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Audi S3: Buying guide and review (2006-2012)

Audi S3: Buying guide and review (2006-2012) Classic and Performance Car
Audi S3 Audi S3 Audi S3 Audi S3 Audi S3 Audi S3
The Audi S3 has always been the default choice for drivers who need a relatively understated performance car, with a bit of extra style. Not just a warmed-over A3 with silver door mirrors, the original S3 featured bespoke transmission and wider wheelarches, as well as significantly more punch. The second generation S3 continued this trend, and with 261bhp on tap it was the most powerful A3-based model available, until the arrival of the much more expensive RS3 in 2011. 
 
With the usual well-specced and high quality interior and four wheel drive, the S3 was one of the quickest and most capable point-to-point cars you could buy at the time, especially when the conditions start to get slippery. Four-wheel drive competition was mostly limited to another Volkswagen group offering, the Golf Mk5 R32, which despite its characterful engine could not match the sophistication and speed of the S3. 
 
The evolutionary nature of Audi’s model range means that the S3 still looks fresh today, and well cared for examples can provide many more years of performance motoring at a fraction of the outlay of a new model.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Initially only available in three-door manual guise, the S3 had a number of running gear and trim options to set it apart from the run of the mill A3. At £ 27,000, the price was possibly the biggest differentiator, but for this you got sports suspension (with revised spring and damper settings), unique 18-inch alloys and of course quattro four-wheel drive. When combined with its 261bhp four-cylinder turbo engine, it was blessed with blistering acceleration off the line. 
 
2008 saw the introduction of a mild facelift, with the S3 now being made available in a more practical five-door Sportback body style. The automatic S-tronic gearbox became an option, and is a good choice if your commute includes a lot of stop start driving.
 
As a second hand purchase the combination of the Sportback body style and S-tronic gearbox makes for a great daily driver, providing practicality and unflustered performance in a great package. Fuel consumption and acceleration are also slightly better than the manual models.
 
Performance and specs

Engine 1984cc, 16-valve DOHC turbocharged in-line four-cylinder 
Power 261bhp @ 6000rpm 
Torque 258lb.ft torque @ 2500-5000rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-60mph 5.5 seconds 
Fuel consumption 31mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed manual/S-Tronic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2578mm
Length 4214mm
Width 1765mm
Height 1399mm
Weight 1455kg
 
Common problems
 
• Parts are still widely available, while many specialists can carry out the majority of servicing and maintenance, which helps to avoid paying main dealer prices.

• Radiators can sprout leaks over time, so check for any corrosion or low water levels around the core and pipes. Coolant expansion tanks can also be troublesome.

• Air conditioning compressors have been known to fail, and replacements can be sourced from specialists for a fraction of OEM prices.

• Hesitation in S-tronic gear changes could require an ECU reflash or in some cases a mechatronic replacement unit.

• Ignition coils on early cars can fail, however this issue should not be a concern on cars built after 2006.

• Clutch and flywheel failures are not uncommon and some cars would have had repairs carried out under the original warranty. Check the history of your potential purchase to find out whether it was one of the affected cars.

• The six-speed manual can develop a stiff action in between the first two gears. Fluid replacement can resolve the issue, but if not the synchromesh rings will need to be replaced. Early 2006-2007 S3 manual gearboxes can expire due to an issue caused by planetary gear failure. Although generally resolved by now, watch out for very low mileage cars which might still fail.

• Engine chipping is very common, and while it is a relatively inexpensive way to liberate more power from the engine, it can also cause reliability issues and reduce engine component lifespans. Ideally it is best to source unmodified cars.
 
Model history
 
2006: Second Generation S3 launched with 265bhp 2.0 litre engine. Initially available in three-door body style and six-speed manual transmission
2008: Facelift carried out on entire model range. Full length front grille and daytime running lights now standard. Five-door Sportback body shape introduced. S-Tronic gearbox becomes an option
2012: Last year of production for second generation S3
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.s3oc.com/forums
• www.audi-sport.net
• www.audiownersclub.com
• www.audis3.org
 
Summary and prices
 
If you’re not scared of high mileages, then the early 2006-2007 S3s start at £8000. They offer a lot of car for the money, provided they have a solid service history and no signs of abuse. The sweet spot in the range is found around the £12,000 mark. For this you can get a face-lifted 2008 car with far fewer miles. It’s worth stretching the budget to the Sportback and S-tronic if you have a family and intend to use it for the daily commute. 
 
