Audi S3 Pushes To 149 MPH On Autobahn, Bursting Intercooler Pipe Along The Way

Unexpected engine bay noise on speed-limit-free roads: a recipe for disaster.

Looking to enhance your auditory perception? Consider purchasing a vehicle and experimenting with its mechanics. Few things can sharpen one’s hearing quite like owning a modified car. Every creak, tick, bump, and blow is magnified exponentially, causing concern that something may be awry. Occasionally, these noises are even audible to other passengers in the car.

The team at AutoTopNL had the opportunity to test drive an Audi S3 8L, manufactured between 1999 and 2003, on the unrestricted Autobahn highways of Germany. Beneath the hood lies a 1.8-liter 20-valve four-cylinder engine that generates an impressive 222 horsepower in its original state. However, the specific car featured in the video is an earlier model with 207 hp. Yet, it has been upgraded to produce an exhilarating 300 horsepower and a torque of 325 pound-feet.

During our first highway acceleration test, the S3 managed to go from 62 mph (100 kph) to 134 mph (215 kph) in just 18 seconds. While it may not compare to a Bugatti Chiron, this feat is impressive for a small hatchback that is only 24 years old. The engine also sounds great, producing a satisfying growl and a delightful chirp from the blow-off valve during gear shifts. Unfortunately, our next couple of attempts were thwarted by heavy traffic on the highway. However, we eventually find an open stretch of road where the S3 hits a top speed of 240 kph (149 mph). What’s even more notable is that the speedometer was still climbing steadily when the driver let off the throttle. Clearly, the Audi still has plenty of power left to unleash.

As the driver attempts to unleash the full potential of the S3, their efforts are quickly thwarted. A loud bang cuts short the next acceleration, leaving the driver perplexed. The source of the noise is not evident in the video, but the quick response of the driver is captured as they release the throttle, shift gears, and coast onto the shoulder. A call for assistance brings a BMW to the scene, allowing the AutoTopNL team to identify the issue: a blown intercooler pipe has detached from its connection point.

Luckily, the solution is quite easy and we presume that many aficionados of forced induction are well-versed in it. The footage concludes with the team using gaffer tape to temporarily patch up the hose. While experiencing a major explosion on the autobahn is never desirable, this escapade could have certainly resulted in much more dire consequences.

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