The age old question: performance or economy?

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
I haven't had a hot hatch for years, not since I sold my last RS Turbo sometime around 2004/5. Since then I've had a string of cheap and crap motors until I bought my less crap and less cheap Lexus (IS200, 2002) nearly 9 years ago. Love it, best car I've ever owned. Despite it being not fast and not economic! I get about 24-27mpg from it, tax is £330 (and rising, will be £340 this year) and it's fairly slow at around 10s to 60.

It will be 19 this year, and it's showing its age. Last year it need a bunch of stuff replacing/fixing, and as it ages it will only need more. I maintain rather than modify these days, but even so it's probably coming towards the end of it's life, so I started looking around.

My first though was a B8 Audi S4 (the 3L supercharged V6) which is massively more powerful than my Lexus (more than double the horsepower) and still get's (slightly) better mpg and cost less on tax :laugh: Can pick those up for £12-£15k to around £20k depending on year and mileage. But then I figured the tax is only going up (and is already over £300) and parts for it might be expensive, plus a 2012 one is approaching the same age my Lexus was when I got it.

So I started looking at the A3 saloons (8V shape) since I prefer those over the equivalent A4, and they do a 1.4L turbo that makes about 150bhp (and more torque than my Lexus), makes 50-60mpg and costs £20 or £30 a year to tax. The S-Line models around 2014-2016 are about the same price as an older S4, but obviously much less performance, so trading performance for economy (and a bit newer/less mileage)

Then I noticed there's an S3 model :facepalm: 2L turbo, 300bhp and~300lb/ft, 60 in under 5s and still makes 34-40mpg (44 combined, so it says) for £150 a year tax (once the car gets past the 5 year increased tax levy). Plus it's 4WD, which I've never had (I was always FWD until the Lexus which is RWD). They're about £10k more than the 1.4 S-Line, so mileage depending around £20-£25k for a 2017 model, which is what I'm looking at (as it won't be a couple years before I buy, probably)

So it comes back to either the economy of the 1.4 with it's cheaper tax, better MPG and less initial outlay, or the much increased performance of the S3 at the cost of higher tax and lesser mpg (although both of which are MUCH better than my Lexus). One the one hand, my sensible head says buy the economy car: enjoy cheaper motoring while ploughing all my spare money into overpaying my mortgage. But the title devil on my shoulder says I spent a long time getting myself into a good paying job, I should be allowed to have a little extravagance here and there, and enjoy a nice car that's more fun to drive and a better thrill. Plus there's the fact that it might be the last one of it's kind I buy, as it wouldn't surprise me if we're all in EV's for daily drivers in ten years...

It's all a bit academic right now as it will still probably be a couple years before I can buy - I'm committed to clearing as much as my mortgage as I can this year, and it'll take me another year to save up £15-£20k before I can even look at a car of that value (which in itself it making my head spin - other than the mortgage, I've never spent £15/£20k on anything!)
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
Don't knock the fun of an EV, they can give performance cars a run for their money along with the tax and economy benefits.
That said, I'm no fan of the relentless push to switch to EV for private cars, their premium price for a basic car, lack of range and charging infrastructure.
So why not have the economy motor now, save for mortgage clearance and get a fun EV when that's a realistic option. Sounds like the economy option would still be a match for your current car in most areas.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
335d. 0-60 under 5 seconds. 40+MPG.

Comes in saloon, vert, touring and coupe flavours.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
I'm not adverse to an EV, but until battery technology gets better, and charging gets quicker, I'm not looking to make the switch. That said, who knows where it will be in ten years!

I am adverse to diesels though. That's what's stopped me getting a Jag XF/XE - the only cheap tax models are diesel and I will not buy a diesel while I work in London, as the boundaries for what diesels can and can't come into London are constantly moving and getting tighter, so I won't/can't risk splurging a lot of cash on a lovely car that in a year might become useless to me, and I won't be able to sell it for what I paid for it as everyone else around me will be in the same position.

I'm still lusting after this S3 though.........
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
In that case, you’re going to have to choose between performance and economy.

But i hear you about diesels. Tis why i got rid of my 335d, would have been £12.50 a time to enter the North Circular. Ridiculous. Was a 2 owner 2011 vehicle with loads of options, no expense spared on the maintenance, 179k miles. Would love to have kept it. Perfect for going up and down the motorways / autobahn.
 

Delvey

Distinguished Member
It is kind of funny how you are looking to spend £10k more on a car based on it being £100 a year cheaper to tax 🤣
Audi A3 and A4 will share parts so cost for maintenance will be the same.
S3 is a great car however.
 

nvingo

Distinguished Member
That's why I'm happy to keep my £1k-£2k car and pay £330+ RFL for as many years as it remains useable.I'm still making a big saving compared to what a comparable car with <£100 RFL would cost to own.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
That's why I'm happy to keep my £1k-£2k car and pay £330+ RFL for as many years as it remains useable.I'm still making a big saving compared to what a comparable car with <£100 RFL would cost to own.

Which is one angle I looked at it. I've already paid for my Lexus, and if it makes it to 10 years of owner ship it will have cost me £250 a year (purchase price), plus whatever I've spent maintaining/repairing and running it. On the other side of the coin, it's going to need replacing at some point - be that a year, 2 years; I'll run it as long as I can as it's (mostly) a good car and I love it. I could buy another £k-£2k car, or even a £2k-£5k car, and run that, and it might have less running costs than my car, but ultimately I'll end up in the same predicament I'm in now - a car coming towards then end of it's economically justifiable life that will start to rack up bills for parts and repairs. Hence why I'm looking at newer cars, which naturally are more expensive because they're newer (and hopefully better)

It is kind of funny how you are looking to spend £10k more on a car based on it being £100 a year cheaper to tax
🤣

Audi A3 and A4 will share parts so cost for maintenance will be the same.
S3 is a great car however.

