Our S3 collection weekend review with pics - North Wales

Itguy

Registered User
Hi Everyone,
Following a very busy weekend I thought I’d do a bit of a write up of what we got up to just in case anyone finds it (a) interesting or (b) helpful if they want to explore good roads.

Well, we got to Derby Audi at 7.45 as arranged, dumped our Z4 in their car park and quickly got to our car which I’d previously inspected the Monday before so handover was quick and easy. Destination Llandudno and North Wales for the weekend.



By 8.20 we were off and on the road, sim card inserted, google map showing and nav programmed for Buxton.
All going well, stopped at Buxton Morrisons for a quick bacon sandwich and tea, then off again to Macclesfield via the cat and fiddle and A537.



On to northwich, Jodrell Bank (photos), Chester, Flint etc on the A55 finally arriving at Llandudno at lunchtime.

Drive was nice and varied on the way over, had a bit of a play with drive select and the individual settings – everything on auto except engine noise, set to dynamic of course! Adaptive Cruise is unnerving to start with but we soon got used to it and it’s just amazing. A small amount of traffic showed up near Chester and we used the stop&go function to shunt along in the queue with total ease. Just brilliant. Lane assist wasn’t quite so impressive – I’m sure it will grow on me but it wasn’t the immediate “wow” factor that I thought it might be.

Was a little apprehensive when we got to our hotel (the excellent Lauriston Court) as parking is on the road or in their private unlit, ungated carpark round the back down a dark alley. Asked the owners (who have a 13 plate big merc) and they said they’d never had any trouble and been there 11 years, so parked on the road outside the hotel.

Online traffic info via Connect/Sim is excellent too – seems very up to date.



Saturday afternoon – lunch, explore Llandudno on foot, pub, food, pub, bed. No driving !

Sunday – driving day, fun day! Rain absolutely belting down, really really wet. We put a bit of a plan together of what we wanted to cover in the day and set off.

First a quick drive down the A470 down to Betws-y-coed and continue on the A5 until we got to the start of the infamous Evo Triangle, a left hand turn down the A543.

The start of this road is a narrow stone walled road with fairly tight corners which you can’t see if anyone is coming. Difficult to drive fast but we started to stretch the revs out a bit and warm up the brakes. After a few miles of this, it really opens up and you can see why this road has a great reputation. Wide, low hedge roads with long straights, fast flowing bends and lovely undulations.

Absolutely fantastic and we really opened the car up using the paddles all the way in dynamic mode. Full rev range used and maximum driving effort! ESC firmly kept on but never felt that the car needed it or was using it, and certainly never scrabbled for grip out of any corner, even when giving a full bootful in second out of tight bends. The tyres felt good to me, I’d rate 7.5/10 for feedback for tyres and steering. I’d give the ride 8.5/10 as it’s not floaty but does roll a little (which is a good thing for feel in my opinion). Doesn’t crash over things and always stays composed. Oil temp got to 112c, cruising seems to show it at 106c ish.
Steering feel over this section with the variable ratio rack was really decent. You don’t have to pass the wheel in your hands at all or any corner, just hold your hands firmly at quarter to and quarter past and you can get all the lock you need. It also means you are right on the paddles for gear changes. We just couldn’t believe how much grip the car has in the pouring rain.

Anyway, back to the roads – so we drove up there and then turn right onto the B5401 all the way back down to the main road. We didn’t enjoy this leg quite as much – quite a lot of it is downhill going this way and it just didn’t flow quite as well as the first leg.
Thankfully for the whole drive of the triangle there was no traffic to follow or overtake and we only saw 2 oncoming cars during the whole circuit. (10:30am).

We then noticed we should really think about fuel so used the Connect ‘fuel prices’ thing to find a tesco (I wanted Momentum 99) and we saw that Wrexham was our closest. Chose to take us there via the nav and off we went. Took the main road A5 to Corwen then up the A5401 towards Llandegla, then the A525 to Wrexham.

Another cuppa in Tesco café then fill up and we’re off again, this time to tackle the infamous Horseshoe Pass and the Ponderosa Café for lunch. Back down the A525 out of Wrexham and on to the A542 – the horseshoe pass road.

Wow, what a road. A little bit blind but really very scenic. More traffic meant we didn’t really attack it but we drove the whole road, going past the Ponderosa Café and kept going. Turned round at the end of the pass and got a clear run back up – the two right angle bends that form part of the horseshoe shape of the road were great for testing the Quattro drive out the bends – my god it gripped well. Still no traction control light flashing even though it’s so wet. Engine braking good too when downshifting and using the paddles.

