I have just sold my MY2000 S3 last week. There are three 'types' of S3
210bhp Pre-Face Lift,
210bhp Post-Face Lift, and
225bhp Post-Face Lift.
The face lift involved primarily a change to the lights and the dash
board of the car IIRC. My car was 210bhp and pre-face lift. My
experience with the driver community for S3s is that there is very
little difference between the 210bhp and 225bhp cars in the real world.
The history behind the cars is that Audi wanted to make the TT
'faster' than the S3 and so originally the TT had 225bhp whilst the S3
I bought my car at 6 months old, with 2k miles on the clock. Over the
5 years or so that I had the car I upped the mileage to 95k miles
(mostly motorway) with no reliability issues. Just make sure that the
car has a full service history (from an Audi dealership or independent
specialist) and has had the cam belt changed at 80k miles if
The standard S3 is not as quick as some other hot hatches or an Impreza
WRX, but is IMO the most refined hot hatch available. It blends
performance, luxury, practicality and prestige with discrete styling.
If you want the S3 to really be a performance car then you need to get
it modified. There is a thriving modification community for the S3
(and other VAG cars with similar mechanicals). Over the life time of
my car I spent £4500 on having it enhanced, with an engine remap,
sports exhaust, uprated brakes and suspension. These mods raised the
car from excellent to outstanding. I had my car modified when it had
55k miles on the clock and there was no reduction in reliability and no
reduction in motorway fuel economy. I can certainly recommend the
modification route if you have the funds to do it correctly - the best
improvements to the car were suspension and brakes (which were also the
most costly changes too).
As an upgrade from a Golf GTi, I think the S3 would be hard to beat.
It takes all the qualities of the GTi and turns the dial up to 10,
whilst actually being a more discrete car to own as only enthusiasts
usually recognise it.
I would suggest checking out www.audi-sport.net as a thriving Audi
On 11 Jan 2006 08:46:31 -0800, dan email@example.com wrote:
I had a post face lift S3 225BHP model. I leased it for 18 months and
over a 10 month period it broke down 4 times with engine management
failures. That is all the warning lights came on and car would not do
more than 20mph - very scary on the outside lane of a motorway in the
wet. Audi had the car for over 6 weeks trying to find the fault but
kept returning the car as No Fault Found. That was even after Audi
sent on of their ADTs (Audi Dedicated Technicians) out to the last
breakdown to diagnose the fault at the roadside. All they could do was
reset the engine management system. I cancelled the lease in the end
because neither my wife or I could trust the car and AUDI paid me some
compensation for the 6 weeks off the road.
I had liitle faith in Audi or their dealers to actually understand
these cars. Remember that Which said the TT 225BHP was the most
unreliable car they ever tested with a one in four chance of a
breakdown in the first year.
The performance was good but the handling was a bit dead with very
little feedback through the steering. It was hard to feel the car
through bends which didn't inspire confidence.
I tried an 3.0 X-type Jag after that but it brokedown on the test
drive!! I used to drive Alfas and went back to them as they proved to
be more reliable and much more fun to drive. I drive around 40,000
miles a year.
Thanks to all who replied, a couple of very different views there.
Probably looking to spend upto a maximum of 10k on one. Cars is this region
are usually around 5 years old with around 100,000 miles.
Will check out that forum, thanks very much.
I've had no reliability problems with my TDi. It does have the rust in
the roof channels though- it's six years old, so check any prospective
purchase. This is the only really dissapointing thing about the car-
other than that it's great, but I'll admit finding that has not pleased me.
Petrol A3s did have a bit of a problem due to the coil pack fiasco, but
they'll have been sorted by now.
The diiference was that at least Jag knew what the problem was
staright away, a water leak, whereas Audi could could not diagnose the
problem after 10 months. The S3 was so complicated that it was
defeating their own technicians.
Yeah, the audi technology is pretty complex and it would be hard to
troubleshoot a lemon.
Unfortunately you seem to be turning to all the wrong marquis. If it's
reliability you want, then Toyota/Lexus, Honda and Suberu have better
reputations than the Germans. And can't even be compared to the American and
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