1.8T S3 or 3.2 A3??


Registered User
Bit of a situation, was gonna buy a 2001 S3 tomorrow, but just been looking on the net and found some new shape 3.2 A3's for the same price with lower mileage!
Really dont know what to do? What would the S3 have over the newer 3.2?! Bit confused to be honest!


Looking for Boost!
Staff member
Ask yourself this, do you want to own an S3 or an A3? :)

Seriously, if you want a newer car, go for the 3.2, but there are problems with them, something to do with the camchain tensioner or something, much more info in the 8P section regarding the problem. 3.2 likes a drink over a 1.8T, but with the 1.8T, there's more tuning options, so it all depends on what you want from the car. Might need to look into what taxbands they are too, 3.2 is a bit more to tax than an 8L S3 isn't it?


Registered User
S3 if you want the sporty look and at my opinion an all time classic but the major thing that you got here is a car to tune, so if you are a "tuner" go for it its a lovely car and have many many options of tuning that can get you to wonderful results
A3 well here you got the newer look and newer technologies i assume which makes the car a bit more complicated than the 8L, and here i beleive you wont get many options of tuning
The other big difference in my opinion is the engine...Naturally aspirated V6 in the 8P VS turbocharged 4cylinder in the 8L so it all goes with what you like to drive too


Registered User
Id probably get an s3, itd be cheaper on the long run, fuel tax etc. But the a3 will be the latest model, but your stuck with that power, maybe get it going an extra 10 or more bhp. but the s3 can be tuned to 260bhp with a remap.

s3 Hoggy

Whats going on???
Also the build quality of early 8p's is not great, mine felt cheap compared to my S3



The Clar!! it mouves!!!
i had the same dilemma, just knew id hate being beasted by an S3 some day :)


I'm not modding, I'm improving
VCDS Map User
Looked at this myself. The only things going for the 8p was newer, noise and looks.

S3 everytime.


Missing the S3
The 3.2 A3 is nice, its newer, but the A3 sports i've been in dont feel special, seats arnt that great when compared to the recaros, the V6 handeling isnt ment to be great, worse than the S3. And without a badge it will just look like every other A3 sport/S line where the S3 is unique. If I was considering an 8P I'd be looking at either the 170bhp TDI or the 2.0 turbo S line (8P S3 are still a lot of money). I do like the white DIS in the 8P and phat fives are cool wheels.


Registered User
Best option would be to drive both and see what you think.

Personally, I have always found anything I've driven with the 3.2 lump to be a bit nose-heavy in comparison to the S3, and that includes the 8P S3 and TT's.


Looking for Boost!
Staff member


Registered User
Thanks very much for the help, reckon I am gonna go for the S3! At the end of the day, 3.2 A3 is just another A3!
Thanks again!


Registered User
S3 all day

Welcome to the 8L section :p

Post pictures of your new car when you can!


Registered User
I was in this same position when i bought my S3. I didn't think about the A3 3.2 for long though. Its really heavy up front meaning lots of understeer, plus the extra cylinders aren't good for fuel consumption. Remember reading reviews of the 3.2 when it first came out slating its poor handing. The s3 is more of a drivers car and i'm well happy with mine!

martin g

The A3 3.2 is the only car i ever had a gentle play with in my S3, i expected to be outgunned big style....i kept up no probs and my S3 is stock.