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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
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  • AUDI S3 S3 QUATTRO NAV 2016

    £25,495 £25,495

    Amazing example, best we have seen in fact, Sepang Blue, Contrasting white leather, Immaculate condition throughout, Reverse camera, Panoramic glass sliding roof, Equipment and design packages, LED adaptive headlights, high beam assist, rain sensors, B and O sound system, Cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, interior lighting pack, Auto fold heated electric mirrors, Sat NAV, Media Package, LOTS more... PCP finance available, PX welcome,

    • Mileage: 16900 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £25,495 £25,495
    Augustus Autos
    07912 886415 View contact number
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI Quattro S Line 3dr EXCLUSIVE Petrol Manual 2012 54000 Green

    £16,495 £16,495

    A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO OWN A VERY UNIQUE EXCLUSIVE JAVA GREEN AUDI S3 WITH EXCLUSIVE NAPPA LEATHER, FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY AND 2 FORMER KEEPERS! THIS CAR IS IN ABSOLUTELY STUNNING CONDITION!;;Upgrades/Spec Includes: Java Green Exclusive Paint Option, Exclusive Alabaster White Leather S Line Heated Sports Seats Including Electric Lumbar Support, Navigation Plus, Bluetooth Handsfree, AMI Music Interface, Bose Sound System, LED Daytime Running Lights, Bi Xenon Adaptive Headlights, Leather Centre Armrest, S Line Aluminium Electric Folding Door Mirrors, Lights Package, Auto Dimming Mirrors, Cruise Control, Multi Function S Line Leather Steering Wheel, Rear Parking Sensors, Auto Lights/Wipers, Individual Climate Control, 18" Final Edition S Line Alloy Wheels With Michelin Pilot Sport 4 Tyres. ;Serviced At 6288 Miles, 15911 Miles, 21176 Miles, 28233 Miles, 30544 Miles, 38195 Miles, 45520 Miles And 54158 Miles.;;SPEAK TO US ABOUT OUR FLEXIBLE LOW RATE FINANCE OPTIONS!;;;;;

    • Mileage: 54000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £16,495 £16,495
  • Audi S3

    £24,995 £24,995

    Variant: Navigation 2.0 TFSI quattro 300 PS S tronic Satellite Navigation system - SD card based, Audi Music Interface (AMI), Comfort package, Navigation, Windscreen with sunband and acoustic glass, Auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Navigation system, Parking system, rear, Light and rain sensor, Cruise control, Bluetooth phone connection

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 25009 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £24,995 £24,995
  • Audi S3

    £25,495 £25,495

    COMPETITIVE NO DEPOSIT 6.9% APR ON REQUEST, 50 % OFF 3 YEAR PREMIUM WARRANTY OFFER, A 3 YR WARRANTY IS AVAILABLE NORMALLY £1999, A 50% DEALER CONTRIBUTION LEAVING £995 TO PAY, WEAR & TEAR ''INCLUDING WORN PARTS'', NATIONWIDE COVER, PARTS & LABOUR, NO EXCESS, UPTO CURRENT MARKET VALUE, COURTESY CAR, ALL OUR VEHICLES ARE HPI AND MILEAGE VERIFIED, PRICE MATCH GUARANTEED ON LIKE FOR LIKE VEHICLES, LATE NIGHT VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT, 4x4 This Superb Looking Audi S3 Comes With A Huge Specification And In The Best Colour Combination Finished In Myths Black Paint And Complemented With Full Black Leather Heated Sport Seats. Specification Includes Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Audi MMI Satellite Navigation System, Bluetooth, Bang And Oulfsen Sound System, Comfort Package, Drive Select, Front And Rear Parking Sensors, Climate Control, Cruise Control, Unmarked 19'' Polished Twin Spoke Alloy Wheels And Much More. This S3 Saloon Also Comes With A Full Audi Service History And Just Serviced. Viewing Is A Must To Appreciate The Condition Inside Out Of This Fantastic Performance Quattro Model. Ultra Low Finance Available On Request.

    • Mileage: 27000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
    £25,495 £25,495
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO 3dr 2010

    £15,490 £15,490

    RARE SOLAR ORANGE S3, GREY UNMARKED ALLOYS, 7 SERVICES, TIMING BELT and WATER PUMP CHANGED AT 48,489 MILES, FULL BLACK LEATHER WITH HEATED SEATS, BOSE SPEAKERS, BLUETOOTH, XENON HEADLIGHTS, 2 KEYS, HPI CLEAR, Upgrades - BOSE Sound System, Black Full leather interior, Standard Features - 18in x 7.5J Parallel 5 - Spoke S Design Alloy Wheels with 225/40R18 Y Tyres and Locking Wheel Bolts, Drivers Information System (DIS), Dual - Zone Electronic Climate Control, Electric Front Windows, Heat - Insulating Glass, Heated Front Seats, Mobile Telephone Preparation - Bluetooth Interface, Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, Upholstery - Black Silk Nappa Leather with Embossing, 3x3 point rear seat belts, Air conditioning, Airbags, Alarm, Alloy wheels, Anti Lock Brake System (ABS), CD Player, Central Door Locking Remote, Central locking, Centre Rear Seat Belt, Drivers Airbag, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Flat - Bottomed Sports Steering Wheel, Heated seats, Height adjustable drivers seat, Immobiliser, Heated Rear Windscreen, Matt - Brushed Aluminium Inlays, Power steering, Radio, Remote central locking. 5 seats, Orange.;OWN FOR GBP 299.99 X 60 MONTHS WITH ONLY GBP 1000 DEPOSIT - SUBJECT TO STATUS, PLEASE CALL FOR DETAILS, NO DEPOSIT OPTIONS ALSO AVAILABLE.;FAMILY RUN BUSINESS SINCE 1974.;For more information, to check availability or to arrange a viewing please call 07973 321469.;;Competitive finance and PCP rates available call for a quote, GBP 15,490;;PLEASE CHECK OUR LATEST REVIEWS AT: https://www.autotrader.co.uk/dealers/nottinghamshire/mansfield/clements-quality-cars-18070#reviews

