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Golf R or Audi S3

cal45

Ready to race!
Anyone look at the Audi S3 when in the market for a Golf R? They both have the same engine - I look at it as is a small sedan worth about 5g more than a 4-dr hatch? I test drove the Golf R and really liked it - yet to test drive a 2017 S3....
 

Stage2Sasquatch

Go Kart Champion
Anyone look at the Audi S3 when in the market for a Golf R? They both have the same engine - I look at it as is a small sedan worth about 5g more than a 4-dr hatch? I test drove the Golf R and really liked it - yet to test drive a 2017 S3....

Same engine, but keep in mind you can only get the S3 with the DSG not the manual. That's a deal breaker for me.
 

wildstar87

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
WA State
I cross shopped an S3 when I totaled my 2015 R. It was in between the first and second allocations of the 2016 R, so I couldn't find what I wanted, and you had to deal with the VW dealers treating it like it's gold plated.

Audi dealer totally willing to negotiate, and test drive. I actually really wanted to like the car but these were the issues I had with it.

Might be the same engine and same transmission, and platform, but they don't drive the same at all. Like all the reviews I've seen comparing the 2, the R just has a more nimble feel to it, the S3 just seems to drive "heavier". DSG shift points are different, and the magnetic ride, I don't think is as sporty as the DCC.

No back seat, I can fit in the back set of my R with no issues, plenty of headroom, leg room. In the S3, because the roof slants down so quickly, I hit my head on the ceiling, wouldn't want to ride in the back for very long. Obviously no hatchback (In the US), which I like the utility of, and it's almost a deal breaker for me.

LED nor HID headlights have adaptive lighting, I got used to lights turning into the corners when driving the R.

Interior is not my taste, other people thing it's an upgrade over the R, I disagree, it does feel more open, I like the cockpit feel of the R. Never liked round vents, and I prefer touchscreen over the touchdial thingy.

The R seats fit me much better, they really feel like a wraparound seat to me. I tried sitting on both the normal, and the high end sport seat. Neither fit me as well, or made me feel like it was going to hold me as well in corners.

The other issue with the S3, it literally looks like every other Audi sedan, I had trouble telling them apart in the showroom. In the end, I liked the car, but it didn't wow me like the R did, and it was still more money. Getting back into a 2016 R, was like coming home, and I didn't misremember how the car felt to me, vs the S3. I just got lucky that there was a second allocation.
 

cal45

Ready to race!
I cross shopped an S3 when I totaled my 2015 R. It was in between the first and second allocations of the 2016 R, so I couldn't find what I wanted, and you had to deal with the VW dealers treating it like it's gold plated.

Audi dealer totally willing to negotiate, and test drive. I actually really wanted to like the car but these were the issues I had with it.

Might be the same engine and same transmission, and platform, but they don't drive the same at all. Like all the reviews I've seen comparing the 2, the R just has a more nimble feel to it, the S3 just seems to drive "heavier". DSG shift points are different, and the magnetic ride, I don't think is as sporty as the DCC.

No back seat, I can fit in the back set of my R with no issues, plenty of headroom, leg room. In the S3, because the roof slants down so quickly, I hit my head on the ceiling, wouldn't want to ride in the back for very long. Obviously no hatchback (In the US), which I like the utility of, and it's almost a deal breaker for me.

LED nor HID headlights have adaptive lighting, I got used to lights turning into the corners when driving the R.

Interior is not my taste, other people thing it's an upgrade over the R, I disagree, it does feel more open, I like the cockpit feel of the R. Never liked round vents, and I prefer touchscreen over the touchdial thingy.

The R seats fit me much better, they really feel like a wraparound seat to me. I tried sitting on both the normal, and the high end sport seat. Neither fit me as well, or made me feel like it was going to hold me as well in corners.

The other issue with the S3, it literally looks like every other Audi sedan, I had trouble telling them apart in the showroom. In the end, I liked the car, but it didn't wow me like the R did, and it was still more money. Getting back into a 2016 R, was like coming home, and I didn't misremember how the car felt to me, vs the S3. I just got lucky that there was a second allocation.

Nice write up - appreciate it.

