In the first week, I took the car to a tuner in Mona Vale where they installed a stage one ECU upgrade with an S-Tronic (DSG) upgrade. These modifications cost me less than $2500 and moves the car from 188kW and 330Nm to 240kW and 450Nm with the engine ECU remap. The transmission remap sees the cars launch control move from 3200 rpm to 4100 rpm and also allows Tiptronic (manual mode) to rev without an automatic cut off at redline. 0-100 is now done in approximately 4.6 seconds and the car pulls like a V8 in gear. Having driven the 2012 RS3 in the UK my car feels just as potent after the relatively low cost mods but still nothing beats the sound of that magic RS3 5 cylinder.
Now, most husbands don’t really look forward to driving to their mother in laws, but I do..why? Because I get to drive to Wollongong once a month along the Grand Pacific Drive and the car really is in its element. Audi’s Quattro system deserves praise, my previous car was a Subaru Liberty GT and while the symmetrical AWD system on that was great, Quattro is in another league. Wet or dry, corners are carved up easily and you can keep going for miles, because the ride is comfortable enough for long drives but erring a little more on the side of being sporty for what I believe is an almost perfect compromise. The steering is good, but not great, like most Audi’s. The steering inputs needed to correct the car are not as fluid, as lets say, a BMW 135i of the same era, but I would happily settle for a sub par steering over the bone jarring ride of the Beemers with RFT’s, and for me, Quattro is the icing on the cake :) The brakes are also sensational with more than enough bite for everyday driving.
I use the car for work purposes and there is now 75,000 kilometres on the clock, so I have put essentially 56,000 kilometres on the car in 3 years and to date, it has been flawless. Service intervals are every 15,000 kilometres or 12 months and a minor service will cost me $400 and a major service about $850. The car is serviced by an Audi specialist not Audi itself, who tend to charge too much for after sales service, much like most other manufacturers I have experienced. Brake pads cost me $1600 for all four with new discs and a timing belt (4 years or 90,000 km’s, whichever comes first) cost me $1100 – which gives you an idea of the price of consumables.
After the way this car drives, the interior is my next favourite part of the car. Audi interiors are the best in the business in my opinion and to date, no rattles, no squeaks, no issues whatsoever. The only two qualms would be the location of the cup holders, which are located under the drivers left armrest and barely fits one 600ml bottle of water! Next, the MMI system is a bit clunky and not as intuitive as say BMW’s I-Drive System, but it still serves its purpose well. Connectivity is also ok, bluetooth works fine, but there is no function to stream music through bluetooth, which I find strange. Voice activation actually works well (which is a rarity in most cars) and the seats are very well bolstered with enough support and padding for long “spirited” drives in comfort. The car is also equipped with a 10 speaker Bose sound system, which is again, amongst the best in the business. My wife and I had to unexpectedly baby sit my two year old nephew for a week and needed to use a baby seat in the back – no issues at all, fit perfectly and the little guy seemed to be a big fan of the acceleration when coming onto a motorway!
All in all, I picked up the car for $43,000 in 2011, spent another $2350 on the mods and have a car that shames most cars in a traffic light GP, can carve up a mountainous road in the wet or dry and still enough room for a small family.
I love my 2011 S3, it is the best car I have owned and until the RS3 sedan is released, I have absolutely no reason sell her :).
I hope this review helps you to make an informed decision if you are in the market for an S3.