The Audi S3 is the entry-level Audi A3 performance sedan/hatchback that rivals the likes of the Golf R and the BMW M125i. The S3 features a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 306hp and Audi’s iconic Quattro AWD. This powertrain is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox which fits the S3s character perfectly.
The Audi S3 is a reliable car if you take proper care of it, if you don’t, it is not going to be able to last without experiencing a bunch of issues. German premium cars are complex and need thorough and timely maintenance, otherwise, they start experiencing all sorts of issues and some of them can cost a lot of money to fix.
The most common Audi S3 issues are related to the engine, overheating issues, the electronics, fuel pump issues, and the MAF (Mass airflow) sensor. The new Audi S3 is a really fun car to drive because it offers a nicely balanced chassis that does not experience understeer like older Audi S3 models do, at least not as much.
All in all, if you take proper care of it, the S3 should be able to last for quite a while. If you deem the S3 to be a bit too slow or unexciting, you should go for the range-topping Audi RS3 which uses half of the engine found in the Audi R8.
Audi S3 – Engine issues
The 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine found in the Audi S3 is known to experience some issues such as being hesitant on higher revs. These can be caused by either faulty coils or spark plugs which will have to be replaced in order for the engine to perform normally. The engine is also known to misfire and that is caused by a faulty oil breather valve that should be replaced every 10,000 miles or so.
In order to properly maintain the S3s engine, you need to do all the recommended maintenance services whenever they are needed. These engines are made to be running under more stress than most non-performance units and that is why they need to be maintained strictly.
Audi S3 – Overheating issues
Overheating issues on the Audi S3 aren’t really all that common, but they are worth mentioning because they can cause all sorts of issues with the car or even destroy some vital components such as the engine. The S3 is equipped with a plastic impeller which fails every now and then and causes damage to your thermostat and thus overheating the car.
The best and easiest way how you can resolve this issue for good is to replace the plastic impeller with a metal one and replace the thermostat as well. Overheating performance cars are a nightmare to own, so it’s a good idea for you to do this even if you haven’t experienced any overheating yet.
Audi S3 – Electrical issues
The Audi S3 is a premium automobile which means that it comes with lots of luxurious features and convenient amenities that should keep your daily life both entertaining and safe. However, these electrical features are prone to breaking, and the most talked-about ones are power windows, the backup camera, the start/stop function, or issues with the air-con.
The reason why the window regulators fail is that they are equipped with plastic regulators which can wear out and will need replacing. The reason why the air-con fails is due to either a faulty AC compressor or a faulty sensor.
Audi S3 – Fuel pump issues
If you notice sudden power cuts or the car inconsistently losing power, chances are that your fuel pump is unable to provide a constant flow of fuel into the engine. If you do experience this, park the car up and be sure to fix it before you drive as issues such as these can become a lot more expensive if not dealt with immediately.
The issue often leads to a worn-out fuel pump cam follower that is known to damage the camshaft if not replaced asap. The good news is that these can be replaced rather easily, so be sure to do it right away.
Audi S3 – MAF issues
The MAF (mass airflow sensor) is also a common gripe with many performance cars including the Audi S3 and if it starts causing problems, you are going to notice them because the car’s engine performance will suffer. You can solve this issue in two different ways and one of them is to clean the MAF which should solve the issue for a while.
However, if you want peace of mind, or if cleaning the MAF didn’t offer you any significant trouble-free miles afterward, you should replace the MAF sensor entirely.
Is the Audi S3 fast?
You’d think that an entry-level compact performance hatchback with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine is not going to be all that fast, but you are wrong. The S3 might “only” have 306hp, but it manages to do 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds and it reaches a quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds which is a really impressive number for a subcompact Audi.
Some say that the Audi S3 is the sweet spot because it is powerful enough, fast enough, but not overly fuel-thirsty and it does not shout performance car.
Is the Audi S3 better than the Audi RS3?
The Audi S3 is the entry point towards the world of Audi Sport A3 models, but the best and most expensive Audi A3 performance car is the Audi RS3. The RS3 is a serious car with a serious pedigree and it leaves the Audi AS3 in the dust when it comes to performance, engine, handling, and the overall feel behind the wheel.
The S3 is the better choice for those who don’t care about being the fastest and just want a good-looking car that still offers a punch. However, the RS3 is the real deal and is made for those who want the best Audi A3 model money can buy and is likely one of the best subcompact performance cars there is.
How long can the Audi S3 last?
There is no reason to think that the Audi S3 will not be able to last at least 200,000 miles if maintained properly. It’s difficult to predict how long any car can last and cars as complex as these are even more difficult.
However, Audi makes great cars and if maintained well enough, they tend to last a really long time.