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Thread: To those who think the A3 is just a Golf with a premium badge...

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    To those who think the A3 is just a Golf with a premium badge...

    I see this argument a lot: The A3 is identical to a VW Golf, just more expensive due to the four rings on the bonnet.

    Coming from BMW's with this A3 being my first Audi, I wanted to investigate what actually makes the A3 different from its VW sibling. Its interesting the amount of technical data you can find if you really start digging into available information, shipping off some emails to engineers, etc.

    I assume many here knows this already, but I figured I would just quickly sum up my initial findings. Im assuming this is mostly valid for other Audi's too, not just the A3.

    To start with the obvious, the A3 shares a lot of common miscellaneous bits and pieces such belts, thermostats, starters, buttons, and what not, in the same way BMW's and Mini's now do. The 2.0 TDi engines are extremely similar, and the A3 obviously shares the MQB platform. MQB is however basically just a standardization of engine and transmission placement for cars with transversely mounted engines. Thats pretty much where the similarities end though.

    The chassis is more sophisticated on the A3 than the Golf, where Audi uses aluminium on parts of the chassis instead of an all-steel frame. I was a bit concerned that I would be treated to the typical Audi front-heaviness understeering, but it seems like the 80Kg weight reduction on the new A3 is mainly in the front, which helps this somewhat. At any rate, panels, suspension points, structural reinforcements, tunnels, pretty much all the pieces that holds the car together are seemingly quite different in the A3 than in the Golf with the ones used in the Audi being a lot more sophisticated and generally of higher quality.

    Does anyone else here have something to add? I'd be curious to know of any findings.
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    Aluminium wings and bonnets too which I don't think the golf has..
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    Now a proud owner of a A3 1.4 tfsi Saloon S-Line, 6-speed, Daytona Grey, Technology Pack, Comfort Pack, Cruise, Advanced Key, Privacy Glass, Audi Parking System Plus, Interior Lighting, Folding Door Mirrors, Light & Rain Sensor. Hold Assist.

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    I'm sure the tolerances on parts for both makes are quite similar. So I'm not sure about the quality statement. Whilst the Audi uses much more aluminium I'm certain that the VW will use high specification materials. With out seeing drawing and specs it would be almost impossible to judge. Both cars seem to have similar longevity and keep their looks just as long as each other, what you will find is that all VAG group companies will use the same specifications through out their design and production and design facilities.
    Steeve

  5. #4
    The engines used in both the Golf and most of the Audi range, certainly the A3, are all made in the Audi engine plant in Gyor in Hungary.
    Another plant on the same site builds the A3 Saloon and Cabriolet and well as final assemble of the TT range.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    The sat nav and technology 'system' in the golf IMO is a bit naff compared to the Audi version. The golf looks a bit over weight as well, again, only IMO. But the biggest difference is the dealers - having owned a mk5 GTI from new and an R32, I can tell you the quality of service I received from VW dealers was utter crap.
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    A3 has Aluminium front sub-frame and hub carriers, again, for weight reduction.

    Due to MQB, the engine mounting in relation to pedal box dimension in the X-axis is identical to Golf. All engines are tilted back 12 degrees.
    This also fixes certain other packaging requirements, for example in HVAC and steering rack.

    Both manufacturers use hot rolled steel and Boron enriched steel in various places around the passenger safety cell, but this is in slightly different places due to the body variance, and crash requirements.

    S3 8V 3DR DSG ACC ABS ADS AMI ASR ASS DAB DBW DIS DRL EBA EBD EDL EGR EPB EPS ESP GPS LED MFSW MMI PDC PSF RAC SDXC TFSI CO2 EEC OTR WTF OMG



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    I'm not sure it matters. I think it comes down to budget and preference. The Audi brand is designed to be more luxury than the VW and beyond that, I think each brand is trying their best to make a car the best it can be within it's set brand philosophy and target cost. What becomes interesting is all the niche busting Audi and now VW are doing, making it less clear of the differences between cars. I think it's good for us to have the choice, although my guess is that at the higher end of prices for both the S3 Vs the R, people will be more influenced by looks / design, whilst entry level golf v A3, prices will mostly influence.

