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RS3 (PFL) vs RS3 (FL)

D0C Oct 23, 2017

  1. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    Sooo... I've been dreading writing my thoughts on my PFL vs the FL I've had for the day today as I know I'll be upsetting some people! Anyway, as promised here are my thoughts on the FL vs my current car, a 2016/16 Panther black RS3 which is mostly fully optioned except for pano roof.

    Looks
    This is always subjective but I will say that I find the PFL a prettier car, with the FL more aggressive looking. However, the FL front end looks a bit forced to me, which I suppose it is as they've tried to bring it in line with Audi's latest designs. All in all, they are very similar and the Nardo car I was given got lots of looks! I wasn't keen on the black exhaust tips which can get lost in the black diffuser but prefer the FL's rear lights.

    Interior
    Virtually identical but for the virtual cockpit. The car I was given had the lunar interior, too. Personally I prefer my PFL's black/rock grey interior but I suppose it does brighten the place up. The FL also had the pano roof. I liked it but not as much as I thought I would, in that I would prefer a car with it, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker. It also didn't seem to introduce that much more sound into the cabin, more of which I'll come on to! As for the virtual cockpit, it was nice and the full screen map is fun to look at. However, I found it nice to get back into mine with traditional dials that were easy to read! If VC was an expensive option, I would not of bothered ticking it.

    Handling
    This is where the biggest difference was found between the PFL and FL. There is no doubt about it, turn in is much sharper and it handles much more Golf R like, nimble and chuckable. I found myself throwing it into corners and roundabouts that my PFL never encourages me to. It feels like there's 100kg less over the front axle, never mind 26kg. It is how the RS3 should have always handled. That's not to say the PFL is a bad handling car but the FL is a very clear improvement.

    Engine/Performance/Sound
    Ah, the part of been dreading writing up on. Now I can't stress enough how unbiased I am trying to be. I've always said I have no blind loyalty to any car and I have been seriously considering swapping into a FL RS3. So let me cut to the chase... it does not sound as good as the PFL, by some distance to my ears. It is categorically not as loud or as broad chested in it's sound. I would describe it as slightly hollow. Now against the competition (A45 AMG, Focus RS, Golf R etc) it knocks it out of the park, but I spent the whole time frustrated that it didn't roar like my PFL, bearing in mind it also had the pano roof which I had open for extra sound. As for the lack of pops and crackles on downshifts, it's a disaster. I downshift for fun in mine, but there's just no point in the FL. It says it all that I got back into mine and instantly the smiles returned. I'll say it again, I have no reason to blindly stick up for a PFL and if the FL had sounded better, I would have said so...I was seriously considering changing into a FL.
    As for the speed, I couldn't tell any difference. If anything my PFL felt like it had the legs, but I'll put this down to the FL only having 700 miles on the clock and probably having crappy 95RON fuel in it. Numbers don't lie and I'm sure the FL with more power and less weight would be a tenth or two quicker over the 1/4 mile. I would loved to have had them both on the rollers to have seen what actual difference there is!

    So where does this leave me? Confused. I really wanted to be blown away by the new car and was ready to sign on the dotted line if the engine sounded nearly as good and was appreciably quicker. But when I consider that a dealer will probably offer c.£35k for mine and an equivalent spec FL would be c.£55k, I think I'll stick.

    For those that have got one on order, you won't regret it. It's the best hot hatch out there IMHO, still sounds mega versus the competition and goes like hell. For me, I'll probably save the cash and get mine remapped while continuing to enjoy my mid life crisis, popping and crackling down the road!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
    RGBARGEE, q5man, voorhees and 16 others like this.
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  3. Evil Diesel

    Evil Diesel Guest

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    Thanks - good review.

    Coming from an enforced 2L derv A3 the RS sounded awesome. I agree the PFL is a wild beast in comparison but is probably not something I could put the neighbours through in all fairness given that I have a fair number of very anti-social start up times! To me, side by side, the FL sounds a bit more grown up whereas the PFL sounds like the untamed beast! In all fairness, I don't think the Missus would have let me keep a PFL car whereas she was 100% behind (much to my surprise) the purchase of the new one.

    Also, the level of grip in FL is just unbelievable.
     
