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When it comes to vehicles that aren't available here in the U.S., several rides are on our automotive shortlist. The S3 however, isn't one of them. According to some of our friends across the pond, we're weren't missing out on much when Audi decided to make it's hottest of hatches only available in Europe. This is especially true when one considers the amount of sport compacts at our disposal here in the States.

However, our disappointment grows exponentially when we see what some of the tuners abroad have been able to do to the S3. One particular aftermarket haus is Motoren Technik Mayer (MTM), whose experience with everything from V-Dubs to Lamborghinis has produced a series of balanced, thoughtful upgrades for Audi's two-door runabout.

To begin with, the two-liter TFSI engine is certainly no slouch, sending 265 HP to all four wheels via Audi's Quattro AWD system. But since competition is fierce from both the Audi's stable mates (GTI, R32) and other German hatches (130i, soon-to-be-released 135i), improvements are more than welcome.

The first step is a mild tweaking of the ECU, which alone can net an increase of 310 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. From there, the removal and replacement of some restrictive exhaust components, including the stock catalyst and mufflers, brings power up to 330 horses and 310 lb-ft of twist. That's good enough to propel MTM's orange S3 to 62 MPH in a tick over five seconds.

More impressive than their power packages is MTM's assortment of stoppers. Again, S3 owners are offered their choice of three separate packages; the first two replace the front calipers with Brembo units and increase the front disc size to either 330 mm or 365 mm. The last kit is comprised of eight-piston calipers gripping 380 mm rotors with more than enough force to send unsuspecting passengers hurdling towards the windshield. Interestingly, MTM's discs are cross-drilled, yet the holes don't run all the way through the rotor. The company maintains that by only drilling shallow holes, they can still get the benefits of cross-drilled brakes, but don't have to worry about the fragility of the rotors during extended high temperatures.

Naturally, wheels and suspension kits are also available, with 19x8.5" "Bimoto" rollers that come in either "Shiny Silver," "Titanium" or "Diamond Cut." A coilover system can lower the vehicle anywhere between 35 and 65 mm, but they come at a price. A more economical solution is to simply equip the S3 with MTM's shorter sport springs that utilize the stock shocks and drop the vehicle down another 45 mm.

Overall, MTM's approach to tuning seems to balanced tractable power with exemplary control. Maybe we wouldn't mind if the S3 was available on these shores, as long as an MTM dealer is close by.

[Source: Automotoportal, MTM]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      > However, they've taken a laptime of the 130i, however

      Uhm, make that "they've taken a laptime of the 130i on three occasions..."
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hardly anyone mentions the downsides of 'tuning'.

      Like really poor gas mileage or crap driveability. Or the reduced reliability (except maybe Dinan). Or how much the tuning treatment costs (ie might as well buy a better car to begin with).

      Actually a car mag did a comparison of some california tuners. Of the 7 or 8, only one car would pass smog. They were so far off with NOx, the car mag speculated those cars would destroy their catalytic converters within a year.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Having driven both the A3 and the Mazda 3 over longer distances, I find the thought alone of comparing the two interiors hilarious. On a second thought, if you change from the Audi to the Mazda you won't even find it funny. They're just lightyears apart in terms of quality and ergonomics. If you're ready to pay for it is another matter. The current Astra is quite ok and has improved a lot over its predecessors (for whatever that's worth), but same feel as an A3? Haha, good one. But depends on what you're used to I guess.
      BTW, rubbish interior aside, the Mazda 3 has got probably one of the best FWD chassis out there, I just loved it. No 'look at me, I'm sporty' harshness, but very agile, loads of grip, surprisingly neutral (and a good amount off lift-off oversteer on tap) and an excellent steering. I was seriously tempted to get one to replace my daily beater...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ok marais, I call BS:

      -"Also, a fully-loaded Mazda 3 Speed hatchback is about 5K less than the A3 base"
      Mazdaspeed 3 base $22,835
      Audi A3 base $25,340
      That's below 3k, both in base trim. Yes, the A3 is expensive, but let's not be ridiculous.

      -"has a cluttered instrument panel"
      You do reali´ze that Audi is universally praised for their interiors, right? I recently drove an A3 and it's as ergonomically straightforward as it gets.

      -"And then a Saturn Astra redline would be faster and thousands cheaper, with the same euro feel"
      First of all, you only get the 140hp (for now). Second, just ask any European if an Opel Astra delivers the same "feel" as an A3 and you will get laughed at. I guess being confronted with a diet of crappy GM/Ford and boring Toyota interiors for decades can really impair your feeling for style.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Hardly anyone mentions the downsides of 'tuning'."

      I'm on my third "tuned" turbo car, and I have yet to experience the downside. My last car, an Audi A4, actually had better gas milage with a chip and exhaust. I've never spent more than about $2k on any given vehicle for modifications.

      I know what you are saying, but it's possible to conservatively tune a vehicle without having to sacrifice reliabilty and your bank account. Gas is another story.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #2 did you just compare an Audi to a Saturn???
      • 8 Years Ago
      This car is absolutely awesome looking and I am sure it drives like a dream.
      • 8 Years Ago
      > #8 the correct times (...)
      Huh? Those times are identical to those posted by me, except for the BMW, so I suppose that's the one you consider to be wrong. It's not. However, they've taken a laptime of the 130i, however:
      11/05 - 1:19.9
      02/06 - 1:19.2
      12/06 - 1:19.6

      The 19.6 is from latest test and was done on the same day as the times of the S3 and the Mazda so should be pretty comparable.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well, it is you who brought that up.
      On the subject of who smokes whom, let's take a look at some Hockenheim laptimes from German "sport auto" mag:

      Audi S3 (265hp/AWD) 1:17.7
      Opel Astra OPC (240hp/FWD) 1:19.3
      Mazda 3 MPS (260hp/FWD) 1:19.6
      BMW 130i (265hp/RWD) 1:19.6
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm typically not a fan of the loud, nasty yellows and oranges the big 3 (or anyone else, really) seem to like to push out to people on cars... but this color just looks good to me here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Audi A3 is a disappointment in general. It is an incredibly expensive car for what it is, has a cluttered instrument panel, and comes with Audi's "super-expensive-to-fix" guaranty. Also, a fully-loaded Mazda 3 Speed hatchback is about 5K less than the A3 base. And then a Saturn Astra redline would be faster and thousands cheaper, with the same euro feel. But then again, the A3 is rarely, if ever, spotted in Michigan.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #8 the correct times

      1:17.7min Audi S3 (265hp AWD)
      1:18.8min Audi TT 2.0 TFSI (200hp FWD)
      1:19.2min BMW 130i (265hp RWD)
      1:19.3min Opel Astra OPC (240hp FWD)
      1:19.6min Mazda 3 MPS (260hp FWD)
      1:20.9min Honda Civic Type R (200hp FWD)

      the Audi TT 200hp FWD is currently the fastest FWD in that track, the car was equipend with the optional magnetic ride supension.