I merged these two post's as we were getting a lot of the same comments on both threads & ended up with two 'super' threads 'discussing' the merits or otherwise of the Golf R's & S3's So in reading this mammoth thread, from start to finish, you may find some of the post out of sync. That can't be helped I'm afraid Better to have one huge thread about this topic than two big threads IMHO Hope it all makes a bit more sense now This post by SilureMark was the start of the Golf R v S3 one as I remember (I've edited it slightly to fit. The full post can be found on the below link. Post #160) http://www.audi-sport.net/xf/threads/s3-or-golf-r-or-even-an-s1.219948/page-4#post-2304881 'Ok, Long time lurker and first time I have posted for some thoughts from S3 owners. About me. I'm no boy racer and recently hit a milestone birthday. Looking for some fun after driving a diesel Audi for the last 5 years. Want something that I can take out for a drive just for the sake of it, go fast if I want, or potter about. ( I test drove the Cupra 280. Brilliant fun, great drive and probably a smidgen better than the R and S3 in the enjoyment, fun, throw it about stakes. But residuals kill it as a serious challenger. I would be throwing my money away on a PCP). First of all the S1. Yes, I have heard the whole it's a girls car jibes etc. but seriously, it really appeals to me that it is a small car, with luxury interior materials, 4 wheel drive and 231bhp. It should be pretty epic fun to chuck around, but also not that bad a cruiser when needed. Perhaps a little small in terms of interior space, but 90% of the time it's me in there. I'd go with a 3dr. I have yet to test drive one but hoping that will be this week or early next. It is an itch I think I need to scratch with at least a test drive to see just what it is all about. Next, the Golf R. I had a 20 minute test drive. Impressed with the speed, gearbox (DSG) and interior. Not happy that it is not leather as standard. Apart from that I thought it really was a stealthy, rapid car to drive. I liked it a lot more than I was expecting. I would want leather and in Lapitz blue? Finally the S3 and again a 20 minute test drive. I loved the interior quality, the build quality and the drive. Nice gearbox (Stronic), good handling and a really nice performance package. I would have it in Sepang Blue, with interior light pack and Audi audio. I don't think I need any more toys. I would say that the R and the S3 are neck in neck in almost all regards, even the finance quotes are within a few pounds. I would probably put the s-line alloys on it to make it even more stealthy. I don't really want to draw attention to the car from the wrong elements. So I am looking for owners points of view on things like actually living with the S3 and any issues they have found. So anything I need to be aware of? And has anyone got a three door in Sepang they could post photos of? A milestone birthday he he - it's only a number, I'm fitter now at 42 than I was at 21. I guess you know that you can't get the S1 with S-tronic, that would be my first question of myself, DSG/S-tronic or manual. If it's an automated box you're after then it's either S3/R. I didn't like the R-interior, wanted leather and prefered the exterior styling of the S3. Finance was almost the same, so it was the Audi for me. If you're not fussed about S-tronic, then I'd spec up an S1, and see what difference there is between that and your relatively low spec S3 (I've not gone daft on options either). All the press reports have S1's creeping up to a price that starts with a 3 I'm still waiting on my Sepang S3 (Sportback though) so I'm afraid can't help you with an owners view .. I do see the appeal in an S1 though, my Mini JCW was an absolute hoot I think almost everyone will recommend the S3 over the Golf R - on this Forum. S tronic and DSG are the same, S1 is manual only and IMO not even in the same league as the S3 and Golf R. The S1, nice as it is, I would see as an alternative to a top end mini or such like. In other words, it really is a little girls car. I sat in one at Essex Audi the other day and it did have that 'girlie' feel about it. Nah, not for me. I drove the Golf R and obviously chose the Audi. Way better interior, infinitely better service from the dealer and well, IMO, it looks better too. The tech on the Golf is a bit cheap and cheerful when compared to the Audi MMI. Don't get me wrong, the Golf R is a good car - a mate of mine has just taken delivery of one and we've already had the discussion... he has admitted, nice as his car is, now he's been in my S3, he's slightly jealous. Oh and the sh1t service he's already had from VW is not a good sign - I did warn him! The S3 will hold its value better than the Golf too. I guess if leather and toys don't appeal, the Golf is a cheaper purchase option... I agree that the S1 is a bit cutesy and dinky,but it could make a really good little car. If I could easily transplant my engine into that car.....LOL I looked at the S1, just out of interest. I could not believe the cost to spec one up like a standard S3, almost the same price. It's super expensive for essentially a Golf GTI engine in a Polo body shell with rear wheels driven. Golf GTI is the same price and arguably has better spec. The S1's I have seen pictures of without the quattro pack also look a bit boring. Also having owned a A1, I would be concerned with its high speed stability which due to its short wheelbase in my experience is not great - regardless if it has the rear axle from the TTS or not. I did price up an S1 when I ordered my S3 in January and essentially to get it to the same spec it was £15 a month cheaper on PCP. So for £15 more a month I get a better interior, more space, more power and s-tronic. Not the most difficult choice in the world.... Looked at R too and the finance was roughly the same. I actually couldn't stand the interior of the R and thought the engine sounds much more fake. I think the S3 sound does sound a bit more authentic. I'll probably be shot down in flames here, but the S3 IMO isn't the fun car you are looking for. Fast, well built, good looking, yes. Fun, no. Character, no. Do I want to get in and drive it, no. Out of the 3 I think the S1 sounds like the most fun, although I haven't driven it or the R. The set up just sounds like it will be fun. Other cars to possibly consider, none of which are my cup of tea, but supposed to be a huge amount of fun and brilliant to drive - Toyota GT86, Fiesta ST, m135. I will be shot down My A3 Quattro Black Edition tdi 170 was 2 years old last month so got it serviced & took out the S3 sportback demo (s-tronic), wasn't impressed so had a go in a manual Golf R with 19's, very impressed so ordered one for Sep delivery. I prefer cloth seats & 19" alloys laughable S1 only comes in a manual S3 only comes in DSG here in lies your answer do you want manual or DSG . Also a totally different price range. S3 is manual or S-tronic!!! I echo the comments, S1 is a great looking car and after owning the 8L S3 and the 8P S3 I actually looked at the S1, just felt for me was too small and no S-Tronic which is what I wanted this time. So I ordered a 8V S3, not driven a S1 only a A1 (missus car) they drive and feel great but depending on body size you can feel slightly cramped lol. The S3 S-Tronic is worth the purchase just for the noise of the gear changes alone, besides they are stupidly quick for the price and kit levels they offer. I drove the S1 at the weekend. Not for me. Too cramped, road noise would drive me mad on long trips and it didn't feel as fast as I thought it would be. Seriously considering the S3 now after a longer test drive in one. I saw an S1 at my local dealership the other day. It does look very nice from the exterior, but without the s-tronic it's not going to draw me anywhere near. Also, I feel much more secure in an S3 with bigger space and less of a crumple zone with the high speeds that you'll undoubtedly be doing. The Golf R IMO is just inferior to the S3. Yes it's the best Golf you're going to get; but Audi use better materials and the ergonomics are much better. I drive Golf's every day as they're the pool cars at work, I can honestly say that it's not as nice as my Audi. Even the pool car company believes so as they rate the A3 pool car as "Luxury" and a Golf as "Standard". Then there's just the arrogance of driving an Audi Interesting topic the R. There are A LOT of people it seems that are ordering it because of super cheap lease deals. Im talking £230 inc VAT for 5 door manual. S3 doesn't even come under £400 on a lease lol'