If you would like to go for something even newer, then the last of the line 2012 models can be found for around £20,000. The second generation S3 remains a great, family sports car which continues to offer a great mix of performance and practicality.
 
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 11th Dec 2015
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Audi S3
9299 43850 GBP
  • 2015 Audi S3 Quattro

    POA POA

    FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY, SEPANG BLUE EXCLUSIVE + SAT NAV + Bluetooth + PANORAMIC Glass Sunroof + + HEATED SEATS + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK, USB and I-Pod Connection, Digital DAB Radio, Multifunction Sports Steering Wheel With Paddleshift Gear Change, Cruise Control, Rear Parking Sensors, Privacy Glass, Climate, A/C, Computer, Auto Xenon Headlights, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror With Rain Sensor Wipers. Still Under Manufacture Warranty

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    WRC Sales
    01274 734657 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 2014 Audi S3 Quattro

    POA POA

    1 OWNER, FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY, FULL LEATHER INTERIOR, HEATED SEATS, MMI SAT NAV PLUS, HARD DRIVE, Bluetooth, COMFORT PACK, INTERIOR LIGHT PACK, USB and I-Pod Connection, Digital DAB Radio, Cruise Control, Rear Parking Sensors Interior Light Pack, Privacy Glass, Climate, A/C, Computer, Auto Xenon Headlights, TECH PACK, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror With Rain Sensor Wipers. Still Under Manufacture Warranty

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  • Audi S3

    £19,000 £19,000

    Variant name:S3 Quattro Black Edition 3dr S Tronic (Technology) ,Variant: S3 Quattro Black Edition 3dr S Tronic (Technology) ABS,Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,Automatic Gearbox,Multiple Airbags

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 28100 mi
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI Hatchback S Tronic Quattro 2015

    £25,993 £25,993

    RAC INSPECTED and APPROVED Top Brand Cars Are Pleased To Offer This Stunning S3, Professional Highest Quality Satin Black Wrap By YIANNIMIZE, EMP Performance Exhaust, Stage 1 Re-Map, APR Air Intake, Forge Inter Cooler All Carried Out By EMP Performance, This One Off Also Comes With Many Audi Extras, Black, Reversing Camera, Super Sports Seats in Fine Nappa Leather, Bang and Olufsen Sound System, Satellite navigation, Sunroof, DAB Digital Radio Reception, MMI Radio - Single CD Player, FM and AM (MW) Reception, Two SDXC Memory Card Readers, MMI Control Panel, Audi Music Interface (AMI), Bluetooth Audio Streaming, Voice Control System - for Key, Telephone and Radio Functions, Bluetooth Interface, Electric Front Windows, Xenon Plus Headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights, Dual-Zone Electronic Climate Control, Heated Front Seats, Cruise control, Flat - Bottomed S3 3-Spoke Sports Steering Wheel, Multi - Function Steering Wheel with Gear - Shift Paddles, Door Mirrors - Electrically Adjustable and Heated, Start - Stop System, Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, Parking aid, For Full Spec Feel Free To Contact Our Sales Team. Viewing By Appointment Only. Part Exchange Welcome. Finance Available. Debit And Credit Cards Taken

    • Mileage: 25000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
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  • Audi S3

    £23,995 £23,995

    Variant: 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS Audi S3 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS finished in Glacier White, metallic. Specification includes bang & olufsen sound system, MMI navigation Plus, MMI navigation Plus, Audi music interface, super sports seats (front), privacy glass, electrically adjustable lumbar support, Audi phone box, windscreen with grey tinted strip, non-smoking package, light and rain sensor package and technology package.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 12252 mi
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  • AUDI S3 S3 QUATTRO 2015

