» Drive Thru: BMW 135i Coupé v Audi S3 Coupé

26 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on » Drive Thru: BMW 135i Coupé v Audi S3 Coupé
Audi S3

Drive Thru: BMW 135i v Audi S3 Coupé

If you’re for a new car at the premium end of the small-ish coupé two of the stand out choices are the Audi S3 and the BMW The current generation S3 has been in since 2007, while the was launched here about 12 ago. The MY09 S3 range with it a minor facelift consists of mostly cosmetic although the engineers have had as well.

There is also the of a new five door Sportback for those wanting improved

In the time since the 135i was it has swept all before it, earning a of praise from the world’s media. The S3, on the other hand, almost invisible by comparison. At it certainly hasn’t generated the the 135i has enjoyed.

So, which is fancy pants Golf Audi clothes, or the little that could? AUSmotive both cars out on its preferred route in a back to back to find out.

Let me start by that both cars are and owners of either car are likely to satisfied customers. That the results of this comparison both surprising and unexpected to reviewer.

We’ll start the rudimentary stuff, the money. For cars these two are not cheap. with Audi and BMW badges I this comes as no surprise. The S3 opens the bidding at $66,403 $68,310), while the 135i at $72,230. However, those with German marques know a few ticks in the options will take both well beyond entry pricing.

Indeed, ending up driveaway retail figures in the $80,000 range requires ticks than you might That said, with keen negotiation there can be good savings made you’re ready to hand your hard earned. Be to bargain as hard as these cars are willing to be driven.

a look inside, the interiors of cars are pleasant places to be and put together, as to be expected. They are not fault though. The S3 is based on the platform as the Golf V. When the V was launched there were who found the use of materials a step from the Golf IV.

Having both a Golf IV and Golf V I such comments picky in the The point being, it comes as a then that the Audi’s dash is a rather hard feeling affair, and from I can see, is a step down the materials used its cheaper GTI cousin. Elsewhere inside, the S3 doesn’t disappoint and the switch and feeling of quality is exemplary.

The climate control layout may not be the ergonomic result, but, the driving controls are all well and it is easy to settle into a seating position, ready to the car’s potential.

(Apologies for the LHD

The 135i interior is a clinical, might say, characterless Although, if you’re like me, you find its uncomplicated nature and well executed design a joy to The test car was fitted with the navigation system which a revised iDrive system and a large screen. The nav used in 135i models employed a screen, this new system, simply protrudes from the top of the permanently.

For a cabin so well put in most other aspects is a bit of a let down. So too the seating position. At I shouldn’t be posing too many in this regard, but I was not able to the ideal position for pedals and wheel.

This was not so bad that it was a issue and certainly would not me from buying the car, an observation that the ability to a comfortable position was a clear in favour of the S3.

(Note: this is a interior shot, but is the best I find to illustrate the new nav layout.)

The wheel of the 135i is nicer to than the S3’s flat wheel which, while to look at it, is simply too thin. the Golf GTI steering wheel is to hold and use than anything in the range—yes, including the R8 et al—is a bit of a

I don’t think you could say the S3 is a pretty car to look at. It’s not an duckling by any means, and in side view, at least, it does quite sharp. Of course, are always a subjective thing.

though, I prefer the look of the Coupé. Its sweeping creases and blend together to form a that suit its raison almost perfectly. The 135i is aggressive, svelte and pretty all at the time.

A somewhat odd combination of adjectives, I but the 135i just works. a great looking car, any angle.

Enough about the pictures, what are these two to drive? Plant your foot in the 135i, pretty anywhere in the rev range, and you’ll be by the sweet and famous sound of a BMW straight six. With a of turbos aiding progress also quickly get to where going and find no reason at all to the 225kW power claims.

It even less time to just how accessible all that is, courtesy of a very healthy of torque at your beck and from a measly 1300rpm. Put this is a stunning engine. It a delightfully smooth and linear delivery that makes it to potter about at city and a genuine joy to take towards its redline.

The S3, too, has a great But the window of greatness in the S3 offers a narrower experience. It is the more of the two to be left hovering around and it is here the 188kW four pot is willing.

When higher in the rev the S3 offers instant power and spooled up the Audi gives a in the back of the seat that is to the BMW than the stats would

So, the S3 is down on power and with a torque figure of 330Nm, a higher 2500rpm, the S3 also a big gap between it and the 135i. If those don’t mean a hell of a lot to what they are saying is the S3 noticeable turbo lag compared to the In fact, such is the nature of delivery in the 135i, if you didn’t any better, you would swear it was a aspirated engine.

That the S3’s 2-litre TFSI is very useable around and when I refer to my notes an earlier test of a pre-facelift S3 it as though some tweaking has done to lessen that of lag. Nothing is immediately to confirm this in the press available from Audi. the official fuel consumption has dropped from 9.2l/100km to an impressive 8.5l/100km in the MY09

Also, the facelifted S3 does a revised Gen IV Haldex system the quattro badge, so despite in the way of detailed information, Audi’s have fiddled around a bit the skin.

After experiencing the joys of straight line in the 135i I was keen to see how it would tighter mountain roads. So far in comparison, the 135i is ahead of the S3 in a decision. Can the twisty roads a knockout blow in favour of master blaster?

After first taste of the 135i were high. The ability to out of tighter corners is a strong of the BMW, but, to my unexpected the list of positive aspects on the test route were not as as the negatives.