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    You pays your money you takes your pick.

    I find it intriguing that in 90% of the reviews I've read online (from what I can interpret), the Golf is clearly deemed to be the better car for 'driving emotion'. Given that 95% of the kit is the same what are VW doing differently in the set up of camber / toe etc. to give the car more feel than the S3?

    The S3 always takes a review hit on the price as it's marginally more expensive and then gets less stars for 'costs', but if there really is a difference in drive, maybe the Audi is being engineered to be a touch softer in it's factory handling as it can't step on the forthcoming RS????
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    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
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  10. #9
    When I first started looking for a replacement for my 8P my first 'like' was the Golf 7. Having seen it together with new A3 at the Autostadt in Wolfburg I actually preferred the Golf. Over the time and various test drives I must admit, having had eight A3s I was quite reluctant not to have another one. I would miss this forum for a start!! I had test drives in both a Golf 2.0TDI-150 and the same engine in an A3 and found that in both is seem a bit lacking when compared with my then existing 2.0TDI-170. So I had a test drive in an A3 2.0TDI-184 S-Line s-tronic quattro and apart from the sport suspension, I liked it very much and decided the 184 was the one to go for.

    With Audi I could choose standard suspension and an ordinary sport model with the other options I wanted. With the Golf, to get the 184, it would have to be the GTD version, with no choice of suspension and various other standard items that I did not want or like. So I was back to the A3 and I must say I'm delighted with my choice. Having never driven a car with quattro it is just amazing. Even the term quattro is much more exciting than VW's 4-motion
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    With the exception of the 1.2 TFSI and the 1.6 TDI, the suspension setup is different between the A3 and the Golf isn't it?
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    There is an A3/S3 Saloon (sedan) and Golf has a wagon.
    On order S3 Sedan - S-Tronic, Sepang Blue, S Performance Pack, Driver Assist Pack, Folding mirrors, Privacy glass and Tinted windows.

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    The equivalent Golf is far lighter than the A3
    2014 184 Ps Quattro S Tronic

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegnomeat View Post
    The equivalent Golf is far lighter than the A3
    Golf R unladen weight according to brochure is 1476kg (Manual) / 1495kg (S-Tronic)
    S3 unladen weight according to brochure is 1395kg (Manual) / 1415kg (S-Tronic)

    So in the models we're talking about the S3 is nearly 100kg's lighter if the brochures are to believed (sources: latest PDF brochures on VW and Audi sites)

    Based on the weight difference alone you'd expect the S3 to drive better.

    In Autocar the Golf has just deemed to be best in class other than the Megane 265: Volkswagen Golf R review - verdict | Autocar

    I want to be able to believe what I read in magazines, but to me there is something a bit 'interesting' about the numbers and then the results.
    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegnomeat View Post
    The equivalent Golf is far lighter than the A3
    That's just wrong.

    My A3 Sport COD S-tronic is 10kg lighter than the equivalent Golf with the same engine engine and gearbox.

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    So is it fair to ask the $64k question?

    Do we think on the back of possibly lower sales uptake in Europe and mixed repsonse from the public VW are doing a massive charm offensive in the journo's to balance out sales for VW vs. Audi???????

    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
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    I just think VW's are the working man's 'premiun car' and its easier for journo's to big them up without backlash than the 'executives' Audi. Ford benefits in the same way...
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    Quote Originally Posted by warren_S3 View Post
    So is it fair to ask the $64k question?

    Do we think on the back of possibly lower sales uptake in Europe and mixed repsonse from the public VW are doing a massive charm offensive in the journo's to balance out sales for VW vs. Audi???????