Huh? The one with the cheaper tax is also £10k cheaper to buy (the S4 is out of the picture, so it's between the S3: more powerful, more expensive to buy, more expensive to tax/fuel; and the 1.4 A3: less powerful, less expensive to buy, less expensive to tax/fuel). Which is why my head says A3, but my heart says S3
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
You only live once.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I did the sums when I replaced my dying A Class with a Golf GTi.
The higher tax on the GTi and lower fuel economy looked significant because they're presented in an easily comparable form. BUT when I totted up the lifetime cost of the A Class I realised that the tax and fuel weren't really that big a factor in the overall ownership costs.
I know the GTi costs more and paying that massive tax is really irritating but in the end I enjoy the car a lot.
If you do massive mileage then fuel economy may take on a different importance but it isn't important to me.

One thing I would consider is how quickly you got used to the drop in performance from the RS Turbo to what you've had since?
When my GTi is in the workshop they give me a VW Up! - the interior is cheaper and there are fewer toys to play with, the engine is a tiny turbo - but the controls are similar. The only time I really feel the difference is driving up the slip road on the dual carriageway. In the GTi I'm at the limit and merging in my own time, the Up! takes it's time to get there and then you have to pick your moment.
It's always pleasant to get my own car back and I enjoy the acceleration but it very quickly becomes "normal" again.

I think it's safe to say in this forum you're going to get more suggestions for the performance choice over the economy one :devil:
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
Been so long since I drove an RS Turbo, and I didn't own a car after selling my last one for probably 2 years before I bought another. The RST's I had were never what I'd call fast - they were quick, but they felt fast because they were light and poorly made 😆 I actually really want another because they were about the most analogue driving car I ever had - no driver aids, no power steering, mechanical everything (including the fuel injection!!!), no creature comforts of any kind.

I don't do mega mileage, maybe 10/12k a year, and whilst it used to be mostly motorway/dual carriageway, it's much more country back roads now - which is why I notice the Lexus taking a hit on the MPG as with the motorway driving I was at least getting into the higher 20's (27/28, 29 if I'm lucky) but in the twisties it's the lower/mid 20's. Hence my initial look at the 1.4 with it's much better economy, and the £20/£30 road tax is not only appetising because of how much cheaper it is, but also because the least I can give to our government the better, seeing as we're ripped off on everything else (including fuel tax)

But I can't help but think the S3 would be a LOT of fun
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
For cheap fun, have a look at the Skoda and Seat alternatives. Some real sleepers there, so don't attract the same sort of crowd that will abuse / steal / knacker an RS or S3.
 

domtheone

Distinguished Member
Then I noticed there's an S3 model :facepalm: 2L turbo, 300bhp and~300lb/ft, 60 in under 5s and still makes 34-40mpg (44 combined, so it says) for £150 a year tax (once the car gets past the 5 year increased tax levy). Plus it's 4WD, which I've never had (I was always FWD until the Lexus which is RWD). They're about £10k more than the 1.4 S-Line, so mileage depending around £20-£25k for a 2017 model, which is what I'm looking at (as it won't be a couple years before I buy, probably)
FYI, I wouldn't bank on getting anywhere near 44MPG from an S3.

You’ll be having far too much fun caning it through the gears/trying out launch control.:D

My mate ran one for 4 years and I think averaged about mid 20’s over his 50K miles. He’s 19 Stone though so has a heavy right foot.

I ran a Golf R Estate at the same time. Was fun seeing the difference between the 2. Averaged about 31MPG over 20K miles but that was being very careful most of the time. 7 gears in the S3 as opposed to 6 so i’m sure I could have averaged close to mid 30’s if i’d have had 1.

Same engine in both but the noise was better on the S3. Interior nicer (subjective). Was amazed how cosy the S3 was though and even the Sportback has a tiny boot. If it wasn't for the price, I’d have had one. Would have been prefect for just me and my hiking gear/golf clubs (back seats down obviously).

Oh and he had attempted thefts on it about 5 times. Including peeps breaking in the house to find the keys! West Yorks though so that may be car crime capital.
 

gangzoom

Well-known Member
Don't knock the fun of an EV, they can give performance cars a run for their money along with the tax and economy benefits.

The reason I looked into an EV was because I was feedup with 20mpg and oil leaks in my 335i.....

Yes EVs are expensive to buy, but actually no more so than any new performance car. The benefit though is once you bought one they are cheaper than 1.0 Fiesta to run.

3.5 p per mile in fuel, zero 'servicing' costs in 4 years and 50k of ownership (though I will get it 'serviced' this year), tyres lasting 20k per set, £0 VED. For a 2ton+, 6 seater SUV that does 0-60 in under 5 seconds those are crazy cheap upkeep costs.

Even depreciation is currently 'only' 33% at 4 years old!

The alternative choice back in 2016 when we bought the EV would have been a F10 M5 or a XJ supersport for a similar purchased price.....I think I can safely say compared to those combustion car alternatives our EV has achieved the ultimate combination of 'Economy AND performance' :).

Though I do still love the way a XJ looks, everytime I walk past one I still want one. Its a shame Jag dropped the EV version of the XJ to focus on more Electric SUVs :(.

JAGUAR%2FXJ%2Fsedan%2F4%2F2009%2Fexterior-photos%2Fo%2Fjaguar-xj-sedan-4-doors-2009-model-exterior-photos-0.jpg
 
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Matt_C

Distinguished Member
Problem with an EV for me is charging. I have nowhere to charge it at home, and I can fuel my car for 350 miles (or 550 miles if I bought the 1.4 A3 above) in about 90 seconds. I can’t do that with an EV, the technology just isn’t there yet
 

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