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S3 vs RS3 thoughts

Han4mi Jul 27, 2019

  1. Han4mi

    Han4mi Member

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    I had an opportunity to drive a new RS3 today and have some thoughts regarding comparing it to my 2018 S3 (I have my car for 9 months). This is going to be totally subjective and the RS owners are probably going to strongly disagree but here we go :)

    1. The RS3 suspension and steering feel is quite a bit stiffer than the S3, but I don't see that much of a difference in terms of "feel", the cars are quite similar in handling.

    2. While the engine and exhaust sound is obviously lovely in the RS3 and better than the S3 I was thinking that there would be a greater difference in acceleration and gear changes. The gearbox seems the same although you can feel it has some more aggressive tuning. One thing that I really liked was that you could hold the left shift paddle and the car would pick the gear with the highest possible power and torque for optimal acceleration. Don't have this in the S3 and it's a bummer!

    3. The car I drove had the sport seats with manual control which was meh, they don't provide more grip than standard, I would go for electric all the way. The interior is pretty much the same and while I like the alcantara steering wheel it already looked banged up and dirty (car has done only 3k miles). Perforated leather is much better for durability.

    All in all if I had the extra cash I would still go for the S3 as it's the best bang for buck small, comfy, good quality sports car with strong versatility. I can't justify the extra cash for a little more power and better engine sound. I was hoping to upgrade to an rs3 in the future but it simply didn't feel special enough for me...
     
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  3. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    I owned a RS3 and the wife a S3, couldn't disagree more with you!

    TX.

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  4. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Active Member

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    S3 vs RS3 thoughts,

    Well my good-man you are not the only person that has some of the same thoughts regrading the two Audi's.
    There is a video where a guy in Ohio, USA, got the 1st RS3 and compared it to his traded in S-3.
    You might find his experience of interest.

    2017 Audi RS3 Consumer Review and Why I Sold it after One Week...




    Terry
     
  5. Bells

    Bells Well-Known Member Team Ara Blue Team Daytona Team V6 Audi S3 Audi S5

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    There’s no doubt the RS3 is a great car but I agree besides the engine and exhaust note it isn’t much more special than a S3, especially when you consider the huge price increase.

    When I looked at changing my S3 I ended up with an S5. I did look at RS3’s and test drove a few but would have to have spent about £15-20k extra to get a 67 reg FL with the same tech as my S3. In the end I settled for a S5 which was far cheaper and newer than a RS, and is far more comfortable in terms of being a cruiser plus it sounds better than my old S3 did with it being a V6.

    I’d say the S3 is a very difficult car to replace though and is the sweet spot in the range, I did struggle as a few others have mentioned on here
     
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  6. msdmjb

    msdmjb Well-Known Member

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    Come on, neither the S3 nor RS3 are great cars!
    The RS3 does have arguably a great engine though.

    Both are very well engineered highly efficient ways to get from here to somewhere else, I think the 300bhp category at around 30-35k is amazing value for money and arguably the sweet spot of going very quickly without breaking the bank. I have pondered for a while what to replace my 5yr old S3 and am really struggling without getting into a significant price jump. Tbh I was a little underwhelmed by the RS3 as it has the same 'flaws' as my S3 (engine note aside), hate DSG (driving a DSG Golf GTi for the last few weeks has confirmed this however the Golf is a slightly sweeter handling machine), 0-60 (or 100) drag races i couldn't care less and if you really think you can take advantage of 400bhp over 300bhp on the queens highway you are playing poker with jail time. My preferred choice would be a manual Alpine but reading the French press suggests a manual is not coming but even that is £50k+. Where i live discounts on M* do not exist as that would be an obvious route.

    Manufacturers have put themselves in a position that the next round of S3/RS3 price hikes is likely to start stepping on the toes of arguably more premium focused 'sports' cars so for now my aging S3 is staying. Like others on here I think the slightly lighter, slightly less powerful breed of 3dr manual hot hatch is getting very tempting.........if i put my S3 through a hedge (whilst shouting nein) it is likely a Ford Fiesta ST would replace it.

