RS3 (PFL) vs RS3 (FL)

terminator x

Registered User
I read somewhere that the newer RS cars are quieter because Audi are already producing cars with exhausts that comply with upcoming EU regulations on noise. Not sure why they've decided to do it so early, but this is the main reason why the 4 and 5 sound a bit muted apparently. There will no doubt be plenty of aftermarket options, there are some out for the 5 already.
I've heard that too. Aftermarket seems the way to go which is a real shame as the PFL sports exhaust was spot on, so loud and noisy we did wonder how on earth Audi got it passed the noise regs! Audi are missing a trick imho in this new over regulated world, they should offer after market RS upgrades that don't void the warranty ... kerching!

TX.
 

trilla

Registered User
I've heard that too. Aftermarket seems the way to go which is a real shame as the PFL sports exhaust was spot on, so loud and noisy we did wonder how on earth Audi got it passed the noise regs! Audi are missing a trick imho in this new over regulated world, they should offer after market RS upgrades that don't void the warranty ... kerching!

TX.
I think the PFL RS3 is probably one of the reasons they have done it so early. I've heard they got in quite a bit of trouble for the volume of that exhaust, it really is a miracle how it got through any type of testing.

Isn't that exactly what they're doing? The Audi Sport Performance Parts have been launched for the R8 and TT-RS and will likely be more widely available in the coming years. Although I do suspect the exhaust will be of the Akrapovic flavour and outrageously expensive
 

RS369

Registered User
Am I right in saying there is no “tech pack” in the FL?. The pop up screen only comes in one size?
 

Snake Pliskin

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I've heard that too. Aftermarket seems the way to go which is a real shame as the PFL sports exhaust was spot on, so loud and noisy we did wonder how on earth Audi got it passed the noise regs! Audi are missing a trick imho in this new over regulated world, they should offer after market RS upgrades that don't void the warranty ... kerching!

TX.


How does thia affect cars like the R8 then, which buyers will surely expect to sound LOUND and AWESOME ??? :speakerthree::speakerthree::speakerthree::speakerthree:
 
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trilla

Registered User
How does thia affect cars like the R8 then, which buyers will surely expect to sound LOUND and AWESOME ??? :speakerthree::speakerthree::speakerthree::speakerthree:
R8 exhaust hasn't been muted at all, it's loud as ***** from factory, similar to PFL RS3
 

RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
Well, my car history and the 8V facelift.... I have had in the fleet a 14 S3, 15 A3 COD, 16RS3, 66B9 A4 Avant Diesel and now a B9
IMG_0179.jpg
RS4 and for 2 days an S3FL.) The handling of the S3FL versus PFL RS3 is noticeably more direct and lighter. The FL S and RS cars and my RS4 are noticeably less aural than previous versions, unless with age my hearing is failing me! The FL virtual cockpit is good but feels like an afterthought rather than the more integrated version on B9RS4. Pano Roof, always a must have is great, wish it was bigger like the 8P was and the B9 RS4 but OK. SSS which I have in S3 and RS4 are mediocre in S3, glad I never paid for them in RS3. Base is identical to SSS, look nice in 8V but way better in B9RS4 with massage function. The 8V is ill a great car after nearly 6 years and far better than Golf equivalents as a daily driver. In summary if I still owned my PFL RS3 I would not trade it for a FL.
 

infernox

Registered User
I don't think the PFL S3 sounds better than the FL S3, other than that I agree.
 

mz21

Registered User
I test drove a FL RS3 this weekend, and there is a very big difference in sound compared to the PFL, bigger than I thought, the pops and bangs are gone, but even the upshifts and the exhaust sound is not so aggressive/loud, I could hear the engine sound much more, but not the exhaust. Both with RS Sports Exhaust.
 

zaka7

Registered User
I test drove a FL RS3 this weekend, and there is a very big difference in sound compared to the PFL, bigger than I thought, the pops and bangs are gone, but even the upshifts and the exhaust sound is not so aggressive/loud, I could hear the engine sound much more, but not the exhaust. Both with RS Sports Exhaust.

