say is that 17" wheels and the Sport set up give a great car to drive and chuck around and give a degree of comfort on long drives on bad road surfaces. I would have bought the S-Line (17" wheels not available on S-Line when I bought) but a friend suggested I went for the Sport with 17"and am I glad that I did. OK it prob cost me a bit more to spec it up to the same level, but I think it was worth it as the car is superb. So Superb car to drive as you get a great balance of fun with the practicality of having a more comfortable car to drive.

    SE - not an option for me as they don't do the 3.2 in SE spec and also it was a bit rolly

    My advice - go and take out a car with Sport suspension and 17" wheels
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  10. jasaudi
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    jasaudi Member

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    Interesting aside I believe that a recent Evo article on the Golf showed that the cars with 17" rather than 18" wheels produced faster lap times :)
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  11. MJZ 6370
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    MJZ 6370 Member

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    Unless you have the MFSW with DSG and then it is a 4 spoke wheel like mine.

    I have an SE, the ride is acceptable but I think it is made harder by the 17" wheels. Handling is OK not as good as my previous A4 sport but it was very hard.
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  12. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Were they on the same tyres ?
    If they weren't,it's hardly a scientific comparison.
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  13. OutLore
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    OutLore VOIP Dude

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    I actually think they have softened up the S-Line suspension since 2005. My car now seems softer than my 2005, although that was a TDi so the spring rate at the front could have been higher.

    I have no complaints about the suspension set up - I actually prefer a hard ride than a soft one (oo er)... softies make me feel sick.
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  14. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    I have an SE and test drove a Sport at launch. While firm, I thought the ride was just too harsh and regardless of this, my wife and I preferred the different standard options with the SE (cruise, centre armrest, ambient lighting) and so ordered one instead.

    The SE is still quite firm and although it rolls a bit, the car leans well on its weight and it hangs on surprisingly well in corners. I switched to 17" Star alloys a year ago (now standard on new SEs) and this hasn't really affected the ride quality but the steering feel is much improved.

    However, I do accept the motoring press' criticism of the A3's ride and handling, in all models. It doesn't excel in either department really; try any Ford Focus (the old or the new one) and you'll understand that you can have both. Even my old ST170 had a better ride than my SE and in terms of handling there was no contest. You don't buy an A3 for how it drives unfortunately.
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  15. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    Absolutely spot on.
    My car is what I call a 'chuck it in and hope' car.
    You get no real feedback,you just have to rely on trust and hope.
    It's also a car that's only happy when it's gripping.
    When it starts sliding,it gets really,really 'orrible.
    Woolier than St.Andrews.
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  16. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    By coincidence, I drove my Dad's 2007 Focus Zetec TDCi over the weekend and it was a somewhat humbling experience. The refinement at motorway speed wasn't much different to my Sportback, but in every other area the Ford trounced it; the low speed ride in particular was stunning. Quiet and controlled, it felt great and of course, push on and there's tonnes of feel through the steering wheel and a very engaging chassis.

    We can only hope Audi use this new Focus variant to benchmark the next A3. Interestingly, Autocar reported last week that the revised A3 due out next year will be much stiffer, so perhaps this will help.
    #16

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