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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 cars for sale

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Audi S3
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  • 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
    WRC Sales
    01274 734657 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 2016 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

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    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
  • Audi S3

    £27,990 £27,990

    Variant name:S3 TFSI Quattro 3dr S Tronic (Nav) ,Variant: S3 TFSI Quattro 3dr S Tronic (Nav) ABS,Air Conditioning,Automatic Gearbox,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,Bluetooth Prepared,Climate Control,Cruise Control,Electric Mirrors,Electric Windows,Front Fog Lights,Full Service History,Heated Seats,Keyless Entry,Leather Steering Wheel,LED Headlights,Manufacturer Warranty,Multiple Airbags,Onboard Computer,Parking Camera,Parking Distance Control,Power Steering,Satellite Navigation

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 10815 mi
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  • Audi S3

    £22,500 £22,500

    128 Point AA Inspection Report Available, AA Breakdown Cover Included, Finance Available, AA Inspected, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Full Leather, iPod Connectivity, Powered Folding Mirrors, Xenon Headlamps, Anti-Theft System, Locking Wheel Nuts, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Head Restraints, Heated Seats, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, Auto Lighting, Metallic Paintwork, Rear Wash/wipe, Electric Front Windows, Electric Mirrors, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Stereo, DAB Radio, Low Mileage, Bluetooth, 4x4

    • Mileage: 18000 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • Audi S3 2.0 SPORTBACK QUATTRO

    £28,950 £28,950

    Black leather trim, heated seats, electric lumbar support, S3 embossed seats, dual zone climate control, 18in Twin spoke Star design alloys, Anthracite Diamond Cut finish alloys, Audi DVD based satellite navigation, Bluetooth Phone/Audio, DAB radio, AMI for MP3/I-POD, Audi Multimedia, ESP with traction control, Audi Drive Select, Audi Stop/Start, electric windows, remote central locking and alarm, ABS, front and side airbags, flat-bottom leather steering wheel, paddle shift controls, trip computer, cruise control, brushed aluminium trim inlays, front center armrest, Park distance control (rear), rain sensor, Xenon headlamps with headlamp wash, LED daytime running lights, Forward Alert, tyre pressure monitor, one owner from new, full Audi service history

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 14000 mi
    For sale
  • Audi S3

    £34,995 £34,995

    4x4 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

    • Mileage: 7300 mi
    • Engine size: 1984
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 1.8t 225 2003

    £4,595 £4,595

    2003 AUDI S3 1.8T 225 QUATTRO;;12 MONTHS MOT FOR NEW OWNER;;ONLY 83K MILES;;FULL SERVICE HISTORY;;COMPLETELY STANDARD UN MOLESTED MODEL;;MUST BE SEEN;;FUTURE CLASSIC;;12 months MOT, Full service history, Good bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Good Condition, Tyre condition Good, Four wheel-drive, Climate Control, In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD), Upholstery Leather, Computer (Driver Information System), Seats Electric (Driver/Passenger), Alloy Wheels (17in), Alarm, Electric Windows (Front). 5 seats, Grey, GBP 4,595;;Autoland​ look to offer great customer service to go along with great cars at great prices. All our cars are competitively priced and we are constantly price matching competitors. ;;Vehicles priced from GBP 1000 to GBP 30,000 ;;All vehicles hpi checked ;;32 point inspection carried out on vehicles ;;All vehicles come with 30 day warranty for complete peace of mind** ;;Part exchange welcome ;;Autoland car sales is based on the outskirts of Edinburgh In the heart of the Luxury Motor Village. We are based 5 mins from Edinburgh Airport and 20 mins from Haymarket Train station. ​ ;;Viewings can be arranged out with these times by arranging an appointment...... ;;Extended warranties are available at additional cost 3,6,12 and 24 months starting from only GBP 49..... ;;CALL US TODAY FOR COMPETITIVE FINANCE RATES....... ;;ALL MAJOR DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED FOR A SMALL FEE ;;CHECK OUR WEBSITE FOR OTHER CARS ;;;OPENING HOURS : ;;TUE TO FRI 10.30am til 5.00pm ;SAT 10am til 5pm ;SUN 12pm til 5pm ;;AUTOLAND ;Quality used cars ;;64a and 64b Bridge Street ;Newbridge ;EH28 8SH ;;07756584624

    • Mileage: 83000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.798
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI Black Edition Sportback Quattro 5dr Petrol Manual 2010 65000 Silver

    £14,950 £14,950

    A VERY WELL SPECCED AUDI S3 BLACK EDITION IN ICE SILVER METALLIC WITH JUST 2 FORMER KEEPERS AND FULL SERVICE HISTORY!;;Upgrades/Spec Includes: Ice Silver Metallic Paintwork, Two Tone Silver/Black Heated Silk Nappa Leather Seats, Auto Lights/Wipers, Auto Dimming Mirrors, Bi Xenon Headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, Rear Parking Sensors, Navigation Plus, AUDI Music Interface, Multi Function S Line Leather Steering Wheel, Rear Privacy Glass, Lights Package, Bose Audio Upgrade, 18" 5 Arm Black Edition Alloy Wheels, Centre Armrest, Individual Climate Control, Aluminium Roof Bars With Matching Mirror Caps.;Last Serviced At 62590 miles.;;SPEAK TO US ABOUT OUR FLEXIBLE LOW RATE FINANCE OPTIONS!

