RS3 (PFL) vs M3 Competition Pack

D0C

Registered User
So I've just had a good drive in an M3 Competition Pack. Here are my thoughts on it versus my PFL RS3.

Looks
Looks are always subjective but I think the M3/M4 look great, butch and purposeful, modern and fresh and just more aggressive looking than the RS3. For some, the wolf in sheep's clothing look of the RS3 is perfect. I reckon the M3 strikes a good balance, although I do prefer the RS3's exhausts!
RS3 - 7/10
M3 - 8/10


Interior
The RS3 has a great interior, however, it is starting to show its age next to some of the newer cars around. That said, it's still the best hot hatch interior out there with the supersports seats a real highlight. The M3 interior felt and looked fresher even though it's been around for a few years itself. It's roomier and felt a bigger car, which of course it is, and with a more modern feel.
RS3 - 7/10
M3 - 8/10


Handling/Usability

It's a dry day today which meant traction in the M3 was going to be as good as it ever gets in the UK. Even so, the traction control was still kicking in at 50mph in 3rd gear. It would definitely be a 'challenging' car to drive quickly. The front end felt superb, far more pointy, direct and planted than the RS3. Getting back in the RS3, it felt nimble and usable, partly due to it being that bit smaller and of course, the unbreakable traction advantages of 4WD. Crucially, it felt just as fun. I dare say that on a track the M3/4 would be more fun, but for day to day hooning around, the RS3 is a much better fit. One final point, the M3 felt a softer riding car, one that could be better for long distance driving.
RS3 - 8/10
M3 - 7/10


Engine/Performance

This was one area I was genuinely interested to compare. The M3 has a really zingy, lively engine which I wasn't expecting from a twin-turbocharged V6. There's some sound fakery going on through the speakers, but it sounded good. At idle and revving the engine it sounded superb. All in all, a great engine. It's always difficult to say for sure, but it felt like it would just have the legs on the RS3, but not by much. I would imagine a remapped RS3 would make for an interesting race. For my money, the RS3 engine edges it, though. It just sounds that bit more rich and authentic with a great pickup.
RS3 - 9/10
M3 - 8/10


Gearbox
A win here for the RS3. The M3's 7-speed DCT is good, but not as fast as the RS3's S-Tronic, especially so on downshifts. There's probably milliseconds in it, but it really does make a difference. It's definitely an area where BMW and Mercedes could improve on. That said, for slow town driving, the M3's gearbox seemed a bit smoother than mine, which can be a bit clunky.
RS3 - 8/10
M3 - 7/10


Value
To my eyes the M3/4 looks and feels a more expensive car...even the rear discs were larger than my fronts! It starts at around £65k, however, there's big discounts around and you can pick up a decently specced delivery mileage car for c.£52k. That represents seriously good value for what is undoubtedly the next rung up in the performance car ladder (discounting 0-60mph drag races and traction issues with RWD). A bare bones specced RS3 comes in at c.£50k so the price points are very similar, making the RS3 seem uncomfortably expensive. I personally think that Audi take the p*ss with options and deliberately make the standard spec very unappealing, something I'd like to see them rectify. Residuals are an interesting one and something I'm not too sure on. My gut feeling is that you'll lose more on an M3/4...this obviously makes the RS3 then seem not as expensive. Time will tell...
RS3 - 6/10
M3 - 8/10


TOTAL SCORES
RS3 - 45/60
M3 - 46/60


Summary
I genuinely didn't know how those scores would add up until the end. Interestingly, despite the M3 just edging it on paper, I'd still have the RS3. The reason being is that everyone has different priorities or needs from a car. My priorities are for a great engine and day-to-day usability, areas where the RS3 is a clear winner. If you do long journeys interspersed with track days, then the M3 would probably be a better fit etc etc. The final scores also prove what emotional purchases cars are. Something that on paper seems better, really might not be. A bit like some of my ex-girlfriends...pains in the *** most of the time and not good for you, but you still can't help going back for more ;)
Either way, they are both great cars.

Next up is an extended drive in a FL RS3...
 

PanamaS3

Registered User
good write up Doc....will be seeing more xDrive in M cars for sure in future I think
 

terminator x

Registered User
In the early days I had a M3 or 4 pull up behind me in "silent mode" only for it to get suddenly loud when he spotted what I was driving! Guess they have sports mode too that ramps everything up?

TX.

Sent from my STV100-4 using Tapatalk
 

D0C

Registered User
In the early days I had a M3 or 4 pull up behind me in "silent mode" only for it to get suddenly loud when he spotted what I was driving! Guess they have sports mode too that ramps everything up?

TX.

Sent from my STV100-4 using Tapatalk
They do indeed...sport plus. Sounded good, pops and crackles etc.
 

hood

Registered User
M3/M4 great in the Summer and a total handful in the Winter.
Much higher profile car if thats what you're after.
 

