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Audi A3 / S3 / RS3Discussion forum for the 8L and 8P Audi A3 S3 and RS3
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Audi S3, TT225Q comparison (repost from TT thread)
Posted by garyc on 1999-11-01 09:24:16:
Driving Audi S3 Compared to TT225Q (long)
Borrowed a demonstrator S3 at the weekend for a bit of fun. My impression were very favourable for the S3. Disregarding the obvious 'looks' comparison (although the S3 is very cultured and smooth but purposful in imola yellow) in which TT wins, on paper the cars are very similar having same engine, 6 speed box and haldex system. For 'marketing purposes' the S3 engine produces 210bhp rather than 225bhp of TT.
The S3 is actually lighter than the TT, so this power difference is not really perceptable on the road, although test track figures have the TT marginally quicker than TT against the clock. Visibility is far superior from the cockpit of S3 and this puts the driver at home straight away. Out on the road this translates to more accurate placement of car through corners. In town S3 is better suited to the cut and thrust of exploiting the gaps.
Performance wise the there is nothing in it, and the S3 gets off the line easily. I don't know where the extra 15 bhp comes from in TT (boost, valve timing or whatever), but the S3 feels more progressive in delivery and does not seem to hold on to the revs as does the TT between shifts. It is also a smoother and easier to drive for'normal motoring'. Far less noise invades the cabin than does in TT. Gear shift quality is no better.
Steering, Braking and handling. I have no data to support, but they tell me that the weight distribution is more even in S3. Prudence did not permit me to provoke the car during a high speed corner. But this is what I did do: on a stretch of well known and quiet carrigeway that I 'test' my cars on, there is 1/2 mile straight ended by a double mini roundabout. (i don't know how this translates for non UK people). The roundabout has no kerbs and just soft verges and is the equivalent of an S chicane. One has to take off a lot of speed in a relativley short distance before negotiating a left right flick and exiting up the next straight.
No other cars were on the road and it was dry and windy. I wound S3 up to 110, where it was stable and quiet. I don't know the meters distance, but in TT, previous S4, SLK and M3, I would brake v.late and HARD (110mph down to 35 entry) past the turn in point, feed back in power or boot it before apex depending on mood/conditions, and 'drift' through to second roundabout, shedding more speed for a quick exit.
S3 was great on brakes but no better than TT. What was noticable was the stability. Where the TT moves a little under hard braking and has a tendancy to follow the road camber with the front and feel that the rear may lock up on you, the S3 was much more straight and true. Therefore I suppose inspiring more confidence. It was very easy to feel what the front of S3 was doing and the shift from slight understeer to neutral with no oversteer, felt safe and secure. Through corner speeds were close.
I did later on a 30 mph sharp corner deliberately provoke car by braking hard on apex with suspension under load. Of course moved sideways but it was anticpated and as a result easier to catch. The steering on the TT feels more sharp than the S3. However I am running 225/40/ 18s rather than 225/45/ 17s on S3, so the comparison may not be true.
Overall v impressed with S3 and I think that the S3 visibility and less wayward nature make up for fractions lost in ultimate performance, making the two inseparable frrm A-B. The low key exterior of the S3 make it blend in easily and would have the element of surprise over other cars plus attract less attention from have-a-go other drivers and the police.
Would I want one? Sometimes yes when I want to blend in. But I could have ordered one when deciding on TT. TT is just so visually exciting for me. I always look backwards over my shoulder at it when I walk away after parking. S4 didn't make me do that and neither would S3.
Oh, and I have ordered a debadged Golf 4 Motion as a company car so I will be to lucky to have best of both worlds.