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Time to stop lurking....

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by ChrisBuer, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. ChrisBuer
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    ChrisBuer New Member

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    [Dec 11, 2007]
    Hi all,

    I guess it's about time that I registered here as I've been lurking for months now (oooh that doesn't sound good does it haha!).

    Anyway, I've been on Tyresmoke.net for a few years now and decided to come over to an Audi dedicated site. At the moment I have a MKV R32 tuned by APS in Brackley. She's a good car and goes well, but after having a test drive of an S3, she's got to go.

    However, I'm sitting on the fence as to what car I'm actually going to go for. My current choices will be either an Exige or the S3. I'm also aiming to get the car for September 2008 so I've still got a bit of time to decide on what I want.

    I know I'll probably get a bias answer here, but what is living with the new S3 like? I only really use my car at weekends and possibly once in the week as I commute to work on the train. However, I'm not sure that I could live with an Exige due to the lack of practicality in comparison to the S3. Plus I do like my extras (heated seats, 4WD, all weather performance etc).

    Anyway, I just guess that I'm looking for reassurances that I'm not swapping my R32 for something that is very similar?

    If I did get the S3, then I'd definitely have it remapped at APS, so performance would be close to the Exige.

    Cheers.

    Chris :thumbsup:
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  3. julians
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    julians Member

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    [Dec 11, 2007]
    Performance will only be close to an exige in a straight line, an exige will out handle and out grip an S3 in the dry on a smooth road, but an S3 will be far better in the wet.

    I used to own an elise,so close'ish to an exige and currently own an S3. Completely different cars, they cant be compared except perhaps on price, they both do what they're intended to do pretty well, but they both intend to do totally different things. You need to decide what you want from a car first.

    I'm probably not best placed to answer what living with an S3 is like as I've only had it 2 weeks, but first impressions are good. Seems a bit thirsty on fuel for the sort of driving I do, averaging 17mpg at the moment. Other than that its fine, its quick in a straight line, handles reasonably, immense traction in all conditions, takes four adults in comfort, and will take roof bars for me to put my mountain bike on. Cheap to insure (for me anyway), servicing is reasonable and is band F for tax.
    #2
  4. N8
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    N8 Kowalski Details VCDS Map User

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    [Dec 11, 2007]
    Get some coilovers and anti roll bars to improve handling.
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  5. s3mike
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    s3mike Member

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    [Dec 11, 2007]
    According to Lotus standard exige does 0-100 in 13.2 seconds. S3 was tested by Autocar at 13.6, so there is not a lot in it. Exige is quicker 0-60 because of light weight but the high revving Toyota engine has to be thrashed to make it go.

    Going off my Brother's Elise 111s the Exige would be much stiffer than the S3 and have higher cornering speeds and better poise.

    As for practicality I couldn't really live with an Elise and I think the Exige is even more hardcore. They are nice cars for short journeys and occasional use but on Motorways they fidget too much and you have to constantly correct to keep the thing going straight!

    I almost bought an Elise 111R but decided that for road use I would rather have a more comfortable car with more creature comforts.
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  6. rich164h
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    rich164h Member

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    [Dec 11, 2007]
    I've just bought an A3 3.2 s-line after recently selling my Vauxhall VXR220 (tuned to 260bhp - before that I had a tuned 2.2 vx220 so I've owned that sort of car for 3.5 years as my only car doing 25k miles per year) and I can assure you that the performance difference between the two cars just doesn't compare I'm afraid.

    Ok, so my VXR was faster than an exige but the handling etc is similar and the A3 is not a patch on those other two cars. Even straight line speed the exige would be faster (albeit marginally to 100, but a lot faster to 60), but that's really not the issue, it's the weight that's the killer with the A/S3. you just can't get away from the fact that they weigh half a ton more so the braking and cornering in the exige/vx are in a different league.

    For a driving experience go for the exige (or a VX) everytime, but if you need something more practical (as I eventually did) the S3 would be a good compromise. It's this reason that I've bought the car I did - I just couldn't face life in a normal boring 1.8 rep mobile. With the S3 you get a great package in a still very fast car that's more practical and with build quality that lotus (remember that lotus built the vx's) can only dream of.

    That said, there isn't a day that goes by where I wish I hadn't kept the VXR. The A3 is pretty dull in comparison but needs must and I certainly couldn't find anything (short of an M3) that gives a similar driving experience together with the practicality that I now need.

    I'm not sure that helps, but I'd suggest going with your gut instinct. It's perfectly possible to use the lotus cars everyday (assuming it's not a k-series engined one!!) but some people just can't live without the creature comforts that a "normal" car offers. There's nothing wrong with that at all though, but it is a decision that only you can make :thumbsup:

    Rich
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  7. ChrisBuer
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    ChrisBuer New Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    Thanks everyone for the comments and also the honesty! A lot of forums would have dismissed the Exige, especially forums dedicated to certain marques.

    Anyway, yes I agree, I do have big decisions to make. I also did mean to add that I would possibly be looking at the Exige S, rather than the standard Exige.