The sound is not as dramatic, but I can assure you, I still get people turning around to see what on earth is coming up the road, and the FL 100% still has pops and bangs, I get what can only be described as explosions if you hit the revs right, and also peppered machine gun fire, this is however only when I am in manual and change gear myself.
 

mz21

Registered User
The sound is not as dramatic, but I can assure you, I still get people turning around to see what on earth is coming up the road, and the FL 100% still has pops and bangs, I get what can only be described as explosions if you hit the revs right, and also peppered machine gun fire, this is however only when I am in manual and change gear myself.

The sounds is still amazing, but I jumped back and forth with a friend between FL and PFL and we both agree that the FL definitely lost a lot of drama. We only could get the pops from the FL when we revved it in neutral at around 3-4k RPM. Upshifts still pop but not as crazy too. The RS3 FL would still be my choice in its class, but it is a shame (for me) that it lost the drama of the PFL.
 

D0C

Registered User
The sounds is still amazing, but I jumped back and forth with a friend between FL and PFL and we both agree that the FL definitely lost a lot of drama. We only could get the pops from the FL when we revved it in neutral at around 3-4k RPM. Upshifts still pop but not as crazy too. The RS3 FL would still be my choice in its class, but it is a shame (for me) that it lost the drama of the PFL.
You're absolutely correct in what you say and I miss my PFL. However, I will admit that the new engine is growing on me. It's a different sound altogether. Also, whereas the PFL engine thrived on downshifting at higher revs (3-4000rpm) for loud pops and bangs, the FL engine is different in that you are better off downshifting at lower revs between 2-3000rpm where I can get some interesting gurgles and noises.

I would also add that with the windows down it sounds good and incredibly loud. It just doesn't filter that noise through to the cabin as well as the more deeper and burblier PFL engine did. It's possibly this fact that deceives us into thinking it is quieter than it actually is.
 

thebc2

Registered User
If you have an FL and are looking for more sound without replacing your exhaust I would recommend one of the products designed to give you manual valve control. I recently installed the one from active-sound.eu and there is a noticeable increase in volume at lower to mid rpm ranges with the valves manually forced open.

This is even in comparison to being in Dynamic with the transmission in S (where you would expect the valves to already be wide open), but they are not! This is most evident at idle with the valves forced open, while in Dynamic/S the car was whisper quite unless you revved it. With the valves forced open the entire car thrums with off-kilter 5 cylinder burble.

One thing I am wondering is whether some of the audio changes are also due to possible changes in the logic of the exhaust valving.


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D0C

Registered User
I had a fault for a brief period where my valves were jammed in the open position. I also had secondary decat pipes. It was intolerable in my opinion and can't see why anyone would want them permanently open. ETTO, though!
 

Scotty2011

Registered User
My valves also jammed open on my PFL (sports exhaust) now and then. It was a total pain and very noisy. Ended up not speccing the sports exhaust on my FL and think it sounds great. I couldn't drive around with the valves constantly open on my PFL, would just do my head in.
 

thebc2

Registered User
I am definitely referring to the FL....


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RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
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!
Great post.. in a nutshell and seriously doubt you would get £35k for a 16 plate without pano roof. Miss my 16 PFL RS3 at times and the RS4 is so much better and S3 310 daily driver isn’t bad.
 

Bells

Registered User
Great post.. in a nutshell and seriously doubt you would get £35k for a 16 plate without pano roof. Miss my 16 PFL RS3 at times and the RS4 is so much better and S3 310 daily driver isn’t bad.
You’ve compared a little in your above post about a PFL RS3 and FL S3, I just wondered if you’d see moving from a FL S3 to a PFL RS3 as an upgrade given your experiences? I’m considering swapping mine in the next couple of months as I could get a 65/16 plate RS3 with fairly low mileage for a couple £1000 extra and move across.

Not really interested in the extra power, mainly for the exhaust noise and that 5pot engine over my S3 but worried about missing virtual cockpit and all the tech having got used to that over the last year.
 

RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
I loved my 16 plate PFL RS3 which I had alongside a 66 A4 quattro Sline 190 Tdi Avant which was boring as hell!

As my mileage was reduced I combined the two to buy an RS4 in March which is frankly just superb in every way. Shortly after I landed a contract requiring me to regularly travel 250/300 miles a day. Not a great idea in an RS4 alone.