    Very interesting observation, and maybe its not just me seing more new Audi's on the road than VW's, BMW's or Merc's....quite simply Audi's turn heads more than VW's and this is now being converted into better sales figures for Audi and to maintian the brand "quality" image of Audi over VW's VAG need to get more people to buy VW's.
    A3 Sportback 2.0TDI S-line, - Daytona Grey, comfort pack, interior light pack , aluminium roof rails, Audi speakers, folding door mirrors, hill hold, sport suspension, no smoking pack.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Daveotto View Post
    Very interesting observation, and maybe its not just me seing more new Audi's on the road than VW's, BMW's or Merc's....quite simply Audi's turn heads more than VW's and this is now being converted into better sales figures for Audi and to maintian the brand "quality" image of Audi over VW's VAG need to get more people to buy VW's.
    With the current ability using a PCP for anyone who can raise a few hundred pounds to buy a new Audi it means, if they are prepared to pay a little extra a month, they can 'own' an Audi rather than a VW.
    Dave R (h5djr)
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

  20. #19
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    The reason I wonder is VW has massive pull, and it's the kind of in house stunt they may pull as part of a business management strategy. It wouldn't be the first time they've meddled within the group, for instance when the Mk1 Leon Cupra R225 starting stepping on the toes of the Golf GTi they cut the use of outdated Audi parts bin and consigned it to being a pseudo MPV. Ironically ever since they've been threatening to sell it off as it's under-performed. There is a tremendous amount of political powerplay in the VAG hierachy and NOTHING would surprise me at all. They'd cut off their own necks to spite their faces sometimes.
    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
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  21. #20
    I wonder what sales of the Golf v A3 are like in Germany. That can obviously have a big influence on VAG decisions.
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    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    I've just been doing some digging to see if I could find out unit sales per model, but I can't get that level of granularity in the data. I did find this, but it's at a brand level (I tend to forget about the commercial vehicles and Ducati):

    • Volkswagen group - sales in 2013, by brand | Statistic

    I bet someone influential in VW has been involved in the Mk7 Golf R project and as a result they're having to push it like crazy so they don't look like they've underachieved - bonuses are important you know!
    h5djr likes this.
    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
    Mods: Revo Stg2, Blueflame TBE, Eibach Pro springs, R8 oil cap

    On order: Audi S5 3.0V6T Coupe Black Edition, Phantom Black [Due 26 May 2014]

    Planned Mods: Revo Stg1+ with DSG map, Revo CAI, custom exhaust, H&R Trax spacers, EM Tuning LED interior lights, R8 oil cap, Porsche coolant & brake fluid cap

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    I can't see the Golf R getting anywhere near the sales of the S3 though, its just, strangely, a more niche model than the S3, and it has the Gti to compete with within brand, which cost conscious but speed happy punters will settle for, whereas the S3 doesn't...
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    Probably the existence of the RS range which makes the S range look 'less niche' as it were in some peoples' minds
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    Yeah I'd go with that
    S3 Saloon S-Tronic. Panther Black. Tech Pack, Super-sports seats, LED Lights, Comfort pack with Adaptive Cruise and parking plus, Folding mirrors, Bang and Olufsen Sound System, Interior Light Pack, Hill Hold Assist, Privacy glass, Tyre sensor, Boot Mat

    Previously 2.0TSi VW Scirocco

  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by warren_S3 View Post
    I've just been doing some digging to see if I could find out unit sales per model, but I can't get that level of granularity in the data. I did find this, but it's at a brand level (I tend to forget about the commercial vehicles and Ducati):

