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The Audi S3 was first introduced in 1999, but was only made as a 3-door hatchback. It is still being produced today, but it is now made in a 3-door and 5-door hatchback, Sportback, sedan, and cabriolet. Since its inception, the A3 has had 4 different generations: S3 8L (1999-2003), S3 8P (2006-2013), S3 8V (2013-2021), and S3 8Y (2022-Present). In this guide specifically, we will be focusing on the Audi 8V S3. The 8V S3 featured a 2.0 TFSI that put down anywhere from 296hp to 306hp and 280lb-ft to 295lb-ft of torque. The transmissions offered were a 6-speed manual, 6-speed S tronic, and a 7-speed S tronic. The drivetrain features Audi’s AWD quattro® system.
Audi S3 Coilovers Considerations
When it comes to choosing the right coilovers, it’s important to ask yourself what you want when it comes to your S3. Are you taking it out to the track every a few weekends a year and need to hit corners hard? Or are you simply wanting to lower the vehicle for looks? Once you have figured out what you are trying to accomplish, then you can read on to the considerations below: monotube vs twin-tube, spring rates, dampening adjustability, and more. Our goal with this post is to provide information that will assist anyone in purchasing a set of coilovers.
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube
The first consideration we have listed is monotube vs twin-tube. This can get quite confusing, but we will cover it on a surface level to make it easily understandable. Monotube and twin-tube refers to the coilovers shock internals.
Monotube coilovers contain one chamber, or cylinder, that houses hydraulic fluid and hydraulic gas. These substances within the cylinder do not mix causing a more precise and stiff suspension. You will mainly find these in high-performance street cars or track cars. Since the technology used in them are pretty complex, they tend to be more expensive to produce, which in turn is more expensive for you.
Twin-tube coilovers contain two chambers or cylinders, that house hydraulic gas and hydraulic fluid individually. Unlike monotube coilovers, these substances can sometimes mix. This causes a softer or less precise suspension. This isn’t a bad thing for daily drivers looking for a comfortable ride. However, you will not likely find these on track cars. These coilovers tend to be less expensive than monotubes.
Coilover Spring Rates
Springs are probably the most important component of a vehicle’s suspension. Not only do they control the vehicle’s bounce, but they also absorb bumps. Spring rates refer to the amount of weight it takes for a spring to compress by an inch. This can be measured in different ways depending on location, but the most popular metrics are lb/in and KG/mm. A higher spring rate, for example, 7kg or 392lb/in, yields a stiffer ride. A lower spring rate, for example, 205 lb/in, typically yields a softer, more comfortable ride. A common term that you will more than likely see as well is “progressive spring rate”. That means that the spring rate increases as the coil compresses from unloading.
Probably one of the most important considerations if you are looking to build a track car or high-performance street S3 is going to be dampening. Dampening is the control of the compression and rebound of the springs. Adjustable dampening refers to the ability to customize the dampening force. This gives the driver many options to fine-tune a vehicle’s suspension for any driving situation. Not all coilovers have adjustable dampening, others may have fixed dampening. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, but not every driver, typically daily drivers, needs adjustable dampening. Aftermarket companies that provide fixed dampening ensure the damping is at optimal levels for handling and comfort.
Coilovers vs. Lowering Springs
Last but not least, we feel the need to cover the hot topic of coilovers vs lowering springs. Many enthusiasts have strong opinions of which one is best, so we’ll break down the pros and cons of both. This argument really goes back to vehicle goals. Are you just trying to lower the vehicle and its center of gravity? Or are you looking to be able to customize ride height and dampening? Lowering springs are great for the first question and they tend to be less expensive. Coilovers are great for the second question because it allows the driver full customization over their suspension. So, our opinion would be to save a little more money to get some coilvers because they provide more value to your driving experience. On top of that, coilovers typically come with upgraded shocks and strut mounts. But again, all drivers are different, so just make sure to base the decision on your vehicle goals.
Audi S3 Coilover Benefits
- Improved handling
- Ride height adjustability/Lower center of gravity
- Dampening adjustability
- More comfortable driving experience
Best S3 Coilovers
When it comes to the “best” coilovers for the S3 8V, we think it is a little subjective. Because of what we said previously. The word best, is different for every driver. However, with our choices below, we try to suit any driver’s need or want, whether it be stance, street, or track. Before ordering anything, please make sure the setups below fit your specific 8V S3 drivetrain. If you would like us to write another post about the S3 8Y, let us know in the comments!
1) Raceland S3 Coilovers
Raceland coilovers will always be our number one pick whenever it comes to the biggest bang-for-your-buck coilover kit. Starting at just $439, Raceland gets a bad rep because they come off as cheap. But what many don’t know is that Raceland cuts out the middleman when it comes to distribution. This means that they are passing their savings onto the customer. They use high-quality components to produce great coilovers.
These twin-tube coilovers offer a 1-3″ ride height adjustability, corrosion-resistant material, and more for the daily driver. On top of the coilovers, Raceland offers a lifetime warranty, 30-day satisfaction guarantee, and excellent customer service.
Driver: Stance or Street
Buy Here: Raceland Audi S3 8V Quattro Classic Coilovers
2) BC Racing S3 Coilovers
BC Racing is a well-known aftermarket suspension company that provides high-performance street kits and track kits. These monotube coilovers provide a 2-3″ ride height adjustability, 30 levels of dampening adjustability, performance spring rates, and include front camber plates. We must preface for the sedan models, the A3 8V kit fits A3’s with 54.5mm front strut. BC Racing kits are found in most of our coilover guides because of the positive feedback from enthusiasts.
3) Bilstein S3 Coilovers
Bilstein, like BC Racing, is another very well-known aftermarket suspension company that provides high-performance street kits and track kits. These monotube shock coilovers provide a 1.18-2″ ride height adjustability, fixed dampening, progressive spring rates, and anti-corrosion material. We must preface, that S3’s equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) will require DCC Cancelers. If you find yourself on the track often or are wanting high-performance coilovers, Bilstein’s are the way to go.
Driver: Street or Track
Price: $1,286.80 + Free Shipping
Buy Here: Bilstein B14 PSS Audi S3 8V Coilovers
Audi S3 Coilovers Conclusion
To wrap this post up, we hope the information and kits we provided above assist you in your purchasing decision. We advise all readers to do their own research outside of this article because picking coilovers is no small choice. In short, if you are a driver that is looking for the biggest bang-for-your-buck when it comes to Audi S3 coilovers, Raceland would be your best option. If you are going for a more high-performance setup, BC Racing would be your best option. Let us know in the comments below what coilovers you are currently running or plan on running to assist future enthusiasts.
Also, if you would like to read more Audi content, here is an article on “Why the Audi Logo Has Four Rings”.