Ponderosa Café for lunch (pasty chips and beans) with a dragon bought from from the gift shop!



Off we go again, headed back down the horseshoe pass towards the A5 and then picked up the A5 heading west, then took the A494 directly to Bala for the start of the next section.

Took the A4212 from Bala to Trawsfynydd and it’s another WOW road. Wide, amazing views, just incredible to behold. Every opportunity taken to test the car again, truly fantastic.

From Trawsfynydd to Betws-y on the A470 and then to Capel-Curig on the A5 to start the final driving road we wanted to tackle – the A4086 from Llanberis to Caernarfon. Wow this is technical with stone walls either side, tight and unforgiving. Such amazing scenery through the heart of Snowdonia with boulders that you just can’t comprehend how heavy they must be. A true relic of the ice age.

After all of the excitement we thought we better settle down and take an easy drive to Bangor, another tea and then a quick nip over to Anglesey and a photo with the car in the place with the longest name, just because we were there!



Sarah likes bridges and architecture so photos with the bridges were compulsory – taken.



Took a slow-ish drive back to Llandudno and parked up at the hotel. 150 miles covered in the day.

Nipped out later that night to drive round the Llandudno headland to test the adaptive lights and auto high beam, plus the variable range control and all of the amazing interior lights – interior light package is SO worth it. Adaptive, variable and high beam assist all worked flawlessly, very impressive. Cornering lights coming on and off too at junctions was a new one on me.

Decent nights sleep and away we go again this morning. Came outside and found a seagull had used my car as a toilet.



First stop, tesco jetwash (no, I didn’t use the brush!)



Sarah driving the car today, wanted a go at the first leg of the evo triangle in the sunny, dry weather. She’s loved it but I have to say the car felt exactly the same as it did in the wet!





Went to the Ugly House (near Betws-y) for lunch and then reset the MPG meter as we were going to do a steady drive back to Derby Audi to collect our Z4 and then go home.

Economy mode selected and lots of ACC use on the way home. 140 miles drive and 39.0 MPG achieved. We were cruising at 70 on the motorway with ACC and Lane Assist, really starting to learn how it works now. We did notice that economy mode doesn’t enable
coasting when on cruise/ACC though.

Other key thoughts – B&O is great. Still need to fine tune the settings but it really does sound good and is very clear. Bass has good punch and the SD card I’d prepped beforehand worked well. The DAB reception was decent too considering we were mostly in the middle of nowhere.

Seats very comfy, took a bit of adjustment but got there in the end.

Things not so good;

No cooling vent in the glovebox or armrest – warm cream eggs! (glovebox gets warm due to nav computer)

Economy mode is very keen to enable coasting, a 1 second pause when lifting off the throttle would be nicer

No water temp display anywhere

Nav screen can get really cluttered when you are navigating somewhere especially if you have google map view switched on with traffic showing too.

Steering set in ‘dynamic’ just seems heavy and doesn’t add anything to the feel of the road.

To summarise, we love this new car – well worth the wait and our spec is just right for us. If you want to hear about anything on the car or the roads just let me know.

Thanks for reading my VERY long post!
 

Battlekrapz

Registered User
Nice review! The picture with that place with the longest name cracked me up !! lol! :)

Looks like all three of you had a blast ;).
 

Itguy

Registered User
:laugh:
 

Pulp84

Registered User
Really good write up and some nice pics!

Going to research a little driving holiday after reading that.....:hi:
 

cemerson

Registered User
Lane assist wasn’t quite so impressive – I’m sure it will grow on me but it wasn’t the immediate “wow” factor that I thought it might be.

It's not that great most of the time really - certainly not as good as the ACC. The addition of the traffic sign recognition that you get with the option (with tech pack) is pretty good though, and makes up for it IMO so not too disappointed.

Actually where I thought the lane assist REALLY worked well was a very heavy rain day on the M1 I had a while back, where you couldn't really see the lane divisions at all - but the lane assist camera mostly could. It struggled a couple of times but soon found them again and was a REAL help in this situation. Definitely glad I had it then!

Took the A4212 from Bala to Trawsfynydd and it’s another WOW road. Wide, amazing views, just incredible to behold. Every opportunity taken to test the car again, truly fantastic.

I took mine on this road 2 weeks after I got it, and you are right about the views - but unfortunately it was pretty heavy on traffic when I was there which wasn't so fun!

