The hot hatch is a staple of British motoring culture with both practicality and sportiness combining to create fun to drive pocket rockets for the road.
With over 220hp as standard, the original Audi S3 certainly fits within that category and a few minor modifications including lowering springs, a cold air intake system and larger wheels don’t hurt this car’s attraction.
Three pedals and an H-pattern gear shift mean petrolheads in need of a more practical car will surely be drawn to this great looking example from a time when fast Audis didn’t need to be covered in carbon fibre or have as many sharp angles as a stealth aircraft.
History and Paperwork
First registered May 2003
Fully stamped service history, main dealer and specialist
Current UK V5c
MOT expires October 2022
Black leather Recaro sports seats
Aftermarket head unit and navigation system
Optional Bose speakers
Spacious rear seats with plenty of legroom
Black is certainly the theme inside this 2003 Audi S3 with black leather seats, a black dashboard and even dark carpets and headlining all of which makes for a focused driving position.
From the comfort of the Recaro sports seats, you’ll notice that the centre console features a rather large screen. The original infotainment system has been replaced by an aftermarket head unit including a built-in navigation system. Look a bit further down and you’ll be looking forward to winter with buttons controlling the heated seats.
Elsewhere, Bose speakers, an optional extra from factory adorn the cabin making the most of that aftermarket stereo system while passengers in the rear will benefit from the S3’s angular roofline providing plenty of headroom.
While the front seats and steering wheel and centre console buttons may show signs of their age, the rear seats, carpets and dashboard all look excellent.
Open the boot and it’s a similar story, the lining is for the most part in great shape with the spare wheel lurking under the floor.
Great first generation S3 styling
Lowered stance thanks to lowering springs
Aftermarket larger wheels
Looking so good overall, it’s hard to believe the original Audi S3 is now a twenty-year-old car. The almost soft-looking shape has loads of presence on the roads and oozes sportiness even at a standstill.
This particular model, with a few subtle modifications, goes a step further. Larger wheels that fill the arches better along with lowering springs help make this car look excellent. In fact, this car is proof that sporty Audi models don’t need sharp angles and fussy winglets to look fast.
Just like the interior, the body is showing a few signs that it could do with some TLC. The wheels have some scuff marks, as do the wheel arches. The headlights may benefit from a polish and the S3 badge fitted to the boot lid is starting to fade.
That being said, the car is overall a looker and will be perfectly useable on a daily basis.
1.8-litre inline four BAM engine good for 222hp
Aftermarket cold air intake
Speaking of usability on a daily basis, the Audi S3 is surely the epitome of a performance hatchback with the makings of a daily. And with an excellent service history record, the 1.8-litre 20-valve turbocharged inline-four BAM engine is sure to keep going yet.
The owner mentions in particular the raspy exhaust note which, along with the six-speed manual gearbox, surely makes for an enjoyable experience on twisty British B-roads.
An aftermarket cold air intake adds itself to the list of minor modifications helping extract all 222 horsepower, and maybe more from the four pot powerplant. Under the bonnet everything looks healthy although the owner informs us that the traction control light comes on as a result of the larger wheels interfering with the system.
A few visual marks on parts of the body are small details in what is otherwise a very attractive proposition. The Audi S3 is a great model for those looking for a taste of performance while remaining practical. With a few subtle modifications empowering the car’s sporty character, this particular S3 will get all the Audi fans at the local car meet talking.
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2003 Audi S3
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