Ron Gabriel

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Goodbye for now Audi S3

Personal

It’s a sad day when you have to clear your car of your personal belongings and bring the car to the dealership to get traded in.

I’ve had the S3 for a little over two years now and during this period, I’ve driven her a little over 42000 km and spent a good deal of time getting to know the car. The S3 was serviced regularly and sometimes even more frequently that the recommended intervals. I tried to take care of it as much as I possibly can, I even treated it with Opticoat Pro from Definitive Car Detailing to preserve it’s paint condition.

As I bought the car pre-owned it was already a couple of years old when I took ownership, during this time and the remaining warranty period it never had any issues. Towards the end and after performing the major service which included the dreaded DSG service I decided that it was time to move on. I was transporting the kids around a lot more and I thought I’d get something a little more practical. Coincidentally the car began to develop some faults while I was searching for another car, various faults came up on the VCDS scans which pretty much sealed it’s fate.

The dealership had valued her in the mid 30’s $$$ and I had expected that, they even had the balls to try and offer me $27k for it which was never going to happen. Once I got the highest trade in valuation I can get, it was just a matter of deciding on which car to get however that’s another story on another post.

The 2014 Audi S3 Sportback is a brilliant brilliant little sports car powered by a 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 206kW and 380Nm of torque and when you put your foot down, there’s no denying that it’s capable of 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds. The best thing about the S3 was that it made an excellent car as a daily driver, it had multiple drive settings which you can set if you’re in stuck in the Sydney traffic or stretching it’s legs on Bells Line of Rd towards the Blue Mountains which I did at least once a month. I ran a JB4 tune on the car in Map 2 and didn’t touch it after that, I could have sent the logs to burger tuning for optimised settings but didn’t have time to. The JB4 piggy back tune was excellent and claims to increase bhp by +40, to be honest I could not verify these claims myself as I didn’t have access to a dyno but I can certainly vouch for an increase in performance. The S3 was quick enough at stock settings so you can imagine any increase is an added bonus. The other option which I decided against was the APR tune, after checking the revision of the turbo in my car it was found to have the part number of some of the turbos that were failing in the UK and other countries. It seemed like too much of a hassle to deal with if I ever faced that predicament so I decided I didn’t need it.

The S3 was surprisingly quite economical to run, I ran 98 octane petrol on it which is the recommended rating for this engine. Getting 600km out of a full tank in mixed motorway and city driving is not uncommon. One of the things that you do need to watch and carry a top up bottle for is OIL. I found myself topping up approximately 1L of oil every 3 months not sure if this was ever improved on the newer S3 sedans. There are some annoying things about the S3 that I wish were different, one of them was the DYNAMIC mode setting, in this setting the gear ratios are changed dramatically to extract every bit of power from the car during an aggressive driving session however it holds the 2nd gear really really long and I found myself screaming out for it to change gear already or I ended up shifting manually because you sound like a lunatic with the engine revving to 6000rpm. The car feels like it’s encouraging you to put your foot down so it can go through the 6 speed DSG like a bat out of fell. The only problem is if you get caught, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your license for at least 6 months. It’s a little bit like “All or nothing” with this car. The individual mode can be set according to what you like but it just doesn’t produce the same exhaust note as the dynamic mode. The other annoying things about the S3 is the lack of powered driver and passenger seats, heating is included but the memory setting is not available. My wife also drives the car and she’s shorter than I am, she never puts my seat back how she found it and I find myself with different seating positions every single time.  This model with the Sports Performance Pack which includes diamond stitched Nappa leather and Bang & Olufsen sound system does not included power mirrors or blind spot monitoring. That is too much to ask from Audi at the price point that this car is in. No car is perfect I suppose and if you want one close to perfection then you better have deeper pockets. So the question is “Would I buy and own another Audi S3?” and  the answer is resounding “HELL YEAH!” I looked at the Golf R Wolfsburg wagon and while it’s the same engine as the S3 and all the tech you can possibly throw at it, it was missing something. For a car nearing a $70k price tag, it certainly lacked a bit of the premium touch and finish to it which is a shame because the car sounds like an absolute beast. I’m holding my breath for Audi to release a slightly bigger S3 in a wagon because VW and Mercedes Benz already own a chunk in that segment.

It’s been almost a week now since I traded my S3 in and I miss it but I’m a dad now with two young daughters one of which has started kindergarten and the other one due at pre-school next year. It’s all about practicality now and I have to let the mild boy-racer in me take a back seat. It seems I have no brand loyalty which is good in some ways. Maybe an A4 Avant in a few years…

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