Bristle Hound

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
So I've just had a good drive in an M3 Competition Pack. Here are my thoughts on it versus my PFL RS3.

Looks
Looks are always subjective but I think the M3/M4 look great, butch and purposeful, modern and fresh and just more aggressive looking than the RS3. For some, the wolf in sheep's clothing look of the RS3 is perfect. I reckon the M3 strikes a good balance, although I do prefer the RS3's exhausts!
RS3 - 7/10
M3 - 8/10


Interior
The RS3 has a great interior, however, it is starting to show its age next to some of the newer cars around. That said, it's still the best hot hatch interior out there with the supersports seats a real highlight. The M3 interior felt and looked fresher even though it's been around for a few years itself. It's roomier and felt a bigger car, which of course it is, and with a more modern feel.
RS3 - 7/10
M3 - 8/10


Handling/Usability

It's a dry day today which meant traction in the M3 was going to be as good as it ever gets in the UK. Even so, the traction control was still kicking in at 50mph in 3rd gear. It would definitely be a 'challenging' car to drive quickly. The front end felt superb, far more pointy, direct and planted than the RS3. Getting back in the RS3, it felt nimble and usable, partly due to it being that bit smaller and of course, the unbreakable traction advantages of 4WD. Crucially, it felt just as fun. I dare say that on a track the M3/4 would be more fun, but for day to day hooning around, the RS3 is a much better fit. One final point, the M3 felt a softer riding car, one that could be better for long distance driving.
RS3 - 8/10
M3 - 7/10


Engine/Performance

This was one area I was genuinely interested to compare. The M3 has a really zingy, lively engine which I wasn't expecting from a twin-turbocharged V6. There's some sound fakery going on through the speakers, but it sounded good. At idle and revving the engine it sounded superb. All in all, a great engine. It's always difficult to say for sure, but it felt like it would just have the legs on the RS3, but not by much. I would imagine a remapped RS3 would make for an interesting race. For my money, the RS3 engine edges it, though. It just sounds that bit more rich and authentic with a great pickup.
RS3 - 9/10
M3 - 8/10


Gearbox
A win here for the RS3. The M3's 7-speed DCT is good, but not as fast as the RS3's S-Tronic, especially so on downshifts. There's probably milliseconds in it, but it really does make a difference. It's definitely an area where BMW and Mercedes could improve on. That said, for slow town driving, the M3's gearbox seemed a bit smoother than mine, which can be a bit clunky.
RS3 - 8/10
M3 - 7/10


Value
To my eyes the M3/4 looks and feels a more expensive car...even the rear discs were larger than my fronts! It starts at around £65k, however, there's big discounts around and you can pick up a decently specced delivery mileage car for c.£52k. That represents seriously good value for what is undoubtedly the next rung up in the performance car ladder (discounting 0-60mph drag races and traction issues with RWD). A bare bones specced RS3 comes in at c.£50k so the price points are very similar, making the RS3 seem uncomfortably expensive. I personally think that Audi take the p*ss with options and deliberately make the standard spec very unappealing, something I'd like to see them rectify. Residuals are an interesting one and something I'm not too sure on. My gut feeling is that you'll lose more on an M3/4...this obviously makes the RS3 then seem not as expensive. Time will tell...
RS3 - 6/10
M3 - 8/10


TOTAL SCORES
RS3 - 45/60
M3 - 46/60


Summary
I genuinely didn't know how those scores would add up until the end. Interestingly, despite the M3 just edging it on paper, I'd still have the RS3. The reason being is that everyone has different priorities or needs from a car. My priorities are for a great engine and day-to-day usability, areas where the RS3 is a clear winner. If you do long journeys interspersed with track days, then the M3 would probably be a better fit etc etc. The final scores also prove what emotional purchases cars are. Something that on paper seems better, really might not be. A bit like some of my ex-girlfriends...pains in the *** most of the time and not good for you, but you still can't help going back for more ;)
Either way, they are both great cars.

Next up is an extended drive in a FL RS3...
@D0C - Great write up & interesting thoughts
Pic's would have been nice ;) :D
 
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Evotion

The Greed For Speed
Yeah, sounds pretty much like my experience when test drove the M4 Cab.
The main thing I didn't like was the way it drifted all over the width of the road under hard acceleration requiring both hands strangling the wheel.
I would be fearful in the wet.

I love the looks of the M3 - prefer it to the M4 even. I'd love one in principle except for 2 reasons:

Rs3 is 10K cheaper

For the same price I would get the Alfa QF - Drove that - loved it. @D0C get a ride in it.
 

Ed_rx7

Registered User
I consider the Alfa q.v.

