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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
2795 43850 GBP
  • Audi S3 Reserved

    POA POA

    ONE owner Audi S3 presented in Brilliant Black comes with the following specification; Fine Black Nappa leather, multi-function flat bottom leather steering wheel, heated seats, dual zone climate control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity with streaming, drive select, centre armrest, black styling package, privacy glass, cruise control, automatic Xenon headlights, rain sensor, electric heated mirrors, rear park assist and 18" double spoke alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Hatchback Transmission: Automatic Mileage: 13,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2015 (65) Doors: 3 Engine Size: 2.0 Finished in: Brilliant Black

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 13000 mi
    For sale
    Maundrell
    01235 762033 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 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 H Fi 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 Down pipe with Catalytic Converter and Air Filter. TRANSMISSION S Tronic ENGINE CAPACITY 1984 EMISSIONS (CO 2 ) 152

    • Mileage: 43850 mi
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  • 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

    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £2,795 £2,795

    Climate Control, Half Leather, Power Steering, Adjustable Steering Column, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Rear Spoiler, Rear Wash/wipe, Remote Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Anti-Theft System, Cambelt Changed, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, Sports Seats, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Headrests, Bose, 4x4, Service history excellent example of this sports hatchback

    • Mileage: 132000 mi
    • Engine size: 1781
    For sale
  • Audi S3 ON SALE NOW

    £26,450 £26,450

    ONE owner Audi S3 presented in Sepang Blue comes with the following specification; Fine Black Nappa leather interior, heated seats, three spoke multi-function flat bottom steering wheel, dual zone climate control, satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, DAB digital radio with CD, Audi Drive Select, comfort pack, privacy glass, cruise control, rain sensor, electric heated mirrors, automatic Xenon headlights, park assist and 18" twin spoke star alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Hatchback Transmission: Manual Mileage: 4,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2016 (16) Doors: 3 Engine Size: 2.0 Finished in: Sepang Blue

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 4000 mi
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 S3 TFSI QUATTRO 2009

    £16,450 £16,450

    Just arrived into stock a beautiful and extremely rare Audi S3 finished in Suzuka Grey with 2 tone Silk and Black nappa leather interior. The car is in superb condition inside and throughout and benefits from a full Audi and Audi specialist service history who have recently replaced the cambelt and water pump in November 2016. This particular S3 comes with a superb and extremely desirable specification which consists of; Special order Suzuka Grey paint colour, special order 2 tone Silk and Black nappa leather interior, black styling pack, 6 CD auto changer, Audi parking plus, adaptive lights, BOSE surround sound system, DVD Sat Nav, light and rain sensor pack, privacy glass, interior light pack, high beam assist + much more. All our cars come with a full HPI certificate. We can provide superb finance packages at very competitive rates. If you do have any questions regarding the; finance, history etc then please do not hesitate to contact the office on 01132536560 or info@christopherbrook.co.uk

    • Mileage: 24675 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 S3 TFSI QUATTRO 2010

    £17,495 £17,495

    Just arrived into stock a super rare high specification Audi S3 finished in without a doubt the best colour combination of Sprint Blue with exclusive two tone Silk and Nappa leather. The car has only had 2 owners who from day 1 have absolutely cherished the car and has had it serviced at an Audi main dealer all its life. This particular Audi S3 has a fantastic specification, this consists of; Sprint Blue exclusive colour, two tone silk and nappa exclusive leather, panoramic glass sunroof, Audi satellite navigation plus, cruise control, exterior black styling pack, privacy glass, heated front + rear seats, bose sound surround system, phone prep + bluetooth, Audi parking plus, black roof rails, electric heated door mirrors, interior light pack + much more. All our cars are supplied with a full and clear HPI certificate. We can arrange superb finance packages at very competitive rates. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions.

    • Mileage: 31500 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • 2013 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    Estoril Blue With Parade design Red Nappa Sports Seats. Fantastic Spec Inc: 3D inlays, Technology Pack, MMI HDD Navigation With Bluetooth Interface, Parade Red Design Pack, Electric Lumbar For Front Seat, 3D Design Inlays, Upgrade Bang & Oulfsen Sound System With DAB Radio, I-Pod and USB Connection, Audi Active Lane and Side Assist, Audi Pre Sense, Driver Assistance Pack, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, High Beam Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror With Light and Rain Sensor, Interior Light Pack, Bright Roof Rails, Privacy Glass. Remainder Of Manufacture Warranty and Service Pack

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  • 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