    £29,795 £29,795

    #Just Arrived# Beautiful and Extremely Rare Audi S3 Saloon finished in the exclusive special paint 'Nogaro Blue' with Black Pack and contrasting black leather upholstery. The car is in superb condition inside and throughout and benefits from a full Audi main dealer service history. This particular Audi S3 comes with a extremely high and desirable specification which consists of; Technology pack, tilt and slide glass panoramic sunroof, Bang and Olufsen sound system, black pack, Audi parking plus, cruise control, DAB radio, privacy glass, folding mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirror, bluetooth connectivity, xenon headlights, automatic wipers and lights, heated seats, dual zone automatic air conditioning + much more. All our cars come with a full and clear HPI certificate. We can provide superb finance packages meaning that you could drive this car away for GBP 439 PM with a GBP 3,500 initial deposit. If you do have any questions regarding this S3 then please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01132536560 / 07802404638 or info@christopherbrook.co.uk

    • Mileage: 18750 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • 2016 Audi S3 Quattro Nav

    POA POA

    2016 / 16 REG + 17,000 MILES + 1 OWNER + 2KEYS + PANORAMIC GLASS ROOF + BIG SAT NAV + FULL LEATHER INTERIOR + HEATED SEATS + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK + BANG AND OULFSEN SOUND SYSTEM + CRUISE CONTROL + AUTO LIGHTS + XENON LIGHTS + BLUETOOTH + DAB + BLACK STYLING PACK + RED BRAKE CALIPERS + PRIVACY GLASS + TECH PACK + COMFORT PACK, 19" x 8J '5-twin-spoke Star' design anthracite, partly polished alloy wheels with 235/35 R19 tyres, Front Sports seats, Flat-bottomed S line 3-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel, with gear shift paddles, Heated front seats, Door mirrors - electrically adjustable and heated, Colour Driver's Information System (DIS), MMI navigation plus, Fine Nappa leather with S3 embossing on the front seats, Brake calipers painted in red with S3 logo, Technology package, Interior lighting package, Audi Music Interface (AMI), Privacy glass, Comfort package, Disc brakes, front, Windscreen with sunband and acoustic glass, Navigation system - High, Parking system plus, front and rear, Adaptive headlights with Xenon Plus headlights, Light and rain sensor, Adaptive headlights with turning light, Cruise control, Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth phone connection, 4WD

    • Year: 2016
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  • Audi S3

    £29,995 £29,995

    4x4 2016 / 16 REG + 17,000 MILES + 1 OWNER + 2KEYS + PANORAMIC GLASS ROOF + BIG SAT NAV + FULL LEATHER INTERIOR + HEATED SEATS + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK + BANG AND OULFSEN SOUND SYSTEM + CRUISE CONTROL + AUTO LIGHTS + XENON LIGHTS + BLUETOOTH + DAB + BLACK STYLING PACK + RED BRAKE CALIPERS + PRIVACY GLASS + TECH PACK + COMFORT PACK, 19'' x 8J '5-twin-spoke Star' design anthracite, partly polished alloy wheels with 235/35 R19 tyres, Front Sports seats, Flat-bottomed S line 3-spoke leather multifunction steering wheel, with gear shift paddles, Heated front seats, Door mirrors - electrically adjustable and heated, Colour Driver's Information System (DIS), MMI navigation plus, Fine Nappa leather with S3 embossing on the front seats, Brake calipers painted in red with S3 logo, Technology package, Interior lighting package, Audi Music Interface (AMI), Privacy glass, Comfort package, Disc brakes, front, Windscreen with sunband and acoustic glass, Navigation system - High, Parking system plus, front and rear, Adaptive headlights with Xenon Plus headlights, Light and rain sensor, Adaptive headlights with turning light, Cruise control, Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth phone connection, 4WD

    • Mileage: 17000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £18,995 £18,995

    4x4 FULL SERVICE HISTORY + 2KEYS + REVO STAGE ONE + MILLTEK SPORT EXHAUST SYSTEM + CARBON INDUCTION KIT + REVO 19'' ALLOYS IN BLACK + AFTERMARKET FRONT SPOILER + SAT NAV + PRIVACY GLASS + FULL LEATHER INTERIOR + HEATED SEATS + XENON LIGHTS, Electric windows, Air conditioning, MP3 player, CD player, Bluetooth, Leather trim, Heated seats, Child seat points (Isofix system), Sports seats, Alloy wheels, Power steering, Steering wheel rake adjustment, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Central locking, Alarm, Immobiliser, Driver's airbags, Side airbags, Passenger airbags, Metallic paint, Spare wheel (Space-saver)