After all of the excitement we thought we better settle down and take an easy drive to Bangor, another tea and then a quick nip over to Anglesey and a photo with the car in the place with the longest name, just because we were there!

Did this too! Though I was mostly in Bangor to get my tyre replaced :(

Adaptive, variable and high beam assist all worked flawlessly, very impressive. Cornering lights coming on and off too at junctions was a new one on me.

I find the variable range works flawlessly some days / situations, but can be a bit slow to dip the beams in some situations - especially when you are some distance behind a car travelling the same direction, it struggles to pick out the tail lights sometimes. You'll quickly learn which situations it works best in though - the only thing that annoys me about it is that there is no easy way to turn it off. I find myself turning the headlights dial to 'headlights' then back to 'auto' to turn off the variable range control. If you are on full beam you can just pull the stalk towards you though to do it.

The cornering lights are definitely very good, a great addition - perfectly positioned too to light up just the right area when you need it. So glad it has actual sideways pointing lights rather than the cop-out option some models have of using the fog lights instead!

Steering set in ‘dynamic’ just seems heavy and doesn’t add anything to the feel of the road.

Agree with this on mine too - I have drive select in 'individual', and everything is on dynamic except steering, which is on comfort.

Great write-up!
 

titleist007

Registered User
Great write up Itguy, so pleased that some on the forum haven't just boggered off as soon as they've picked their car up.

I pick mine up tomorrow after work, and I have a drive south then back north on Monday, so I will review with pics next week when I'm back home.
As a reader of most posts whilst waiting for the day my car arrives, I've found reviews and pics really keep you going whilst waiting. I'm very sure they'll be loads on here who really appreciate a good write up like this.
 

MorkC68

Stationary
brilliant write up, some great pics too - those roads & scenery look great for a weekend exploring! S3 looks superb & sounds equally great, sounds like you spec'd it really well!
 

pat15312

Registered User
That's more copy than I'd care to read in a week 8-\
 

warren_S5

Moderator
Moderator
VCDS Map User
Good write up, it's trips like that which make you realise how good (or bad!) a car really is. Nice to see someone taking the opportunity to 'drive' a decent car properly rather than just potter about doing the usuals!
 

h5djr

Registered User
VCDS Map User
Gold Supporter
Good write up. Sounds like you really enjoyed the weekend. The A4212 from Bala to Trawsfynydd is one of my all time favourite roads to drive. When I get my new 8V I'm off to the North York Moors for a change. Never driven in that area.
 

w.h.i.p.p.e.t

Registered User
Thanks for the great post! Nice write up Itguy, sounds and looks like you had a lot of fun there! Must have made the wait seem well worth it? Planning something similar down in the West Country when we get ours. Although not sure where we'll go yet.

Cheers.
 

Itguy

Registered User
Thanks for your kind comments.

I know I read every post when I was waiting for my car to be delivered and they really kept me going. You don't know what you don't know and I thought it would be helpful to share whatever we could that might be of interest to others.

Car is starting its regular commute this morning though, let's see how it carves through that!
 

Redgrouse

Registered User
Good write up. Sounds like you really enjoyed the weekend. The A4212 from Bala to Trawsfynydd is one of my all time favourite roads to drive. When I get my new 8V I'm off to the North York Moors for a change. Never driven in that area.

It's fabulous up here!
 

PilotAudi

Guest
Great post Mr IT. Our French road trip starts at 11.00. Glad you are enjoying your Very SPECIAL Motor ;-)
 

warren_S5

Moderator
Moderator
VCDS Map User
Great post Mr IT. Our French road trip starts at 11.00. Glad you are enjoying your Very SPECIAL Motor ;-)

Lucky sod; enjoy it. Skip breakfast on the Normandie and head 5 minutes from port into Intra Muros for La Licorne's Petit Dejeuner Tonique when you arrive, you won't regret it! (Park in the car park outside the town walls by the merry go round).
 

PilotAudi

Guest
Lucky sod; enjoy it. Skip breakfast on the Normandie and head 5 minutes from port into Intra Muros for La Licorne's Petit Dejeuner Tonique when you arrive, you won't regret it! (Park in the car park outside the town walls by the merry go round).

We are actually going on the Bretagne Warren... and we get a Free breakfast.. which in the main restaurant is pretty good.. Will be trying St Malo another day :-0

Camera is all charged and the other half of a 'free' shed loaded up so here goes.. hopefully no traffic issues or random sheds on M4 /A34 today.

Will be difficult driving slowly but will help with 'running in'.

Cheers

 
Top