Need to improve your sense of hearing? Buy a car and start tinkering with it. Never has there been an ear more sensitive to the faintest of sounds than one belonging to someone with a modified car. Every rattle, click, thump, and whistle is amplified to the nth degree with the worry something might be wrong. Sometimes, though, the sounds are loud enough for anyone in the car to hear.
The folks at AutoTopNL got a chance to take an Audi S3 8L — built from 1999 through 2003 — onto the speed-limitless highways of Germany’s Autobahn. Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.8-liter 20-valve four-cylinder that made up to 222 horsepower in stock trim. Per the video, this one is an earlier model with 207 hp, but it’s been modified to an even 300 horses with 325 pound-feet of torque.
The first highway pull sees the S3 run from 62 mph (100 kph) to 134 mph (215 kph) in 18 seconds. It won’t hang with Bugatti Chiron, but for a small 24-year-old hatchback, that’s not bad. It sounds good too, emitting a nice growl complete with a deliciously chirpy blow-off valve between shifts. Highway traffic foils the next couple of runs, though we eventually get a clear stretch that sends the needle to 240 kph (149 mph). Importantly, the speedo was still climbing steadily when the driver lifted. Clearly the Audi has more to give.
Before the driver is able to extract this S3’s true potential, things go south. The next pull is cut short almost immediately by a loud bang. From the perspective of the video it’s not clear where the sound comes from, but the driver immediately lifts the throttle, upshifts, then takes it out of gear while coasting onto the shoulder. A quick call for backup brings a BMW on-scene for a tow off the highway, where the AutoTopNL team discovers the cause of the problem: An intercooler pipe has blown itself off its connection point.
Fortunately, it’s a simple fix, and one we suspect many forced-induction fans are familiar with. The video ends with the crew applying gaffer tape around the hose for a temporary fix. So while a big bang on the autobahn is never a good thing, this adventure certainly could’ve ended much worse.