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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 Saloon 2.0 TFSi Quattro 310ps S Tronic 4dr 2017

    £28,990 £28,990

    Vat Inclusive Price-HPi Clear-1 Owner-Full Audi Service History+Audi Warranty Until April 2020-Massive Spec Car-2017 Facelift 310BHP Facelift Model-Finished In Stunning Daytona Grey Pearl Metallic with Full Black Nappa Leather Sports Seats-Audi Technology Pack Advanced-Audi Virtual Digital Cockpit-Bang + Olufsen Sound System-Audi HDD Navigation System With Google Online Maps-19 Inch Alloys-Audi Phonebox With Wireless Charging-Electric Heated Seats-DAB Digital Radio-Audi MMi With Touch-

    • Mileage: 24660 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £28,990 £28,990
    Ash Marques Ltd
    01204 392799 View contact number
  • 2013 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    1 OWNER, PAN ROOF, SAT NAV, JUST BEEN SERVICED AT AUDI, 2 KEYS, PARKING SENSORS, XENON HEADLIGHTS, LED LIGHTS, HEATED SEATS, START STOP, Technology Package, High Beam Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Standard Features - DAB Digital Radio, Voice Control system - for Key Telephone and Radio Functions, 18in x 7.5J 5 - Twin - Spoke Star Design Anthracite, Partly Polished Alloy Wheels with 225/40 R18 Tyres and Anti - Theft Wheel Bolts, Bluetooth Interface, panoramic roof, Electric Front and Rear Windows, MMI Radio - Single CD Player and Two SDXC Memory Card Readers witch are Both MP3, WMA and AAC Compatible - FM and AM (MW) Reception, Thatcham Category 1 Alarm. 5 seats

    For sale
    POA POA
  • 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
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 2014 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    1 PREVIOUS OWNER, PAN ROOF, BANG AND OULFSEN + EXCLUSIVE RED AND BLACK LEATHER + EXTENDED LEATHER + 2 KEYS + PARKING SENSORS + XENON HEADLIGHTS + LED LIGHTS + HEATED SEATS + START STOP + NAVIGATION NEEDS ENABLING + High Beam Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, DAB Digital Radio, Voice Control system - for Key Telephone and Radio Functions, 18in x 7.5J 5 - Twin - Spoke Star Design Anthracite, Partly Polished Alloy Wheels with 225/40 R18 Tyres and Anti, Bluetooth Interface, Electric Front and Rear Windows, MMI Radio - Single CD Player and Two SDXC Memory Card Readers witch are Both MP3, WMA and AAC Compatible - FM and AM (MW) Reception, Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, panoramic sunroof. 5 seats

    For sale
    POA POA
  • Audi S3

    £16,450 £16,450

    4x4 FINANCE PACKAGES AVAILABLE + PART EXCHANGE WELCOME. We offer this One Owner Audi S3 Black Edition in Fantastic Condition throughout and with a Service history. What a Stunning Colour Scheme! At Auto-Sportiva we are an AA Approved Garage so Buy with Confidence and Extendable AA Warranties available. Spec Includes - Full Black Leather Interior, Satellite Navigation System, Electric Tilt & Slide Sunroof, 18'' Alloys, Rear Parking Sensors, Bi Xenon Headlights, Auto Headlights, Heated Front Seats, Bluetooth Telephone Connectivity, Cruise Control, Privacy Glass, Multifunction Steering Wheel, Voice Command, Auto Dimming Mirrors, Dual A/C, I Phone/Usb Connectivity, 2 Keys, Pearl Effect Paint, Acoustic Parking System (Rear Only), Standard Features - Drivers Information System (DIS), Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, Electric Front Windows, Audi Symphony Radio, Alarm, Anti Lock Brake System (ABS), Airbags, Central locking, Power steering, Traction control. 5 seats, Pearlescent Meteor Grey, FINANCE PACKAGES AVAILABLE + PART EXCHANGE WELCOME. We offer this in Fantastic Condition throughout and with a Full Service history. What a Stunning Colour Scheme and Great Specification! At Auto-Sportiva we are an AA Approved Garage so Buy with Confidence and Extendable AA Warranties available.