    • Mileage: 50000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • 2015 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    AUDI EXCLUSIVE MERLIN PURPLE + SUPER SPORT QUILTED LEATHER INTERIOR + HEATED SEATS + SAT NAV + BLUETOOTH + PANORAMIC Glass Sunroof + Upgrade BANG & OULFSEN Sound System + BLACK OPTIC PACK + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK, USB and I-Pod Connection, Digital DAB Radio, Multifunction Sports Steering Wheel With Paddleshift Gear Change, Cruise Control, Rear Parking Sensors Interior Light Pack, Privacy Glass, Climate, A/C, Computer, Auto Xenon Headlights, satalite navigation, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror With Rain Sensor Wipers. Still Under Manufacture Warranty

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  • 2014 Audi S3 Quattro 3dr

    POA POA

    MODIFIED...REVO STAGE 1 + MILLTEK DOWNPIPE + SCORPION EXHAUST SYSTEM + SUPER SPORT SEATS + SAT NAV PRO + HEATED SEATS + UPGRADED LOWERED SUSPENSION, 19" REVO ALLOYS + QUATTRO GRILL + BLACK STYLING PACK + UPGRADED FRONT SPOILER + CRUISE CONTROL + STUNNING CAR

    For sale
  • AUDI S3 S3 TFSI QUATTRO 2007

    £9,299 £9,299

    JUSTGERMAN SPECIALIST CARS WIGAN Are Pleased To Have On Sale This Remarkable Audi S3 2.0 TFSi Quattro That Was Purchased Locally Direct From It's Last Keeper.;;Finished In The Much Desirable Sprint Blue Metallic With Matching Optional Extra Two Tone Leather Interior.;;Superb Specification On This Audi S3 Quattro To Include; 18 Inch Alloys (newly powder coated), Two-Tone Leather, Heated Front Seats, Centre Armrest, Sunroof, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, BOSE Speakers, 6CD Changer, Cruise Control, Climate Control, ISOFix Anchor Points plus more...;;We Are Certain You Will Struggle To Find A Cleaner, More Well Presented Like-For-Like S3, It Really Is A Stunning Vehicle.!!;;Recently Had New Timing Belt Kit, Water Pump and Major Service Only Around 100 Miles Ago and It Comes With Service History That Is Part Audi and Part Independant.;;Supplied With All Handbooks Present, HPi Clear Report and Most Importantly Both Working Remote Key Fobs. ;;Our Spint Blue S3 Will Please Any Potential Buyer and We Welcome Any Inspection (AA,RAC etc). ;;Browse At Your Own Leasure As We Have No Creepy High Pressure Salesmen, Just A Family Run Business Doing Something We Are Passionate About and The Kettle Is Always On.!!. ;;- Low % Rate Finance Available.;- Part Exchange Welcome.;- All Credit Cards Accepted.;;** ASK ABOUT OUR REFUNDABLE HOLDING DEPOSIT, GBP 250 SECURES ANY VEHICLE UNTIL YOU CAN COLLECT **;- Collection Date Pre-Arranged and Refundable Only Upon Vehicle Being Mis-Described -;;Feel Free To Make Contact For Viewings Or Further Info.;;Many Thanks, Matthew.