    • Mileage: 68000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £15,490 £15,490
  • Audi S3

    £27,690 £27,690

    Variant name:S3 QUATTRO ,Derivative:MK3 FL (8V) (A6) ,Variant: 2.0 TFSI quattro 310 PS S tronic Audi Beam, 18" x 7.5J '5-twin-spoke star' design alloy wheels in contrast grey, diamond cut finish with 225/40 R18 tyres, MMI Radio Plus with 7" colour MMI screen and MMI controller, Fine Nappa leather with S embossed logo, Storage Pack, LED Interior Lighting Pack, DAB digital radio, Rear shock absorption, Audi Smartphone Interface, Illuminated door sill trims with S logo, quattro, Heated front seats, S3 roof spoiler, MMI Navigation (SD card-based), Rear parking sensors, Colour Driver's Information System (DIS)

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 2549 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £27,690 £27,690
  • AUDI S3 QUATTRO S-TRONIC PAN ROOF- SUPERSPORT SEATS- LED HEADLIGHTS 2014

    £22,500 £22,500

    WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT THIS IMMACULATE AUDI S3 WITH RARE OPTIONS SUCH AS PAN ROOF, SUPERSPORT SEATS, B and O, SAT NAV AND UPGRADED ALLOYS! THIS VEHICLE HAS FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY INCLUDING RECENT SERVICE. PLEASE CALL FOR A PERSONALISED FINANCE QUOTATION INCLUDING ZERO DEPOSIT OPTIONS. ;;2014/64 Reg Audi S3 Finished In Glacier White with Full Leather. Great Spec to Include- Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Supersport Seats, LED Adaptive Headlights, SD Based Satellite Navigation System, Bang and Olufsen Sound System, Cruise Control, 18in 10 Spoke Alloys Finished In Titanium, Red Brake Calipers, Privacy Glass, Electric Lumber Support, USB/Ipod Interface, DAB Digital Radio, Bluetooth Phone Prep with Audio Streaming. HPI CLEAR;;THIS AUDI S3 HAS ONE PREVIOUS OWNER AND FULL AUDI SERVICE HISTORY. COMPREHENSIVE NATIONWIDE WARRANTY INCLUDED. ;;INDOOR SHOWROOM- LOW RATE FINANCE WITH ZERO DEPOSIT OPTIONS- PART EXCHANGE- FREE DRIVE AWAY INSURANCE- NATIONWIDE DELIVERY. ALL MAJOR CREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS ACCEPTED- VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY

    • Mileage: 46000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
    £22,500 £22,500
  • 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
    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
  • 2016 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    PAN ROOF + SUPERSPORT SEATS + VIRTUAL COCKPIT + TECHNOLOGY PACK HIGH + BANG & OLUFSEN SOUND SYSTEM + SAT NAV HIGH + DAB + RED CALLIPERS + COMFORT AND SOUND PACKAGE + HEATED SEATS + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK + FRONT AND REAR PDC + AUDI PHONE BOX WITH WIRELESS CHARGING + CRUISE CONTROL + PRIVACY GLASS + AUDI DRIVE SELECT + JUST BEEN SERVICED BY AUDI + ALL USUAL AUDI S3 REFINEMENTS

    For sale
    POA POA
  • 2016 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    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

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Audi S3 ON SALE NOW

    £27,995 £27,995

    Maundrells are pleased to offer this Audi S3 Sportback, first supplied by Nottingham Audi. A pre-sale inspection has been carried out in our on site workshop by specialist technicians. This Audi S3 Sportback presented in Glacier White comes with the following specification; black leather, heated seats, multi-function flat bottom steering wheel, dual zone climate control, DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity with media streaming, navigation, drive select, cruise control, automatic LED headlights, rain sensor, park assist, black styling package, privacy glass, roof rails in black and 18" alloy wheels. Part exchange welcome, competitive finance available. Viewings welcome by appointment only. Body: Hatchback Transmission: Automatic Mileage: 11,000 Fuel Type: Petrol Registered: 2016 (16) Doors: 5 Engine Size: 2.0 Finished in: Glacier White

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 11000 mi
    For sale
    £27,995 £27,995
  • 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 Sportback

    £25,490 £25,490

    Variant name:Black Edition ,Derivative:Black Edition ,Variant: Black Edition TFSi Quattro S tronic FREE DELIVERY TO MAINLAND UK. Great Specification Including. Rear Parking Sensors, Satellite Navigation Plus, Black Edition Alloy Wheels 18", Heated Seats, LED DRL's, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Flat Bottom Steering Wheel, TipTronic, Mats, Bose Sound System, Climate Control, Piano Black Trim, SD Card Input, DVD Capability, Bluetooth with AMI. A PERSONALISED WALK ROUND VIDEO CAN BE EMAILED ON REQUEST.

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 14121 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    £25,490 £25,490