  4. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    Agree re the grip. It was a wet day today and I pushed it pretty hard...It just gripped and went. It's a great car, no doubt.

    Oh, and the start up is still as hilarious as ever.
     
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  5. JonoNZ

    JonoNZ Active Member

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    I am almost relieved it’s quieter, mainly due to my neighbours who are close to my driveway and garage. Always good to keep good neighbourly relations. It would have been great if there were still pops and crackles on downshifts though.
     
  6. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member Team Nardo Audi RS4

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    FL is absolutely the better car although by small margins imho. Very hard to justify if you already have PFL ...

    TX.

    Sent from my STV100-4 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. JonoNZ

    JonoNZ Active Member

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    Yeah I think that is very solid advice, if you have the PFL you already have it all really, unless money is burning a hole in your pocket it’s very hard to justify.
     
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  8. Evil Diesel

    Evil Diesel Guest

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    Well, I am sure that the neighbours in my Victorian street are going to be chuffed with that at 5am.... oh well, I did my best.
     
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  9. Bristle Hound

    Bristle Hound Moderator Staff Member Moderator MQB Platform

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  10. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    All my neighbors love my car and regularly compliment me on it lol :)

    Great write up.
     
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  11. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    Behind the purchase?! What have you bought her?! Haha!
     
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  13. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    Thanks for the honest review DOC, I will be honest I had hoped you’d be a little more impressed but the honesty is good.

    I keep forgetting it sounds less superior to the PFL, that’s after my test drive. I’m always aware it doesn’t pop which is gutting, but I’m trying to forget that to not get in the way of owning the car. The PFL S3 without pops just makes you look moronic when you downshift, the FL gives downshifts a purpose almost. The FL RS3 is a good sounding engine still, the engine note on downshifts is still special.
     
  14. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    You're going to love it. For me, the only way I would get one is to get it straight to MRC to have them map some crackles in! It's only because I've got used to them. I'm very keen to now get mine mapped.
     
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  15. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    Believe me I’d love to get a map, but I can’t be losing a warranty.

    Get it mapped, some fantastic results out there and it will no doubt outrun a FL.
     
  16. Evil Diesel

    Evil Diesel Guest

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    She is getting the A3.
     
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  17. Evil Diesel

    Evil Diesel Guest

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    But she didn't know that at the time to be fair. She just really liked the RS.
     
  18. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    For those that haven't heard the pre FL I am sure the FL will blow them away :yes:
     
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  19. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    Now that’s a good deal and a good other half ;)
     
  20. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    I’ve heard and driven the PFL countless times haha, but it has been 12 months since I drove the PFL and I’ve had 12 months in the S3 since. Well, 10 months with all the issues I’ve had.
     
  21. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    ha ha .... I haven't heard a FL but honestly .... I don't think you will give a damn when you get your mica pup.

    It will still sound great I am sure and as an overall package (especially with improved handling) you will be over the moon with it.

    Sharp styling, improved handling, VR cockpit, more BHP, mica blue, 5 cylinders ... what's not to like lol ? :)
     
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  22. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    To me they still sound great, the one I drove had the standard exhaust and at full chat I find it difficult to believe mine could sound better. The big difference I notice is volume, in the PFL if you rev up to 3500rpm and back off the noise drowns anything out. In the FL, unless you’re at full chat the car is pretty quiet.. sat at 3500rpm all you can hear is engine noise :(

    I like “Mica Pup” haha!

    I’m sure the car will be great, very excited to see it.
     
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  23. Macintosh88

    Macintosh88 Member

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    I agree the FL with sport exhaust dosen´t bangs on downshift, well it bangs sometimes... but in low speed, 1st and 2nd gear (0-30 mile/h) I think it´s more fuller/louder than PFL in my opinion.
     
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  24. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    I could barely hear it low down. I was getting more and more frustrated with the lack of noise the longer I drove it. The biggest disappointment was the silence on downshifts. I will wait eagerly for someone to get their car remapped and if they can engineer some of the character back into the sound.
     