    In the past I've had a Caterham Superlight (1.6 version), a Caterham R300 and a Lotus Elise Sport 135 (Series 2), so I'm well versed in these sorts of cars. However after selling the Elise, I bought my R32 which has been a good car. However it is fairly expensive to run and with the type of driving I do (plus distances I cover), I do get terrible fuel consumption. On top of this, my other half has a practical car that we use during the week to get back and forward to the train station, so whatever car I bought would be tucked up in the garage most of the week.

    I have to be honest though, the main thing that is putting me off the Exige, especially this time of year, are the creature comforts. The other night I had to get to the vets fairly quickly and "make progress". In December evening conditions, the R32 was superb and the S3 would probably be even better. Heated seats on, air con on, great traction, fantastic torque!

    The Exige in comparison though would be more of a meal. Slippery tyres, harder, more rattles and probably (in this example) making progress in December conditions would be more stressful.

    HOWEVER, for that special car that when it comes out of the garage will always put a smile on your face, theres really no comparison. I would also imagine that with the hardtop roof, it's a bit more of a "car" than my old Elise was with it's soft-top. I know the Exige in the right conditions will be more interesting to drive and cheaper to run than the S3, but will I miss the all weather ability of the Audi? Not really a question anyone can answer but myself.

    Perhaps I need to test drive them both and see what I think before thinking about it any further. :think:


    Cheers!

    Chris.
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  8. julians
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    julians Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    I had a hardtop for my elise, and to be honest it made it worse to live with than the soft top, the noise from the engine seemed to be amplified by bouncing off the hardtop and reverberating round the cabin, whereas with the soft top if just passed straight though. Maybe they've improved things in recent years.

    I've got a Caterham as my 'purely for driving' car, Its looking like nearly the perfect combination , an S3 for everyday and a caterham for weekend and trackdays, the only downside is that I dont think you can fit a towbar to an S3, but I stand to be corrected. So I cant tow the caterham to the track.

    I guess it depends on the cost to change, but I like my next car to be significantly different to my previous one, otherwise I feel that its not worth spending the money. By most account the S3 is a better drivers car than the R32, but I'm not sure it would be sufficiently different for me if I was in your position.

    What about a 1 year old BMW z4m coupe, best of both worlds possibly, a fast drivers car that can also do comfort.
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  9. s3mike
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    s3mike Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    I'm not denying the handling / braking - I know that form experience.

    But a lot quicker 0-60? 4.9 vs 5.6 seconds.. and 30-70 times are about the same.

    S3 weighs a lot more but also has twice the torque of an Exige and it develops it at 2500 revs versus 6000 ( or so ) in the Exige!

    The 111r I drove didn't feel like it would do 0-60 quickly unless you did a full bore clutch drop start.

    Your VX would have been a 2.0 Turbo I guess and the power delivery would be a lot better than in the Elise.
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  10. rich164h
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    rich164h Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    The standard VXR (not a standard VX Turbo) gets to 60 in 4.2, mine (with 40bhp more and a third more torque) was more like 3.9 vs the Exige S's time of 4.1 (as I said, it was quicker than an exige) so that's almost 50% more force acting on your body when you accelerate compared to an S3. That is noticable. It's the same difference as between the S3 and a bog standard 1.8TFSI A3.

    The lotus cars are a bit different to the VX's though as the toyota engines are already highly tuned so after market modifications are never going to create massives gain, also the engines are such that all the power is at the top end meaning that you have to thrash them to get the most out of them. The VXT/VXR's with that turbo means a lot of low down torque. It wil be this high reving nature that gives the impression that exige/elises not as quick as they perhaps should be.

    In my mind anyway, the key difference between the S3 and these lotus based cars is that due to the low seating position, light weight and minimal sound deadening, the lotus makes 50mph feel like 100mph, whereas the Audi makes 100mph seem like 50mph. Even if on paper there isn't a huge difference, the experiences are worlds apart. :icon_thumright:
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  11. s3mike
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    s3mike Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    True enough, I was really talking about the standard Exige - the S has a supercharger so should have a lot more low down torque anyway.

    I know what you mean about the feeling of speed though, the S3 does seem to mask the speed - I often find myself going way quicker than I think on back roads. It's very noticeable compared to our S2000 which feels much more on-edge - a bit like the Elise / Exige.
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  12. Shao_khan
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    Shao_khan Member

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    [Dec 12, 2007]
    Oh dear - I see they let anyone in here these days......... :p

    The S3 is good - sold mine 2 months ago and havent missed it yet though, granted I am a car short as my new one was rejected :(

    I think in your described usage the S3 would be good and better than the R, but I dont think it would compare to anything like the Exige.

    Would you not consider an older VX 220T? They are a very capable car, will cost you less and can get a fair degree of performance from them - give you spare cash to put an older car on the drive just in case you ever need a quick trip to the vets in the future. MAte has an new MR2 and its cost him a small fortune to tune it - Turbo, new pistons, etc - I guess a lot of these mods would be aplicable to the Lotus cars?
    #11

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