Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3

If you’re sad about the passing of the last of the small, sporty, three-door cars, find some solace in an Audi S3 with 261bhp and quattro four-wheel drive…

Remind me later
Audi - Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3 - Used Cars

Sporty three-door hatchbacks will always have a special place in our hearts, despite the fact that most manufacturers of right-hand drive cars have now canned all but their most expensive and luxurious cars to wear a single pair of doors.

Dozens of cool, accessible three-doors were made over the years, though, and one of the most prominent was the Audi S3. For over 20 years it has been the go-to aspirational hot hatchback, sitting above the Volkswagen Golf GTI and fitted with acceleration-boosting part-time four-wheel drive. Traditionally, it was always a three-door first, with the distinctly less cool Sportback five-door added to the range later.

Audi - Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3 - Used Cars

That delivered rapid getaway pace while, unlike the much later RS3, the S3 maintained the kind of understated looks at which the untrained eye wouldn’t look twice. The 2006 revamp took it to a whole new level after a three-year gap that followed the end of the previous version’s life span. This all-new car looked the absolute nuts and went off the mark pretty nicely, too.

It spanked all front-wheel drive hot hatch rivals in the 0-62mph race. Its 261bhp output put it 64bhp up on the MkV Golf GTI, and recording a 5.5-second class-best it was in a different league to the Volkswagen’s 7.2-second amble. That made it worth the extra money to a huge number of buyers.

Audi - Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3 - Used Cars

Nowadays the pricey compact has dropped in value to a nicely accessible level. Very early (and not pretty) cars fitted with a 1.8-litre 20-valve engine can be very low four-figure sums, but we think the 2006-2012 car is the one to go for. We’ve picked one of the cheapest examples in the UK, at just £5995.

Registered on a 2006 ‘56’ number plate, our three-door pick for sale with Dubbers Sports Ltd has covered a little under 138,800 miles for a sensible average of a bit beyond 11,000 miles per year. That suggests daily driving, so at least lack of use should never have been an issue.

Audi - Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3 - Used Cars

The standard and unassuming S3 wheels don’t draw attention. Even better for the Q-factor is that the interior has seen a few tempting upgrades. Full leather upholstery was an expensive extra, and the front chairs are heated. There’s a CD changer upgrade in the glove box, too.

Its last MOT was a pass with no advisories, says the seller. It’s unmodified with only two owners on file, and it’s wearing Michelin boots. If the last owner cared about it enough to put the most expensive tyres on it, you can be sure it’s been looked after well enough.

Audi - Embrace Three-Door Thrills With A £5995, 261bhp Audi S3 - Used Cars

The 2.0-litre EA113’s cambelt was changed at 88,000 miles so another is probably due, and that impending bill might be why the last owner has shifted the car on. Otherwise this looks like a very sound buy. Plenty of power and pace, readily available parts, easy mods and lots of specialists mean this, even considering the mileage, is a hell of a buy.