Until now the suspension and quality of the 135i was fine. the much criticised run flat were not posing too many But, as I pushed harder tighter corners the more the lost its previously charming

String a series of tight esses together and the 135i floaty and less willing to direction. Throw the 135i at a radius corner with a than ideal road and the steering bordered on vague and the confidence from this heralded quasi-M car just there. This is not to say the 135i was but I would be lying if I said it met my expectations.

To be fair, the more I spent in the car the more comfortable I

In contrast, though, over the route the S3 was lithe, exciting and me full of confidence. According to the sheets the S3 is 30kg lighter the 135i (1455kg to 1485kg), but the way it was to change direction in comparison you think it weighed much In isolation the BMW didn’t feel too in direct contrast, though, it cumbersome and less inspiring.

either car too hard into a and both will understeer. this aspect is not a major for either. The driver aids, as stability control (Audi it ESP, BMW calls it DSC), pleasantly out of sight on the drive.

respective lights certainly got a on the dash, but neither were to the driving experience.

Both cars have capable brakes, with the six-pot calipers up front the advantage here. The S3 has a shorter shift compared to its lesser in the A3 range and changes are slick and So too the 135i which has an even throw six speed box.

changes in the Beemer are notchier, are no less precise or easy to

Through the twisty stuff the in the 135i do a good job of holding the in position and are very comfortable in all situations. The S3 tested had the $4500 Audi exclusive bucket so its no surprise they did a better job of the driver held tightly. superb when pushing on a pass, the racing style are surprisingly comfortable during commuting too.

Although, a higher back and clumsy they make access to the seat more awkward should be the case. Side protection is also lost the bucket seats, so you’d to really want them to pay the price.

In conclusion then, the held some clear over the S3. The BMW has a superior engine never feels anything but and smooth. And the engine note is

The straight six offers greater too, and useable power at As noted earlier, I also the 135i Coupé is the better car. It can#8217;t be denied the 135i is a great car to drive. It is capable and one can see why it has been labelled a classic by so many.

These are not revelations and nor do they come as a

For me, though, the S3 was just more fun to When a series of flowing presented themselves, the S3 ate them up and them out leaving me with a grin on my face. As good as the was, it just couldn’t that feeling.

If ever was an example of a car being greater the sum of its parts then the S3 is it. On paper is barely an area where the hits a clear winner the 135i. Once behind the and pushing towards their it was the S3 that stood up and demanded my

Earlier in this review I the 135i ahead on points. In the the S3 has managed to turn the tables. It may not done so by delivering a knock out but by technical knock out, the S3 is the car I take home if offered the

That this is the conclusion I come to is not a huge surprise, I did expect the 135i to come up However, it is the ease with I have been able to to this conclusion that has me genuinely surprised.

Thank you to Classic BMW and Audi Centre for their assistance.

66 comment(s) for Thru: BMW 135i Coupé v S3 Coupé”


Good article and no surprises there. I have the old S3 hard and I know how it compares to a

Audi S3

My recommendation to anyone who have 135i’s and they like fast on the mountain roads ones that aren’t or the track is to change 2 things. and the RFT. Unfortunately the use of RFT by BMW means the suspension was tuned accordingly as without resorting to the harsh of earlier RFT equipped BMWs. also meant a floaty car and one rolls more than competitors.

I noticed this the time I took a 135i from the dealership and gave it a on my favourite mountain road. One of the thing I ordered was a KW Clubsports for my car.

The S3 on the other hand, much more complete when pushed. Stock for I believe both these achieve similar numbers on the (not a power track but something like Winton for and considering how much more the BMW has, it shows you how good the S3 is. One needs to change the suspension, and put a LSD in the 135i before it can be considered a performance car.


review. It pretty much with my experience. The 135#8242;s #8216;out of the box#8217; is disappointing, is unusual for BMW. Maybe it is the of the car.

Unlike WAY #8212; and a car is a cheap platform (like a GTI ) #8212; a performance car needs to pretty well stock. ok on improving suspension for handling as as the changes are basically incremental, but a rebuild is out of the question for me.

On the other hand, one criticism of the S3 in reviews is that it is #8220;unengaging#8221; and I#8217;m not sure what means, but I guess it is saying you want to hang the tail out ease, don#8217;t go here#8221;.

Excellent review Liam. I too with your criticisms of the handling. It#8217;s perfectly up to a point, then with a surface mid corner, things can get floaty. Combine that huge stonk and eye-watering and you can very quickly find in a brown-moment!

It#8217;s a car you have to with great respect on roads. So why isn#8217;t it better? Why BMW eject the RFTs and soft in stock 135i? I cynically that such a car COULD in the range but it won#8217;t be the 135i.

would put too much pressure on the M3. For me, the is worth it, because the 135i is a blast on backroads while exceptionally relaxed chugging at 60km/hr in SIXTH gear! And to cap it the S3 is #8230; well #8230; a bit too for my tastes.

I never even drove one.


Are there any between the Australian and European We know that US and EU models, are different in some aspects, and I was is that the case with models.


Nice #8211; Your conclusions are to those in the September 08 issue of Top (Australia) where these two out ahead of the EVO and STI.

Both nice but I too prefered the S3, partly it is so understated, but also because it more agile than the #8230;and I love that R8 wheel!

@Njave, that#8217;s a question, and one I can#8217;t answer. one of the 135i owners can.

I our Mk5 Golf GTIs have spec suspension, but whether has any relevance with what BMW is obviously difficult to tell.

It would be my guess that the why the S3 feels better through the is because corner speed was likely to be less than the

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