  25. zaka7

    zaka7 Active Member Team Nardo Audi RS3 Sportback S tronic

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    Great review and a good read, I find my FL popping and banging in Sport mode, The only issue is that in a 30mph zone and I'm in S, it pops from 3rd to 2nd and as I accelerate away I have to do it hard or switch back to dynamic to stop it sounding like I'm just unable to change gear :whistle2:
     
  26. teslaboy

    teslaboy Mythos black RS3 8v FL Audi RS3 Audi S3

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    Yep I've had that too.
    Still getting used to this auto gearbox thingy (been a manual user for previous 25yrs!)
     
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  27. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    Is anyone near Warwickshire? Would be great to put mine up against a FL for someone else to hear.
     
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  28. infernox

    infernox Well-Known Member Team Mythos Audi S3 S tronic

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    Good review that solidifies what we've heard previously. Since it was only 700 miles, I'm sure the FL RS3 will sound better with more miles but won't get to the PFL level
     
  29. Macintosh88

    Macintosh88 Member

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    ok, and you was driving in dynamic mode? I don´t know if it´s different between UK and Sweden RS3 models, we don´t have secondary cat.
     
  30. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    Absolutely I was in dynamic. Tellingly, I had to check on the screen that I was in dynamic. With the PFL you can hear clearly when it is.

    Has anyone driven a TTRS as well as the new RS3? I wonder if there's much difference...
     
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  31. infernox

    infernox Well-Known Member Team Mythos Audi S3 S tronic

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    Haven't driven either but from what I've heard and seen in videos, TTRS is in the middle of PFL RS3 and FL RS3.
     
  32. Evil Diesel

    Evil Diesel Guest

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    A 67 plate TTRS went past me last week at full tilt and sounded awesome.
     
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  34. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member Team Sepang Audi RS3 Audi A4 Black Edition

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    Whaaaaat????
     
  35. Radman

    Radman Well-Known Member Team Sepang Audi RS3 Audi A4 Black Edition

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    Surprising how many FL are available to buy and not many PFL. PFL were like rocking horse poo when they were released.
     
  36. Macintosh88

    Macintosh88 Member

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    Well that´s my opinion. I experience the same as Automann described the sound.
    I had PFL and now FL. As i wrote before I don´t know if it´s different setup on the 2nd cat between UK and Swedish RS3. Also I think in a Saloon has more "soundproofing", as it's not "open" behind like SB. If you understand what I try to say :innocent:
     
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  37. Bristle Hound

    Bristle Hound Moderator Staff Member Moderator MQB Platform

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    @D0C - Great write up buddy
     
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  38. AudiNutta

    AudiNutta Well-Known Member Team Racing Blue Mica Audi RS3 quattro Sportback

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    Blame Audi UK for drafting in a load of **** specs to the dealers.
     
  39. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member Team Nardo Audi RS4

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    When the dealer drove my test car away you could still hear it 100's of metres away. For sure the FL still sounds really good just no point in spiking the revs with a downshift.

    TX.

    Sent from my STV100-4 using Tapatalk
     
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  40. MoKha

    MoKha Member

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    I know for a fact the FL has much better sound proofing... well the saloon for sure, quiet from inside but if you step outside and let someone thrash it it sounds absolutely amazing.. big difference being in the car. Outside sound is much louder and much more melodic.. which is abit of a shame because the driver doesn't always hear the joy of the sound.. make no mistake though from outside sports exhaust in dynamic you can hear the car 3 streets away.. sounds wonderful.. re pops and bang it does in 2nd and 3rd gear and from outside moving from 3rd to 2nd pops bangs pretty loud..
     
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  41. D0C

    D0C Well-Known Member Team Nardo Team Panther Audi RS3 TTRS

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    I didn't hear any pops and bangs. Maybe with more miles on the exhaust gives a bit more.
     
  42. zaka7

    zaka7 Active Member Team Nardo Audi RS3 Sportback S tronic

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    Only in Sport does it pop and bang on downshift at the moment, and it was in all gears, Mine has done circa 400 miles. Hopefully it will give me something in Dynamic with more miles :)
     
  43. fastolsen

    fastolsen Member

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    Everybody that claims the FL is lacking sound, have you tried it without secondary cats? Here in norway we dont have them and I think it sounds awesome! Also driven the PFL and yes, the loud bangs when downshifting is gone, but the sound is still great. Think I would get tired of the pops and bangs everytime I downshift anyway:)
     

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