Audi S3 Buying Guide

28 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Audi S3 Buying Guide
Audi S3

Thread: Audi S3 Buying Guide

Audi S3 Buying Guide

Seeing as we get a lot of people coming on here asking about what to look out for when buying an S3 I’ve decided to start a thread, hopefully to added to the sticky section. Please feel free to add comments/additions to the guide which i will the edit into this opening post. I’ve done this as a starting point im sure there still more to be added so please feel free to assist with your comments

First of please refer to the FAQ sticky’s these contain a lot of information about tuning, engine specs, and other mods: 3-FAQ-STICKIES -***********

The S3 come in 2 phase types, pre and post facelift, pre facelift is 1999 to 2001 (x reg) although some x reg are facelift model (can this be confirmed) facelift is 2001 to 2003. There are 3 engine types, the 1st is a 210 PS (153kW; 207 hp) APY fitted to all 1999 to 2001 models, from 2001 the S3 came available with a 210 PS (154 kW; 207hp) AMK or 225 PS (165 kW; 222 hp) BAM engine choice.

Not all facelift models are 225bhp, and no prefacelift model is 225 (unless it has had an engine transplant) a lot of traders advertise S3 as 225 models when there not. They all remap to the same figure, and the difference between engines is minor: 8T-Info-Sheet Later engines had variable valve timing. (AMK BAM) although it is thought the APY might have mechanical VVT and the later engines have electronic VVT (TBC). The engine provides a maximum 280 Nm (210ft/lbf) of torque, most of which is available from 2200 through to 5500 rpm (Thank you to finesse for additional engine information)

Standard Spec of S3:

electric windows with one touch, electric heated door mirrors, pop out rear windows, remote central locking, automatic digital climate control and air conditioning, heated winscreen washer jets, full closure alarm (windows and sunroof can be closed by remote, windows can be opened) and immobliser, self leveling xenon headlights with headlamp washers, fog lights, interior lighting (front and rear reading lights and front cabin lights) vanity lights behing sun visors, puddle lights in doors, driver information screen and trip computer and check computer. electric recaro sports seats, 2 rear head rests. black headlining, piano black trim, haldex controlled 4 wheel drive, ESP standard from 2000 onwards (TBC) ABS, 17inc avus alloy wheels running 225 45 17 tyres, spare wheel (space saver type) hazard warning triangle and tool kit. Isofix (TBC) leather or half leather interior. fitted carpet floor mats, S3 sports leather steering wheel, grey coloured dials with white needles and red illumination background. 1999 spec S3 dash sometimes has an analog clock on the clocks, from 200 this was a digital clock and date display. concert head unit (tape) and 6 disc boot mounted cd changer, 6 speakers and stealth sub in boot in pre face lift cars.


electric sunroof, auto dip rear view mirror (this can be retro fitted), heated seats, cruise control (this can be retro fitted), rear parking sensors, 18inc RS4 style alloys fitted with 225 40 18 tyres (as fitted to the TT) front centre arm rest, bose sound system. 3rd rear head rest, ambiant lighting (can be retro fitted) multifunction steering wheel, Aluminium mirrors. On face lift models different stereos were offered and sat nav was available due to revision of the centre console.

Unique to S3 (over A3):

Body Panels:

Front and rear bumpers, front wings and rear panels are flared, twin pipe exhaust, larger rear spolier, lower door trims.


Larger K04 Turbo, twin intercoolers, strut brace (very early models maynot have this) bigger 312mm front brakes, ventilated rear discs, uprated suspension, wider track (TBC)

facelift differences:

External: one peice headlamps, the indicator unit is combined to the main headlamp on facelift models. The rear tail lights are red with clear upper sections on the facelift, pre facelift are all red (facelift rear lamps are a straight swap if you wish to upgrade) There are slight diffences with the wing mirrors too, and the tail gate trim above the number plate is flush. new S3 badge design.