    • Mileage: 95000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £25,990 £25,990

    Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Heated Seats, Bang & Olufsen, 4x4 Audi S3 2.0 TFSI Quattro Hatchback 300 PS S Tronic Automatic registered March 2015 finished in Panther Black Crystal Effect with Full Diamond Quilted Black Leather interior with Rock Grey stitching, Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, Heated S Sports Seats with Lumbar Power Adjustment, Chrome Package, Satellite Navigation with Colour Screen, DAB Radio, Bluetooth, Automatic Dynamic Headlight Range Adjustment, LED Rear Lights, Park Distance Control with Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Start/Stop System with Regenerative Braking, Powerfold Door Mirrors, 18 Inch Alloys with Red Brake Callipers, Cruise Control, Drive Select, Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel with Paddleshift, Dynamic Steering, ECO Function, Privacy Glass, Space Saver Spare Wheel. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Mileage: 12500 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £31,941 £31,941

    Variant name:S3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic ,Variant: S3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Alloy Wheels,Automatic Gearbox,Automatic Headlights,Bluetooth Prepared,CD Player,Climate Control,Cruise Control,Electric Windows,Engine Immobiliser,Four Wheel Drive,Heated Mirrors,Leather Upholstery,LED Headlights,Onboard Computer,Parking Distance Control,Power Steering,Satellite Navigation,Traction Control,Xenon Headlights

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 8278 mi
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £16,995 £16,995

    Bluetooth, Climate Control, Full Leather, Colour SatNav, Heated Seats, Xenon Headlamps, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Parking Sensors, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Bose, CD Player, Radio, Multiple Airbags, Remote Central Locking, Alarm, Front Fog Lamps, Adjustable Steering Column, Alloy wheels, 4x4

    • Mileage: 32000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £25,000 £25,000

    Variant name:S3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic ,Variant: S3 TFSI Quattro 5dr S Tronic Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,Bluetooth Prepared,Cruise Control,Electric Front Seats,ESP,Satellite Navigation

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 27527 mi
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £19,995 £19,995

    Variant: 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS Audi S3 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS finished in brilliant black metallic with black leather interior Specification includes Driver/Passenger Seat Height Adjustment, Trip Computer, Power-Assisted Steering, Rake/Reach Adjustable Steering Column/Wheel, Radio/CD/MP3, Bluetooth Interface Telephone Equipment, Bluetooth Interface Telephone Equipment, Eight Speakers, Front Fog Lights, Heated Washer Jets, Load Anchorage Points, Electric/Heated Door Mirrors, Xenon Headlights Exterior Lighting, Sport Chassis, Roof Spoiler, Front Armrest, Front Electric Windows, Front/Rear Head Restraints, Front Seats Sports, Seats Split Rear, Heated Rear Screen, Steering Wheel Leather, Three Seats - Front & Rear Seat - isofix Anchorage Point, Cup Holder, Textile Floor Mats, Anti-Lock Brakes, Driver, Passenger And Front Side Air Bags, Electronic Stability Programme, Driver Air Bag Knee, Centre Rear Seat Belt, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Alarm, Remote Central Door Locking, Immobiliser, 18In Alloy Wheels and Space Saver Spare Wheel.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 38320 mi
    For sale
  • Audi S3 Sportback |

    £43,850 £43,850

    Specification MAKE Audi MODEL S3 Sportback COLOUR Mythos Black with Black Supersports Seating YEAR 2016/66 MILEAGE 1000 DESCRIPTION We are delighted to be able to offer for sale this very highly specified example of the Audi S3 Sportback. Presented in Mythos Black with Black Supersports Seating. Supplied with the balance of its Audi 5 Year/90,000 miles warranty. Great saving on list price, as this car would have cost £49,357.00 including the comprehensive MTM Upgrade. OPTIONAL EXTRAS Supersports Seating in Black Fine Nappa Leather, Extended Interior Upholstery Package, Matrix LED Exterior Lighting Package, Audi Magnetic Ride, Model Designation Removal from Rear, Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Split Folding Rear Seat, Rear Side Airbags, Reversible Boot Mat, Door Mirrors - Auto Dimming, Adjusting and Folding, Audi Pre Sense Basic, Audi Park Assist, Bang & Olufsen HiFi System, 19" V Spoke Design Matt Titanium Wheels, Rear-View Camera, Driver Assist Package, Audi Advanced Key, Audi Hill Hold Assist, Technology Package Advanced. MTM Cantronic 380 HP Power Upgrade to include MTM Downpipe with Catalytic Converter and Air Filter. TRANSMISSION S Tronic ENGINE CAPACITY 1984 EMISSIONS (CO 2 ) 152 B

    • Mileage: 43850 mi
    For sale
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