    • Mileage: 44717 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
    £16,450 £16,450
  • Audi S3

    £32,399 £32,399

    Variant name:S3 TFSI Quattro 4dr S Tronic ,Variant: S3 TFSI Quattro 4dr S Tronic 5 Star NCAP Rating,ABS,Alloy Wheels,Automatic Gearbox,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,Bluetooth Prepared,CD Player,Climate Control,Cruise Control,Electric Front Seats,Electric Mirrors,Electric Windows,Engine Immobiliser,Front Fog Lights,Full Service History,Heated Seats,Isofix Seats,Leather Steering Wheel,LED Headlights,Manufacturer Warranty,Memory Seats,Multiple Airbags,Onboard Computer,Parking Distance Control,Satellite Navigation,Traction Control

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 3142 mi
    For sale
    £32,399 £32,399
  • Audi S3

    £32,995 £32,995

    4x4 2016 / 66 REG + 16,000 MILES + 2 KEYS + MASSIVE SPEC + PANORAMIC GLASS ROOF + SUPER SPORT SEATS + KEYLESS ENTRY + KEYLES START + MRC TUNED + SAT NAV PLUS + GOOGLE EARTH + HEATED SEATS + + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK + CRUISE CONTROL + BLIND SPORT ASSIST + LANE ASSIST + BANG AND OULSEN SOUND SYSTEM + VIRTUAL COCKPIT + PRIVACY GLASS + FRONT AND REAR PARKING SENSORS + UPGRADED ALLOYS + ELECTRIC FOLDING MIRRORS +AUTO LIGHTS + RED BRAKE CALIPERS +MORE SPEC AND PICTURES TO FOLLOW

    • Mileage: 16000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
    £32,995 £32,995
  • AUDI S3 2002

    £6,995 £6,995

    We are pleased to offer this desirable unmodifed Audi S3 Quattro in Ming Blue Pearl with Black Silk Nappa Heated Recaro Sport seats. With just ONE keeper from new, Full Service History including Cambelt, the original Alloy Wheels have just been refurbished and we have prepared the car to an exceptional standard;;Upgrades - BOSE Sound System, Heated Front Seats, Electric Slide/Tilt Glass Sunroof with Pre Select, Acoustic Parking System, Cruise Control, Symphony Stereo with Single Front Loading CD, 6 CD Autochanger, Front Centre Armrest, Black Full leather interior, ;;Standard Features - 17" Alloy Wheels, Climate Control, Computer (Driver Information System), Seats Electric (Driver/Passenger), Remote Central Locking, Alarm, Immobiliser, Two Keys, Warranted Mileage. 5 seats, Ming Blue Pearl;;We are open by appointment 7 days a week. All of our vehicles are HPI checked and clear. Our cars are prepared to the highest standard by our in house team and are subjected to a full mechanical inspection prior to sale

    • Mileage: 75000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.781
    For sale
    £6,995 £6,995
  • AUDI S3 SPORTBACK TFSI QUATTRO BLACK EDTN. 2011