Internal: centre console revised, double din stereo or sat nav available, climate control panal revised with single screen, heated seats contol moved onto climate control panel. Cup holder added to upper section of centre console and hazard lights esp button revised (smaller) air vent controls illuminated, revised design on steering wheel and gear knob, minor revison to clocks, the S3 badge appears under the rev counter (is under the speedo on prefacelift) also S3 badge has been revised to new design. Stereos available on the face lift are a single cd head unit, a 6 cd double din head unit, sat nav (others may be availble TBC) Facelift models have a 3 button remote (TBC) (prefacelift is 2 button), the 3rd button allows the boot to be opened. The facelift tailgate gas struts are 2 stage (TBC)

Service intervals:

Every 10k (12 months): oil and oil filter

Every 20k: 10k+ air filter pollen filter, Haldex oil(may be 40k)

Every 40k: 20k+ spark plugs, fuel filter(TBC) Haldex oil and filter

Every 60k: cambelt and tensioner, aux bet. Its is recomended that the water pump be changed (a metal impeller version is availble which resloves the issue of the plastic impeller breaking)

Every 2 years: brake fluid

Audi now have a standard service price schedule which is reasonable considering its the main dealer:

Common faults:

rust along roof rails, this should be covered by audi warrenty but they dont always make good on it but it is still something that you need to look out for: EASE-POST-HERE

xenon headlights pointing to the ground: this will normally be either the sensors mounted to the near side suspension front and rear or the motors within the headlamp (if its the motor it normally only effects one light)

broken window clips (more info needed here)

Audi S3

snapped springs, the ends of the springs can shear off with age (i’ve had 3 of mine break so far)

ARB collars breaking off, the collars butt up to the mounting bush, the whole bar has to be replace (good time to fit uprated items).

Back up battery for alarm stops holding charge, which can lead to your car alarm going off. A sign to this is 3 bleeps from the rear passenger side of the car. The alarm siren has to be replaced although there is a write up on replacing the battery (further info required). The alarm siren has been updated and a minor mod is required to fit (this might only be on prefacelift models)

Brake sensor behind pedal: this can fail over time, its easy to replace and audi have revised the part to so it might be less common on facelift models

Clutch sensor behind pedal: this can fail over time and lead to the car over reving when the clutch is pedal is depressed

Clutch pedal: a plastic part of the pedalis prone to failure (link needed for repair guide)

concert head unit volume control: this over time (it is related to the amount of time you change volume) will only provide you with the 2 extremes of the volume settings, this can not be fixed the whole head unit requires replacement.

DIS dead pixels, over time lines can be lost on the driver information screen, theres is a fix but it is done at your own risk

DV failing, the standard item may fail over time, the forge 007 is a popular after market option.

Coil packs: this are known to fail, I think the design has been revised so once replaced they dont tend to fail again (TBC)

Breather pipes, vacum pipes: some of these cars are now over 10 years old and over time and heat cycles the plastic pipes split.

Clutch/clutch slave cylinder: this is not so much a common fault but with age and milage this needs to be considered. My slave cylinder let go at 103k, the slave cylinder requires the gear box to be removed to replace, on inspection my clutch needed replacing due to the milage and wear, my fly wheel also required replacing but this is not always the case. If you slave cylinder does fail you’ll probably have to replace the clutch due to hydralic fluid getting into the clutch itself.

So the advise here is if your replacing your clutch spend a bit more and have the slave cylinder replaced at the same time. Also consider that tyhe clutch may need replacing on an S3 with over 100k on the clock (if its not been replaced). Unsure if this is an indication of the slave cylinder failing but my clutch pedal was heavy before it broke, its now very light.

Thermostat can fail with age, and indication that its gone is the temp gauge on the dash not reaching and sitting at 90. If your temp gauge seems to be erratic this could be a sign that the temp sender has broken. Both are cheap to replace.

Coolant level sensor. Over time these can fail, the annoying thing is you have to replace the header tank as the sensor is built into it. It can sometimes be cleaned.

Sign thats its broken, on starting the car the DIS will indicate low coolant even though its not, sometims the warning will disappear after 20-30 seconds. Its also worth checking the cabling to the switch as this can come lose from its plugs.

Last edited by mk1chopper; 7th August 2010 at 21:33 .

Audi S3
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