    When it comes to choice the UK is awash with amazing deals on new and used motors, here in Europe there is nothing like the market place at home which means less premium vehicles in circulation with compunds the lack of deals.......

    Thanks goodness we are all different :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  7. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    I agree and disagree with S3 v RS3 debate.

    Pound for Pound the S3 (or any S car in the Audi range) is the sweetspot full stop.
    I had a TTS and S5 prior to my RS3.
    The RS3 IMO does deliver enough extra kit / power / excitement to warrant the extra cash though ... IMO

    I've had my RS3 the longest of any car I've owened in my life (currently at 3.5 years) and it STILL feels special.
    I've never had that with any of my previous cars and have always started looking for the next car as early as 12 months.

    The sound really makes it though as none of my S cars sounded anything remotely like the RS.
    The power is incredible too albeit I accept it is not massively quicker than an S3, but most RS3's when measured are hitting 62 mph quicker than Audi's quoted figures and are near to 4 seconds flat ... which is ****** quick !

    I love the styling tweaks too, which again are quite subtle but they are there and do give a purposeful look without looking brash.

    Just this morning ... I had a stranger in a car park outside the coffee shop say to me and I quote: "that is awesome, wow, that is incredible"
    I thanked him of course and did make me think wow getting comments 3.5 years on is pretty cool :icon thumright:

    As with the S3 though, it is a VERY hard car to replace :yes:
     
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  8. wab172uk

    wab172uk Well-Known Member

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    The way I see the S3 V RS3 debate is this.

    If buying brand new. Both cars sat in the showroom, and well spec'd, then if you can afford it, buy the RS3. A well spec'd S3 is getting close to RS3 money anyway. Given the RS3 comes with slightly more kit.

    Value for money, the S3 wins, as in day to day situations, it's just as quick as the RS3, looks pretty much the same, and is cheaper (if you don't go mad with the options). Same as the S4 V RS4. S5 V RS5.

    The RS3 is more likely to be targeted by thieves. But the S3 is quite prone anyway.

    You will get better mpg, cheaper parts & servicing, and cheaper insurance with the S3.

    The biggest stumbling block for me is upgrading to an RS3 from an S3. I thought about it, but with trade / private sale price of my S3, I would have to add the same amount again to buy the RS3. My thinking was is a new RS3 really worth twice what my S3 is worth now? Even with man maths I just couldn't get the numbers to add up.

    If it had been an all new RS3 on a new platform, then the numbers become better, as you are upgrading to an all new car. Not just an upgrade to essentially the same car, but a bit faster, and a few suspension tweaks.

    Next year, or the year after, we are going to have 3 great cars to chose from. The All new RS3. The all new Golf R (rumoured to have 400BHP) and the all new Focus RS. Not forgetting the now released Merc A45 S AMG. But each one of them is / will be £50k+, apart from the Focus. A lot of money. A hell of a lot of money. But given the performance and the practicality of these types of cars, then even at £50k, they are a bit of a bargain. But then again, the all new S3, A35 AMG are even more of a bargain, given they'll do 95% of what the faster car will do, 95% of the time.

    The new A45 S is (to my mind) not worth an extra £15,000 over the A35 AMG. I'd buy the A35, as I would probably buy the next S3 over the RS3.
     
