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Andy C

Audi S3 - passenger ride

Our works night out last night, so a workmate picked me up to go Go-karting  in his 15 plate, 3 door S3 in blue.






I've always disliked A3's and S3's. It might be totally unfair as I've never driven one but when mag after mag slate the ride, handling and steering, yet generally praise a Vw Golf which is the same car underneath, it's always put me off considering one.  How can Audi get it so wrong, and VW get it so right? The new S3 has received much better reviews than the old one, so I was keen to find out more...

Good

Looks - It's a well proportioned, good looking car (especially in this blue) I much prefer the saloon though

Interior - The quality and layout are first class. It's a simple, uncluttered design that works so well. The sat nav screen is brilliant too.

Engine and gearbox - It goes very well, as you'd expect with 300bhp and 280lb/ft of torque. Whether the gearbox disguises it I'm not sure, but there's very little turbo lag low down, and it has huge pull from about 2000rpm, all the way to the red line.  It makes my car feel suitably ancient when it comes to turbo lag, however once mine is spooled up, it doesn't feel any quicker. Gun it in 3rd at about 30mph, and the S3 serves up the power and torque so smoothly it just surges foward. In mine, there's what seems like huge delay, and then wallop, all the power and torque come from no-where. There's no doubt the S3 is quicker from 0-60, 0-100 etc thanks to that gearbox and 4wd, but mine does feel quicker at certain times. Lastly, the sound. I'm not overly fussed about it being a 4 pot, or if some of the noise is fake.  It sounds good for what it is, and no, it can't in any way compete with mine!  It does have a reasonably deep 5 pot-ish sound to it though, and I do like the brap noise it makes on full throttle gear changes.

Handling - My workmate only drives with it in Dynamic mode so that's all I experienced, and it felt very planted, with little body roll.  It's also very easy to cover ground very quickly. With that engine and 4wd system it can absolutely fly on a b-road.



Bad

Ride - The aforementioned Dynamic mode meant it handles well, but the ride was waaay to crashy for my liking. I'm not sure on the size of the wheels, but around town especially, it was borderline uncomfortable. Not good.

Interior space - Not very roomy in the back.  I'm not very tall, but It felt quite cramped and had poor headroom. From memory, a Golf and Leon are more roomy. The new Focus definitely is.


So all in all, a very good car.  But the 'want one' factor is zero. It does a lot of thing very well, but I can't imagine it's what you call fun to drive. Reviews still slate the steering, saying it has no feel at all.

If only there was a car out there that had the S3's great DSG box, engine, 4wd system, decent interior and cross country pace, but with decent steering, damping, and more interior space

Wait, there is... the Golf R

I can't understand why someone (other than a badge snob) would buy the S3, A hot hatch you want to be fun. Yes it covers ground rapidly, but zero steering feel isn't good. Or fun.

Going from what I've experienced , and the universal praise the Golf R gets, I'm still asking the same question, how can Audi get it so wrong, and VW get it so right, when they are the same car underneath?
Roadsterstu

I think badge snobbery plays a huge part in purchases of these kind of cars.  To me the S3 looks great but I doubt I'd get along with it if the steering is so numb and ride so harsh. It would soon get on my tits.

I'm surprised you feel yours is laggy. Maybe it's the Mountune remap on yours but mine never, ever feels laggy. Just torquey, smooth and with a consistent pull from idle to up near the red line.
Boxer6

Roadsterstu wrote:
I think badge snobbery plays a huge part in purchases of these kind of cars.  To me the S3 looks great but I doubt I'd get along with it if the steering is so numb and ride so harsh. It would soon get on my tits.

I'm surprised you feel yours is laggy. Maybe it's the Mountune remap on yours but mine never, ever feels laggy. Just torquey, smooth and with a consistent pull from idle to up near the red line.


It does seem odd to have such different response from essentially the same engine.
Andy C

In reality it doesn't really. The game has moved on though, and I think it was partly down to the excellent DSG box being so quick. There just didn't seem to be any lag below 2k.

Mine is very responsive from 2k upwards. Below 2k however,  and it can get caught out.

If you use full throttle and its under 2k, not much happens, but as soon as 2k arrives is flies.   It's not what I'd call smooth but it puts a smile on my face
Boxer6

Andy C wrote:
It's not what I'd call smooth but it puts a smile on my face


That's the main thing!    

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