    • Volkswagen group - sales in 2013, by brand | Statistic

    I bet someone influential in VW has been involved in the Mk7 Golf R project and as a result they're having to push it like crazy so they don't look like they've underachieved - bonuses are important you know!
    Yes I just been reading the latest Volkswagen Annual Report and whilst they quote the total production of Passenger Cars they don't, unlike the Audi Annual report, brake it down by model. It does say the 807,000 cars were built at Wolfsburg which is the German plant that builds all the Golfs for Europe but it also builds the Touran and the Tiguan as well.
    warren_S3 likes this.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    When I first started looking for a replacement for my 8P my first 'like' was the Golf 7. Having seen it together with new A3 at the Autostadt in Wolfburg I actually preferred the Golf. Over the time and various test drives I must admit, having had eight A3s I was quite reluctant not to have another one. I would miss this forum for a start!! I had test drives in both a Golf 2.0TDI-150 and the same engine in an A3 and found that in both is seem a bit lacking when compared with my then existing 2.0TDI-170. So I had a test drive in an A3 2.0TDI-184 S-Line s-tronic quattro and apart from the sport suspension, I liked it very much and decided the 184 was the one to go for.


    With Audi I could choose standard suspension and an ordinary sport model with the other options I wanted. With the Golf, to get the 184, it would have to be the GTD version, with no choice of suspension and various other standard items that I did not want or like. So I was back to the A3 and I must say I'm delighted with my choice. Having never driven a car with quattro it is just amazing. Even the term quattro is much more exciting than VW's 4-motion
    I find it quite bizarre that a self proclaimed Audi 'buff' can admit to owning EIGHT A3's yet admit publicly to 'never having driven a car with quattro'...Glad you are enjoying it Dave, there are many other 'amazing' things in the Audi range it may be worth trying.

    On the numbers front VW DO apparently include car based vans in their numbers.
    SOLD 0201204 8P March 2011 Black Edition 2.0Tdi170 Sportback quattro..lots of bits... Others in the Garage......
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  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    I find it quite bizarre that a self proclaimed Audi 'buff' can admit to owning EIGHT A3's yet admit publicly to 'never having driven a car with quattro'...Glad you are enjoying it Dave, there are many other 'amazing' things in the Audi range it may be worth trying.
    To be honest I have no real interest in driving anything in the Audi range other than an A3. I would regard my current A3 as my ultimate car and cannot see me ever wanting anything other than more of the same.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    To those who think the A3 is just a Golf with a premium badge...

    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    To be honest I have no real interest in driving anything in the Audi range other than an A3. I would regard my current A3 as my ultimate car and cannot see me ever wanting anything other than more of the same.
    I just find it strange that you have had Eight A3's yet had never driven a quattro. Now you have one you think it's wonderful. My point is being conservative with Audi ownership means you miss out on the VDT experience which is a great shame IMHO . That includes A/S 3 options.
    SOLD 0201204 8P March 2011 Black Edition 2.0Tdi170 Sportback quattro..lots of bits... Others in the Garage......
    Arrived 1 March 2014 ..Phantom 2014 8V S3 Sportback. lots of bits, Pano roof, Tech Pack.TPMS, WOW ;-)

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by PilotAudi View Post
    I just find it strange that you have had Eight A3's yet had never driven a quattro. Now you have one you think it's wonderful. My point is being conservative with Audi ownership means you miss out on the VDT experience which is a great shame IMHO . That includes A/S 3 options.
    The new 8V range is the first time Audi have offered an A3 quattro in a combination that I wanted to buy. This time if fact I had no option. I wanted a 2.0TDI-184 and of course I wanted s-tronic and the only model that is available is the one I've got.

    I had four other model Audi before Audi made an A3 but I have never wanted any other model. I happy with the cost of the A3 but would not want to pay out more.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    A3 8V 2.0 TDI-184 Sportback Sport s-tronic quattro - Silver + lots of options - my 9th A3

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    The A3 8P quattro S tronic ???
    SOLD 0201204 8P March 2011 Black Edition 2.0Tdi170 Sportback quattro..lots of bits... Others in the Garage......
    Arrived 1 March 2014 ..Phantom 2014 8V S3 Sportback. lots of bits, Pano roof, Tech Pack.TPMS, WOW ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by warren_S3 View Post
    I find it intriguing that in 90% of the reviews I've read online (from what I can interpret), the Golf is clearly deemed to be the better car for 'driving emotion'. Given that 95% of the kit is the same what are VW doing differently in the set up of camber / toe etc. to give the car more feel than the S3?