The FL S3 feels much lighter to drive than the PFL RS3. It is far more economical and the technology VC etc better although not as good as the B9 RS4. When driving my S3 I often think I’m in the old RS3 until I realise that something is missing, the grinning from ear to ear factor of driving an RS product. The PFL is a bit of a ‘hooligans ‘ car, great fun for local hops but not really practical as a cost effective daily driver whereas the S3 is and saves me outing over 30,000 miles a year on my stonking new RS4.
It’s personal choice as always and to many factors at play to answer your question. Personally I think smiles per mile the PFL RS3 has the edge (small) over the FL S3. The tech and economy in S3 is better as are ride and handing with similar optional 19 in wheels and Mag ride.
 

D0C

Registered User
You’ve compared a little in your above post about a PFL RS3 and FL S3, I just wondered if you’d see moving from a FL S3 to a PFL RS3 as an upgrade given your experiences? I’m considering swapping mine in the next couple of months as I could get a 65/16 plate RS3 with fairly low mileage for a couple £1000 extra and move across.

Not really interested in the extra power, mainly for the exhaust noise and that 5pot engine over my S3 but worried about missing virtual cockpit and all the tech having got used to that over the last year.
When I had my PFL RS3 a friend bought a FL S3. We both had a drive of each other's cars. I was staggered at how much slower the S3 felt (in reality it probably isn't that much slower) and how incredibly boring it was. My friend drove mine and was devastated he hadn't gone for an RS3. He sold the S3 two months later.

For me, the RS3 is on a completely different level and I'd be taking the plunge. I still miss mine now. Buy one and remap it. There's not much else like it.
 

txosbi

Registered User
I p/x'd my 64 plate manual S3 in January for a PFL 65 plate RS3.
Both sepang, S3 had roof rails/folding mirrors which RS3 did not.
RS3 had mag ride/sports exhaust, SSS, B&O, black pack etc etc.

Only thing that bugs me with RS3 is having to turn off stop/start each time.

I can honestly say I've never thought of the S3 since I've had the RS3.
The noise/burble at startup and whilst driving brings a smile from ear to ear. The performance is staggering and Dynamic mode is addictive.
I do feel it is a bit of a hooligan with the noise, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
 

terminator x

Registered User
When I had my PFL RS3 a friend bought a FL S3. We both had a drive of each other's cars. I was staggered at how much slower the S3 felt (in reality it probably isn't that much slower) and how incredibly boring it was. My friend drove mine and was devastated he hadn't gone for an RS3. He sold the S3 two months later.

For me, the RS3 is on a completely different level and I'd be taking the plunge. I still miss mine now. Buy one and remap it. There's not much else like it.
PFL RS3 will end up a classic imho, bonkers fast and almost a supercar sound. Still miss mine.

TX.

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Bells

Registered User
Thanks for all the replies, I’ll have to see if my local dealer can arrange a extended test drive for a day or so in an RS3, it may give me chance to compare both cars properly then. I must admit there’s a few PFL RS3’s around locally and the sound they make is great, probably the biggest draw if I’m honest :icon thumright:
 

NevMan

Well known member
I don't think the PFL S3 sounds better than the FL S3, other than that I agree.
agree there, had a FL S3 for the day a couple months back, plenty of pops and bangs in dynamic that the PFL never had as standard. People I know with PFL tend to open the exhaust valves
 

RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
I don't think the PFL S3 sounds better than the FL S3, other than that I agree.
That is not what I posted. I suggested that my PFL RS3 sounded better than my FL S3.
 

Luc s1

Registered User
I never drove the FL version..
But from what i hear and read...
FL : better handling and more power
PFL: better sound.
When i put a H&R rear bar and lower my PFL and a stage 1 remap ...
Would there be mutch difference between the both versions ???
Cost ... 1500 euro.
Changing for a FL version ... 25ooo euro.
 

D0C

Registered User
I never drove the FL version..
But from what i hear and read...
FL : better handling and more power
PFL: better sound.
When i put a H&R rear bar and lower my PFL and a stage 1 remap ...
Would there be mutch difference between the both versions ???
Cost ... 1500 euro.
Changing for a FL version ... 25ooo euro.
A stage 1 PFL feels much faster than a stock FL. You will also keep the noise.