    £16,995 £16,995

    AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI Quattro Sportback Black Edition, 2011, DSG with Paddle Shift, Pelican Blue Pearl, 2 Tone Black and Silver Leather, 59,000 miles, Full Audi Service History, Outstanding condition throughout.;;SPECIFICATION:;*2.0 TFSI;*6 Speed S Tronic with Paddle Shift;*59,000 miles;*Pelican Blue Pearl – Special Order Paintwork;*Two Tone Black and Silver Leather;*Full Colour Satellite Navigation;*Audi Park Distance Control Front and Rear;*Auto Dimming and Electric Folding Mirrors;*Rear Window Sunblind;*Hill Hold Control;*Duel Climate Control;;BLACK EDITION FEATURES:;*18’’ Rotor Design Titanium Finish Alloy Wheels;*Black Styling Package;*BOSE Sound System;*Bluetooth Interface;*Rear Privacy Glass;*Piano Black Trim Inserts;*Flat Bottom Muti-function Sports Steering Wheel with Paddle Shift;*Xenon ‘Plus’ Headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights;;ADDITIONAL:;*Original Owners Wallet, Handbooks and Service Book;*Full Audi Service History;*2 Keys;*MOT History;*HPi Clear;*Outstanding Condition Throughout ;;HIGH DEFENITION PHOTO GALLERY:;To view, click the following link:-;*To follow;;DESCRIPTION:;We present this stunning S3 Quattro Sportback in outstanding condition throughout. Finished in special order Pelican Blue Pearl with Black Styling Pack and sitting on 18’’ Titanium Finished Rotor Alloy wheels, this car certainly stands out from the crowd. ;The style continues inside with the two tone Black and Silver leather sports interior complimented by Piano Black trim inlays to the dash and door tops.;;The Black Edition Specification makes for a long list with extras such as Park Distance Control, Colour Sat Nav and BOSE sound system. The cars sporty character is enhanced by the flat bottomed, leather trimmed sports steering wheel with multi-function controls, and manual gear shift paddles to operate the duel clutch 6 speed DSG gearbox.;;The car drives beautifully with no shortage of power should you need it whilst the Quattro 4 wheel drive system keeps the car sure footed in all weather conditions. ;;EXTRIOR FEATURES:;External Features include 18’’ Rotor Style Alloy wheels, Black Grill and Shadow line, Rear Privacy Glass, Alloy Mirror Covers, and Xenon Headlights.;;INTERNAL FEATURES:;On top, of the listed items above, there’s Automatic lights, Auto wipers, ABS, Traction Control, Central Locking, Airbags, Trip Computer, Electric Windows and Mirrors and many more.;;PERFORMANCE:;*Engine: 2.0 TFSI;*Gear Box: 6 Speed S Tronic ;*Power: 261bhp;*Acceleration (0-62mph): sub 5.6 seconds;*Top Speed: 155mph (electronically limited);*Economy: 36mpg;;HISTORY: ;The car was first registered new on 27th June 2011 at Warrington Audi and was sold to the second owner from Didsbury on 08th August 2012.;The current owner has owned and maintained the car since 13th April 2013.;;Recorded Service details:-;;DateMileageGarage;27/06/2011 DeliveryWarrington Audi;28/12/2012 7,182Manchester Audi;06/12/2013 16,381Pentraeth Audi;05/12/2014 27,469North Wales Audi;20/04/2017 54,151North Wales Audi;;*A Haldex Oil service was carried out on 26/02/2016 at around 40,000 miles.;;The car will be sold with a new MOT valid until October 2018.;;The car the car is HPi clear, comes with both remote keys and its Original Audi owners pack containing the owners hand books and service schedule.;;GENERAL:;Style, quality and performance in a practical family car package. This stunning S3 Black Edition is in exceptional condition throughout.;;PRICE:;Our Audi S3 Sportback is priced at GBP 16,995 including a 3 month warranty.;;Card Payments Taken;Part Exchange welcome.;;

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £16,995 £16,995
  • Audi S3

    £20,990 £20,990

    Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Bluetooth, Bang & Olufsen, Heated Seats, Satellite Navigation, 4x4, Full main dealer service history +++FREE NATIONAL DELIVERY+++Part Exchange Welcome - Finance Available on Request - Subject to Status + Company Directors' Packages Available - All Vehicle Professionally Valeted and Ready for Collection- Audi S3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Quattro 300PS S Tronic Automatic 5 Door registered June 2014 (14) finished in Monsoon Grey Metallic with Full Lunar Silver Leather interior, Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, Heated Sports Comfort Seats, Park Distance Control with Rear Parking Sensors, 18 Inch Alloys, Start/stop, Cruise Control, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, DAB Radio, Automatic Lights and Wipers, Space Saver Spare Wheel, Drive Select, Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel, Powerfold Door Mirrors, LED Tail Lights.-Full Audi Service History on 11/02/15 at 19,003; 08/01/16 at 38,073 - FRESH DISCS, PADS AND FRONT TYRES.