    The S3 always takes a review hit on the price as it's marginally more expensive and then gets less stars for 'costs', but if there really is a difference in drive, maybe the Audi is being engineered to be a touch softer in it's factory handling as it can't step on the forthcoming RS????
    I always wonder if it's due to expectations: people expect the golf to be a better drivers car, so when presented with two similar cars they notice the drivers car features more in the golf.
    warren_S3 likes this.
    A3 2.0TFSI S-Line quattro, Dolphin Grey; S3 S-Tronic Estoril Blue on order

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    I had a mk5 GTI and am now in an 8P S3 Sportback. In almost every single individual measure (power, grip, looks, quality of materials etc) the S3 wins hands down over the GTI. However, it is dull vs the GTI. It had a spark about it which is very hard to define. Presume something of the same is happening now. Its maybe something to do with refinement, Audi has made their cars a little too refined to be fun maybe?
    steeve likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    With the current ability using a PCP for anyone who can raise a few hundred pounds to buy a new Audi it means, if they are prepared to pay a little extra a month, they can 'own' an Audi rather than a VW.
    I actually got a quote on a golf r pretty much fully loaded then an audi loaded to the same spec and the audi was £5 a month cheaper!

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee551247 View Post
    I actually got a quote on a golf r pretty much fully loaded then an audi loaded to the same spec and the audi was £5 a month cheaper!
    My wife owned several VW Polos but she wanted to purchase another car and decided to use a PCP. An Audi A1 worked out cheaper than the Polo and the reason, according to my dealer, was the great residual value of the A1.
    Perhaps it's the same between the Golf R and a similar speced A3/S3.
    Dave R (h5djr)
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    Quote Originally Posted by h5djr View Post
    My wife owned several VW Polos but she wanted to purchase another car and decided to use a PCP. An Audi A1 worked out cheaper than the Polo and the reason, according to my dealer, was the great residual value of the A1.
    Perhaps it's the same between the Golf R and a similar speced A3/S3.
    Yeah it is, the Audi is worth £2,500 more at the end of the agreement than the golf!

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    Anyone know what colour S3 is in this thread? Is it Sepang Blue?

  38. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee551247 View Post
    Anyone know what colour S3 is in this thread? Is it Sepang Blue?
    Looks a little like Sepang, yes, but could well be racing mica blue. Hard to tell under the artificial light

    This is Sepang:MG_0164-F - debadge small.jpg
    Enjoying my 8V

  39. #38
    warren_S3's Avatar
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    Just to put the cat amongst the pigeons:

    VW confirms 395bhp Golf R 400 for Beijing motor show | Autocar
    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
    Mods: Revo Stg2, Blueflame TBE, Eibach Pro springs, R8 oil cap

    On order: Audi S5 3.0V6T Coupe Black Edition, Phantom Black [Due 26 May 2014]

    Planned Mods: Revo Stg1+ with DSG map, Revo CAI, custom exhaust, H&R Trax spacers, EM Tuning LED interior lights, R8 oil cap, Porsche coolant & brake fluid cap

  40. #39
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    Just read that, still using the 4 cylinder... 4 pot rs3?

  41. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by rams_s3 View Post
    Just read that, still using the 4 cylinder... 4 pot rs3?
    Possibly...
    Audi S3 Panther Black [2011] Build Thread
    Mods: Revo Stg2, Blueflame TBE, Eibach Pro springs, R8 oil cap

    On order: Audi S5 3.0V6T Coupe Black Edition, Phantom Black [Due 26 May 2014]

    Planned Mods: Revo Stg1+ with DSG map, Revo CAI, custom exhaust, H&R Trax spacers, EM Tuning LED interior lights, R8 oil cap, Porsche coolant & brake fluid cap

 

 

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