    • Mileage: 65000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • 2014 Audi S3 Quattro 3dr

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    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 Sportback

    £24,995 £24,995

    Variant: 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS Audi S3 Sportback 2.0 T FSI quattro 300 PS finished in Brilliant Red. Specification includes Audi sound system, privacy glass, Aluminium roof rails, interior lighting package and parking system Plus - front and rear.

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 12260 mi
    For sale
  • 2016 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    2016 / 66 REG + 9,900 MILES + FACELIFT MODEL + SAT NAV + HEATED SEATS + CRUISE CONTROL + STAGE 2 REMAP + MILLTEK DOWNPIPE + K&N PANEL FILTER + APPROX 380 BHP + INTERIOR LIGHT PACK + AUDI DRIVE SELECT + XENON HEADLIGHTS + Dual-zone electronic climate control, MMI Navigation , DAB digital radio reception, Privacy glass, Colour Driver's Information System (DIS), Disc brakes - front, Bluetooth phone connection, Flat-bottomed 3-spoke leather-trimmed multi-function Sport, Heated front seats, Rear parking sensors,

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI Black Edition S Tronic Quattro 2011

    £14,993 £14,993

    RAC INSPECTED and APPROVED. Top Brand Cars Are Delighted To Offer This Stunning Audi S3 BLACK EDITION, It Comes In Beautiful, White, With Contrsting Black Silk Nappa Leather with Embossing, Satellite Navigation System - DVD - Based, Heated Front Seats, 18in x 7.5J 5 - Arm Rotor Titanium Finish Alloy Wheels with 225/40 R18 Tyres and Locking Wheel Bolts, Mobile Telephone Preparation - Bluetooth Interface, Dual - Zone Electronic Climate Control, Privacy Glass Dark Tinted Glass from B - Pillar Backwards, Chorus Radio/Single CD Player/DVD/CD Changer, Thatcham Category 1 Alarm, Electric Front Windows, Drivers Information System (DIS), Audi Symphony Radio. For Full Spec Feel Free To Contact Our Sales Team, VIEWING BY APPOINTMENT ONLY, Part Exchange Welcome, Finance Available, Debit And Credit Cards Taken, WE ARE FSA APPROVED AND CAN OFFER NO DEPOSIT AND LOW RATE FINANCE, HP/PCP/LEASE PURCHASE

    • Mileage: 67000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • AUDI S3 2.0 TFSI QUATTRO NAV 3DR AUTO STRONIC HUGE SPEC 2016

    £26,995 £26,995

    ** FINANCE AVAILABLE FROM 8.9% APR ** JUST 20,490 MILES FROM NEW ** TWO PRIVATE OWNERS FROM NEW ** PREVIOUSLY SERVICED BY OURSELVES ** FULL SERVICE HISTORY ** MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY APPLICABLE UNTIL 11th MARCH 2019 ** ALL HANDBOOKS AVAILABLE ** 3 DOOR PETROL AUTOMATIC HATCHBACK ** AN IMMACULATE EXAMPLE THROUGHOUT WITH DAYTONA GREY PEARLESCENT PAINTWORK ** WHITE STITCHED FULL BLACK LEATHER INTERIOR TRIM WITH THREE STAGE HEATED FRONT SEATS ** CRUISE CONTROL ** REAR PARKING SENSORS ** REAR PRIVACY GLASS ** BUILT IN SAT-NAV WITH LIVE TRAFFIC UPDATES ** 5x2 SPOKE 18 INCH DIAMOND CUT ALLOY WHEELS ** LED DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS ** AUTOMATIC XENON HEADLIGHTS ** RAIN SENSITIVE WIPERS ** AIR CONDITIONING ** DUAL ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL ** DAB DIGITAL RADIO ** BLUETOOTH HANDS FREE READY WITH VOICE RECOGNITION ** BLUETOOTH AUDIO STREAMING ** PADDLE SHIFT GEAR CHANGE ** DUAL TWIN EXHAUST TAILPIPES ** S3 EXTERIOR BODYSTYLING ** FLAT BOTTOMED LEATHER PADDED STEERING WHEEL ** HEATED ELECTRIC MIRRORS ** ELECTRIC WINDOWS ** TRIP COMPUTER ** AUDI DRIVE SELECT MODES ** CARPETED AUDI FOOTMATS ** START/STOP TECHNOLOGY ** AUDI MUSIC INTERFACE ** ALUMINIUM DRILLED PEDALS ** HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE FRONT SEATS ** STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS ** S3 SILL PLATES ** REMOTE CENTRAL LOCKING ** REAR ISOFIX BRACKETS ** 2 REMOTE KEYS AVAILABLE ** FREE DELIVERY ANYWHERE IN UK ** COMPLETELY MOTORING CHELTENHAM and GLOUCESTER **

    • Mileage: 20490 mi
    • Engine size: 1.984
    For sale
  • 2015 Audi S3 Sportback Quattro 5dr

    POA POA

    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.

    For sale
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