But two things put me off
1. Only two seats in the back
2. It’s an Alfa.... and regardless it’s will be worth **** all in 3 years time
 
Last edited by a moderator:

D0C

Registered User
Yeah, sounds pretty much like my experience when test drove the M4 Cab.
The main thing I didn't like was the way it drifted all over the width of the road under hard acceleration requiring both hands strangling the wheel.
I would be fearful in the wet.

I love the looks of the M3 - prefer it to the M4 even. I'd love one in principle except for 2 reasons:

Rs3 is 10K cheaper

For the same price I would get the Alfa QF - Drove that - loved it. @D0C get a ride in it.
That's the problem, in reality the RS3 isn't £10k cheaper.

Alfa QF is an interesting one...
 

Evotion

The Greed For Speed
That's the problem, in reality the RS3 isn't £10k cheaper.

Alfa QF is an interesting one...
Is about right as the BMW has a plethora of 'options' that one HAS to get for meaningful resale value.

If was less about speed them I did like the Maserati Ghibli that I also test drove. It was the little touches and the sound but likely poorer residuals.
 

Alex L

Registered User
I'm a big fan of the M3 and don't understand all the comments I've read online that they're a handful to drive. The big thing for me is that BMW haven't updated their interiors for years, hence I didn't order another BMW company car and moved over to Mercedes.

BMW UK kindly let me borrow both an i8 and M4 on long term loan this year and for me the latter was much more enjoyable to drive. I also was invited to an M driving day at Soho Farmhouse to drive the entire range, including the M760li and at the end of the day I placed a speculative order for an M2 CS/CSL/GTS to replace my Exige. I'm hopeful that the M2 will be available to order in the new year and will be the two seater, lightweight car with 405bhp that the press have been anticipating.

Yas Marina blue was also one of the reasons I specced the RS3 in Riviera Blue

Untitled by Alex L, on Flickr

P1010663 by Alex L, on Flickr
 

MartS300

Registered User
My old man has a new m3 which I've got to dive quite a bit ... I also think it's a handfull although very controllable I'd even go to say that it's more of a handfull than his old c63?
 

terminator x

Registered User
I'm a big fan of the M3 and don't understand all the comments I've read online that they're a handful to drive.

:sos:

Hedoag.gif


TX.
 

hood

Registered User
Currently in a FL S3 at the moment and taking off in the wet from busy roundabout today you just put the foot down and you're away.
I was thinking if I had done likewise in my old M3 I'd either be sideways or still sitting wheelspinning in the same spot.
Only one winner in our climate for me.If they do an Xdrive version like the new M5 then will reconsider.
 

Alex L

Registered User
Clearly the 4 wheel drive will have better traction off roundabouts but I tend to drive to the conditions. We've owned a C63 for over 4 years and driven in all weathers and my preference would always be rear wheel drive over 4.

I've seen the video that the gif is taken from, no idea how he managed that, other than lack of talent.
 

D0C

Registered User
Clearly the 4 wheel drive will have better traction off roundabouts but I tend to drive to the conditions. We've owned a C63 for over 4 years and driven in all weathers and my preference would always be rear wheel drive over 4.

I've seen the video that the gif is taken from, no idea how he managed that, other than lack of talent.
Interesting you mention the M2. I've been offered a pre reg facelift M2 with all the trimmings (there aren't many options to be fair) which is almost a direct swap for mine + £1500. I thought that was a great deal. My car is a well specced 16 plate PFL RS3. Got me tempted again. I think they are the best looking car in that price bracket and get great reviews. I'd like to hear your thoughts...
 

terminator x

Registered User
M2 is ugly as hell @D0C have you been to Specsavers recently?

TX.

Sent from my STV100-4 using Tapatalk
 

Alex L

Registered User
Interesting you mention the M2. I've been offered a pre reg facelift M2 with all the trimmings (there aren't many options to be fair) which is almost a direct swap for mine + £1500. I thought that was a great deal. My car is a well specced 16 plate PFL RS3. Got me tempted again. I think they are the best looking car in that price bracket and get great reviews. I'd like to hear your thoughts...

They’re a great car to drive, well balanced and more like the M3 of old. I wish there were more colour choices, from the current palette I’d choose Long Beach Blue but hoping that the limited run CS/CSL I’ll be able to spec in individual paint.

Go and drive one and see what you think, point to point the RS3 is probably quicker as the 4 wheel drive inspires more confidence but in terms of fun I’d choose the M2.
 

Rocketer

Registered User
Press people always think its fun driving rdw cars with spinning wheels but in rl it doesn`t work as good as a quattro. If goal is doing a lot of trackdays than BMW is better choice but for a daily driver not.
 

Ed_rx7

Registered User
Being the owner of a light 750 hp, light, rwd car I can confirm... red cars can indeed be a handful......... keeps you on your toes though...... lol .... 315 profile r888’s help too:yes:
 
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