I was wondering if the S3 responded like the R (as I was impressed with how the R drove). Also, as you stated - I think the R would be more versatile with the hatch. I did sit in an A3 to get a feel for the leg room and found that (for me) you had to navigate around the door pillar to get in the seat. I'm leaning towards the R. But I have to admit the 2018 S3 w/400HP looks interesting but I am sure will carry a much larger MSRP than the '17s.
 

artystamk7

Ready to race!
Location
010101
Nice write up - appreciate it.

I was wondering if the S3 responded like the R (as I was impressed with how the R drove). Also, as you stated - I think the R would be more versatile with the hatch. I did sit in an A3 to get a feel for the leg room and found that (for me) you had to navigate around the door pillar to get in the seat. I'm leaning towards the R. But I have to admit the 2018 S3 w/400HP looks interesting but I am sure will carry a much larger MSRP than the '17s.

The 2018 S3 is not getting 400hp, that would be encroaching on the new RS3 which has 400hp.
 

Kabeyun

New member
Location
Northeast USA
Reviving this thread as I'm now in the same quandary. Long post but backstory helps. Opinions and observations would be most appreciated.

I came from my beloved 2008 Audi S5 which began to get expensively breaky after about 100K miles. Aside from it being the handsomest car I've ever driven, boy do I miss that naturally aspirated V8. Figuring I wanted to save the planet with better mileage, and figuring that sticks are going away so I may as well start getting used to it, I found a silly good deal on a 2016 BMW 228i xDrive. In 8 months I've grown to hate it so much I'm going to replace it, and it's down to a Golf R or back to Audi with the S3.

I feel myself drifting towards the VW. For one, it's got 3 pedals. Second, the mileage is (marginally) better than the S3. Third, coupes are my favorite body for sure, but I've really warmed up to a hatch (even a 4-door one) over a sedan. Fourth, and this is the big one, around here it's about a $9K difference between the two. For just over half that I can get the R and be silly with it: Stage 1 ECU, intake, catback, wheels, short shifter, and DAP's tinted Euro LED tail light kit. Compelling.

Here's the quandary. I enjoy spirited driving (not (yet) a track guy) but I also commute almost 40 miles a day and I need to enjoy living in my car. I know Audi tech well and it's just excellent. MMI is as good as iDrive sucks. In the Bimmer I have to pull the damn handle twice to get out. I have to turn the car off twice, and it still wrests control of an ongoing phone call, leaving me in the parking lot talking to myself. I can't adjust the default phone volume unless I'm already on a phone call. It's a thousand little annoyances that are ruining my experience, aside from the fact that the drive just isn't that inspiring (and that I could eat lunch during the turbo lag).

So how's the Golf R interior tech? I like good car tech's thoughtful touches, like crossfading radio stations, and a drip-catching extra wiper pass following a pause after a windshield wash. I'm already a little leery over the armrest thing (I know the hack, but still) and the CarPlay mute thing. Forum biases aside, are there annoyances you wish they'd fix? I get that the R isn't even supposed to be as refined as the S3, but I just wonder if it's as smooth a place to function in as it is a riot to drive in.

Thanks for indulging a lengthy first post.
 
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artystamk7

Ready to race!
Location
010101
I chose the S3, just look at that ass.
 

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JDMGolfR

Ready to race!
Location
Japan
Reviving this thread as I'm now in the same quandary. Long post but backstory helps. Opinions and observations would be most appreciated...

I come from the opposite back ground of older cars with much more power and driver involvement (other car is 4 rotor peripheral port FD rx7) with no radio/tech at all. So to me the Golf R is a very nice place to be and I dont really have any hates on the tech it has, I have been playing with the ODBeleven dongle/software which seems almost limitless with being able to make small adjustments and changes with things like wipers, head light washers etc. so that might be something to look into if you are particular about that sort of thing.
 

Schnell_R

Ready to race!
Location
Monroe, NC
I crossed shopped the S3 before deciding on the R. The S3 was a more appealing place to be as the driver, loved the seats and the new electronic gauge display. The S3 is a good option if you don't ever have tall rear passengers or need to haul bulky cargo. The R seemed a bit crisper on the turn in over the S3. After spending some time behind the wheel, the R is pretty dang good with regards to comfort and driver position. I came from a Passat so I'm still trying to adjust to the smaller size and the nibble handling of the R, not to mention the great power.
 
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