I would save 25,000 Euro and modify your PFL.
 

mz21

Registered User
Manual changes are definitely more jerky. I'm pretty convinced they deliberately engineer in a bit of a kick in the back when changing manually in dynamic, to give it a more authentic, old fashioned driving experience. I know they do in the R8.

Did you confirm this information? Because everytime I drive in Dynamic Manual and go full throttle, and change up I always get this kick in the back, the gearchanges are not smooth at all. Maybe it is on purpose? I start to believe it is, and I hope it is.
 

Slowracer

Registered User
Did you confirm this information? Because everytime I drive in Dynamic Manual and go full throttle, and change up I always get this kick in the back, the gearchanges are not smooth at all. Maybe it is on purpose? I start to believe it is, and I hope it is.

I noticed this as well. I assumed that they increased the clutch clamp pressure in manual dynamic mode in anticipation that this would be a more aggressive performance driving mode.
 

RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
Do you know I wish I had kept my PFL... Anyone want to swap one with my 2.5 month old loaded S3?
 

illingworth22

Registered User
Interesting and informative read. I am just doing some figures with my 2016 BMW M2 as a PX against the FL RS Saloon. My previous car was a MY13 S3, which was fun, but nothing too.... WOW! The M2 is a right hooligan, sounds and looks, but TBH i just miss Quattro in cold, wet and damp conditions. And don't even mention Snow!
I will say one thing, the M2 is a blast in warm dry weather ;)
 

FKPhoto007

Registered User
Personally I feel the FL RS3 is a more balanced car and the improvements in handling make it the most attractive of the two. The sports exhaust is plenty loud, the burble pops and bangs are there although not as frequent and the virtual cockpit is brilliant. With the full options including design pack the cabin is a nice place to be.
 

RGBARGEE

Well-Known Member
I agree the handling is better with a lighter engine!
Not sure I agree lookswise! Felt the same about the B8 A/S 5 ...loved the original and distinctive ‘raging bull’ headlights, less so the B8.5 facelift.
I feel much the same way about the 8v upgrades still prefer the original 2015 RS3 and expect it will become a classic. Agree the VC is an improvement but in the 8V is compromised by display size unlike in the B9. Just my 2p based on personal experience.
 

mz21

Registered User
I also like the front lights better on the PFL, but I think the FL rear lights look much better than the PFL.

Saturday very late at night in the autobahn, me and a friend who has FL RS3 found a long very wide straight with literally no traffic and decided to do 1 acceleration run to compare my PFL vs FL, my friends car had the driver + 2 passengers and I was alone in my car, both completely stock, to my surprise we went from 40 mph to 170 mph side by side all the time, he didn't gain even 1 meter on me, the FL turbo spools a bit faster than the PFL, and then the acceleration was exactly the same.

The verdict is that the PFL with only the driver is as fast as a FL with driver + 2 pessengers, I was surprised.
 

D0C

Registered User
I also like the front lights better on the PFL, but I think the FL rear lights look much better than the PFL.

Saturday very late at night in the autobahn, me and a friend who has FL RS3 found a long very wide straight with literally no traffic and decided to do 1 acceleration run to compare my PFL vs FL, my friends car had the driver + 2 passengers and I was alone in my car, both completely stock, to my surprise we went from 40 mph to 170 mph side by side all the time, he didn't gain even 1 meter on me, the FL turbo spools a bit faster than the PFL, and then the acceleration was exactly the same.

The verdict is that the PFL with only the driver is as fast as a FL with driver + 2 pessengers, I was surprised.
You've probably read my first post in this thread and when I had a go in a FL I couldn't tell any difference. It was a nearly new car, however. Certainly we are talking tenths of a second difference. To be honest, my MRC stage 1 PFL felt faster than my stage 1 TTRS! Whether it's the low down torque of the PFL's smaller turbo or perhaps the extra noise that's giving it a placebo effect, I'm not sure.
 

mz21

Registered User
I also drove a FL before this comparison and I couldn't feel any difference to my car, but then a 30 hp and 15 nm increase is very difficult to feel. Anyway it was fun to check the difference side by side in the same conditions, if my friend was alone in the car he would pull slightly on me for sure.

Your TT RS with stage 1 must be a complete beast, and way faster than your past stage 1 PFL, it's strange that it doesn't feel that way.
 
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