The undercover Audi Quattro

If the secret of being cool is keeping quiet about how great you are, then the Audi S3 Quattro has it nailed.

 Gen-2 S3 still cuts a dash, especially in this colour

Gen-2 S3 still cuts a dash, especially in this colour

To the untrained eye, the S3 can easily be mistaken for a tidy and soberly restrained three-door hatchback. Especially if it comes in one of Audi’s ’business hues’ of grey, black or blue, when it is barely noticeable. 

But hidden beneath the disguise – in the more desirable 221bhp 2001-03 gen-2 models at least – is the chassis and four-wheel drive running gear of the top-end Audi TT 225. The 1999-2001 S3s had to make do with 11bhp less, which meant that unlike the later cars they couldn’t quite crack 150mph, and are 0.2sec slower to 60mph. 

What’s really telling is in the relative values of the TT and the S3. The S3 started life two grand cheaper than the TT 225. Go shopping now and you can easily find good one-owner TTs in the £4000-£4500 range. Probably helped by being rarer, and often held onto long-term by their owners, an S3 Quattro with similar age, mileage and history will cost you around £5500 – exactly what we saw a one-owner 75,000 mile car make at auction recently. So now you know.

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