    For sale
  • Audi S3 Sportback TFSI Quattro Black Edition

    POA POA

    JUST IN - Audi S3 2.0L TFSI Quattro S Line Black Edition Sportback 6 Speed Manual registered December 2012 finished in Vegas Yellow with Black Half Leather Interior. Finance available on request - subject to status. Ask about our Company Directors Packages. Fully Valeted; 12 Months MOT; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome. See our Youtube channel or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    • Year: 2010
    For sale
  • 2014 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    1 OWNER, EXCLUSIVE SPRINT BLUE, PANORAMIC ROOF, SUPER SPORT SEATS, HEATED SEATS, SAT NAV PRE WIRED, BANG & OULFSEN, INTERIOR LIGHT PACK, KEYLESS, ALLUMINUIM PACK, PARKING SENSORS, ROOF RAILS, 18" Alloys, Xenon Headlights, Auto Dim Rear View Mirror With Rain Sensor Wipers, Multifunction Sports Steering Wheel With Paddleshift Gear Change, Electric Heated Mirrors, Climate, A/C, Computer

    For sale
  • AUDI S3 BLACK EDITION MEGA SPEC 2011

    £15,995 £15,995

    5 seats, White, Full Service History With A Major Service Just Been Carried Out Including Cambelt and Water Pump, Glass Sunroof, Audi MMI Satellite Navigation, Black Fine Nappa Leather Recaro Bucket Seats, Heated Seats, Flat Bottom Multifunctional Steering Wheel, Audi Bluetooth, Bose Sound System, Bi Xenon Headlights With Day Time Running Lights, Privacy Glass, 19" Alloy Wheels, Front Centre Armrest, iPod Console, Trip Computer, Air Conditioning, Dual Zone Climate Control, Front and Rear Fog Lights, Drivers Airbag, Passenger Airbag, Remote Central Locking, Alarm/Immobiliser, Electric Windows/Mirrors, Automatic Wipers, Heated Door Mirrors, Superb Condition Throughout, Hpi Clear, Part Exchange/Warranty, Nationwide Delivery Available

    • Mileage: 66000 mi
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £12,850 £12,850

    2009/59 Audi S3 2.0 S-Tronic TFSI Quattro 3 door + Bose + Sat Nav + F/S/H Regrettably selling my fantastic Audi S3 Quattro. I searched for ages when buying this car to find the best condition, best spec car I could without star ship mileage, so this has the quick changing S-Tronic DSG gearbox, black heated leather with Sat Nav and the upgraded Bose sound system. A fantastic colour combination with the Ice Silver metallic paint. The interior is in great condition, having never been smoked in or transported pets. The heated leather seats provide brilliant support and a spot on driving position with a height and reach adjustable steering wheel. In car entertainment is provided by the Audi Navigation Plus system, Multiplayer CD and Bose speaker system. Fantastic sound quality. This combines Bluetooth integration for your phone, an Aux-in connectivity and 2 SD card slots. I have 2 x 32gb sd cards which is more than enough music, but there is a 6 cd multichanger in the glovebox too. The sat-nav is running a 2015 disc with full postcode look up on. The car comes with:- 2 operational keys MOT until Sept 2017 Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric 2 tyres all round on genuine Audi 18 inch S3 alloys Space saver spare wheel Comprehensive service history, car serviced at:- 8249 15910 28339 38524 45114 48593 (cam belt and water pump replaced) 51585 (by dealer I purchased from) 58730 62676 Always premium oil, genuine Audi parts and Premium fuel used. I've loved owning this car and always look after it, making sure to avoid car park dents and dings, touching up the inevitable stone chips etc.

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 68000 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    Drew Buckley
  • Audi S3

    £27,995 £27,995

    4x4 IBIS WHITE + SUPER SPORT QUILTED LEATHER INTERIOR + HEATED SEATS + BIG SAT NAV + BLUETOOTH + PANORAMIC Glass Sunroof + BLACK OPTIC 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.

    • Mileage: 25800 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £22,995 £22,995

    18'' S-Line Alloys, Satellite Navigation, Heated Seats, Technology Package , Climate Control, Dual Climate Zones, Sports Seats, Heated Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Drive Select, CD Player, Juke Box, SD Card Reader , Bluetooth, Bluetooth Audio, iPod Connectivity, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Start Stop, Electric Handbrake, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Traction Control, Computer, Aluminium Roof Rails, Audi Sound System , ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Anti-Theft System, Remote Central Locking, Folding Rear Seats, 4x4, Full service history

    • Mileage: 25000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
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