    • Mileage: 60000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
    £20,990 £20,990
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI 310PS QUATTRO BLACK EDITION S-TRONIC PAN ROOF 2017

    £36,495 £36,495

    ** FINANCE AVAILABLE FROM 8.9% APR ** JUST 6,288 MILES FROM NEW ** ONE PRIVATE OWNER FROM NEW ** MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY APPLICABLE UNTIL 10th MARCH 2020 ** ALL HANDBOOKS AVAILABLE ** AN IMMACULATE EXAMPLE THROUGHOUT WITH ARA BLUE CRYSTAL EFFECT PAINTWORK ** FINE BLACK NAPPA LEATHER WITH ROCK GREY STITCHING ** PANORAMIC GLASS SUNROOF ** AUDI MAGNETIC RIDE ** 19" 5 V SPOKE DESIGN DIAMOND CUT ALLOY WHEELS WITH MATT TITANIUM LOOK ** BRAKE CALLIPERS PAINTED IN RED WITH S3 LOGO AT FRONT ** AUDI PHONE BOX WITH WIRELESS CHARGING ** BANG and OLUFSEN PREMIUM SOUND SYSTEM ** THREE STAGE HEATED FRONT SEATS ** BLACK EXTERIOR STYLING PACK WITH REAR PRIVACY GLASS, S3 FRONT BUMPER, GLOSS BLACK DOOR MIRROR HOUSINGS + GLOSS BLACK BODY RUNNING STRIPS ** LED AUTOMATIC HEADLIGHTS WITH LED DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS ** RAIN SENSITIVE WIPERS ** LED INTERIOR LIGHTING PACK WITH AUDI ILLUMINATED DOOR RINGS ** MMI NAVIGATION WITH 7" COLOUR SCREEN ** CRUISE CONTROL ** FRONT SPORT SEATS ** MATT BRUSHED ALUMINIUM INTERIOR INLAYS ** DUAL ZONE ELECTRONIC CLIMATE CONTROL ** FLAT BOTTOMED 3 SPOKE LEATHER STEERING WHEEL WITH PADDLE SHIFT GEAR CHANGE ** CENTRE ARMREST ** DAB DIGITAL RADIO ** BLUETOOTH HANDSFREE READY WITH AUDIO STREAMING ** ILLUMINATED S3 DOOR SILLS ** FOOT PEDALS FINISHED IN BRUSHED STAINLESS STEEL ** 3 DOOR PETROL AUTOMATIC HATCHBACK ** 2 REMOTE KEYS AVAILABLE ** FREE DELIVERY ANYWHERE IN UK ** COMPLETELY MOTORING CHELTENHAM and GLOUCESTER **

    • Mileage: 6288 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £36,495 £36,495
  • Audi S3

    £13,500 £13,500

    4x4 Ibis White with Black & White Two Tone Silk Nappa Leather Interior. Specification includes Technology Pack with Satellite Navigation Plus, SD Card Reader, Bluetooth Phone Preparation, Audi Music Interface, Factory Privacy Glass, Parking Sensors, Xenon Plus Headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights, Heated Front Seats, Flat Bottom Multi Function Steering Wheel, Climate Control, 6 Speed Gearbox, 18'' Alloy Wheels in Black. 2 Keys. Cambelt Changed at 51,862 miles. Last Serviced at 60k inc Rear Brake pads, Brake Fluid Change and both Rear Coil Springs replaced. Car is in excellent condition, runs and drives beautifully. Call us to discuss delivery anywhere in the UK on this car. Have a look at our testimonials on our website to read more about us and the services we can offer our clients. Video walk around of this car available. 'Like' our page on Facebook for stock updates. This vehicle is HPI Checked and supplied with 12 Months AA Roadside Assistance. WarrantyWise Warranties Available for 6,12,24 or 36 Months. UK Nationwide Delivery Available. Finance Available - We have a range of lenders for all circumstances - CHALLENGE US TO BEAT YOUR FINANCE QUOTES. Part Exchange Considered. View our website - WWW.GEORGEKINGSLEY.CO.UK - Prestige & Performance Specialist

    • Mileage: 64049 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
    £13,500 £13,500