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  9. jassyo06

    jassyo06 Voodoo Man ! S3 Saloon Audi S3 Black Edition Porsche Voodoo Blue

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    When l ordered my S3 the dealership wanted a mandatory £2k holding deposit because of the paint and options choices on my car,4 weeks later Audi released the Face lifted RS3....damn l thought..so l enquired to several dealerships Carlisle Audi came back to me with a good deal on a Ara blue sportback..panroof,magride,sports exhaust,b&o,SS seats,Privacy glass Matte aluminium package and a few other wee options...£469@ month plus my deposit £9k...thought and about it big time....main thing that put me off was that it was a Sportback in stock car and l really didn't want a Hatchback Again,in the end l made the correct choice...sticking with my S3 order, spec and colour was far more important to me...than more power.l see the RS3 as a status symbol as are all..RS/BMW M-performance cars....only seen a handful of Rs3 cars on the roads in the last 2 years definitely not as popular as the pre face car...was which back then was a bargain in comparison to what price Audi charge now for them.....definitely not worth the Money
     
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  10. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    Yeah the RS3 hatch is £6k more now than the base price I paid 3.5 years ago.
    I haven't looked at it closely but I am sure some of that gap is made up of extra kit that comes as standard now, so its not really £6k.
    I do disagree with an RS model being a status symbol though.
    Having had 2 x S cars, I had always wanted an RS and the RS3 was perfect for my needs and in my budget ... end of :icon thumright:
    Even at the current price of £46k I do still think that is decent value though considering what you get.
    An S3 hatch is £36k but you may need to add £3k of extras to level the spec so then £7k extra for the RS.
     
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  11. Flying Scotsman

    Flying Scotsman Well-Known Member Team Ara Blue Audi S3 saloon

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    I also seriously contemplated cancelling my order for a 2017 S3 and going with an RS3. There were two main reasons for sticking with the S3.....a lot of money for basically an engine upgrade, albeit a sweet one and the butt ugly alloy wheels. The rest of the car was basically no different to an S3. The 2017 FL S3 with the options I ordered is a keeper for me, as there is nothing out there in the same price range/class, that floats my boat.
     
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  13. jassyo06

    jassyo06 Voodoo Man ! S3 Saloon Audi S3 Black Edition Porsche Voodoo Blue

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    A 400 Bhp A3 ain't a status symbol come on mate and it's good value...no Audi is good value for money and especially at £50,000
    Your forgetting you'll get a 10-14% discount on a S3 ....which makes a hell of a difference
    Point is l ain't knocking the RS3 on a technical level..
     
  14. Chris4410

    Chris4410 Well-Known Member Team Glacier Audi S3 Audi TT saloon Audi A5 Black Edition quattro

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    The S3 was just too subtle for my liking, I much prefer the look of the RS3. If the S3 had the styling touches of the RS3 it would be the perfect package.
     
  15. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    The S3 can't be "just as quick" as it is 100hp down. Tbf it isn't far behind but behind it is.

    TX.

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  16. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    It’s all relative though ... the S3 does not look radically different to an S line and a RS from an S ... that is subtle which Audi does so well.

    I don’t perceive the RS as a status symbol nor my previous S cars. It’s a car and yes I enjoy it but I don’t buy one for status ?

    £40k for an S3 is hardly a bargain or poles apart from an RS3 at £50k but other cars have shot up in price too.

    A Golf gti is £30k, a focus ST must be £30k or so ... so the S3 & RS3 are proportionate and a lot more than they cost a few years ago albeit none of them are bargains lol.

    It is what it is and we all go for what weighs most importantly to each of us. You like a fully loaded / specced car with exclusive paint and I can respect that whereas I’m selective with extras & could never justify £2k on paint ... but each of us have a car we’re really happy & content with :icon thumright:
     
  17. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    There are s fair few tweaks on the RS that collectively do make a difference. Even the arches are flared more but they are not as noticeable as say an M3.
     
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  18. jassyo06

    jassyo06 Voodoo Man ! S3 Saloon Audi S3 Black Edition Porsche Voodoo Blue

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    According to What Car Magazine...RS3 Owners ie peeps on PCP Deals on average dont keep their Rs3's any longer than a year to 18 months with very high monthly payments, that to me says a lot about the car...ie peeps get a RS3 scratch the itch and move on from the car...dozens of low mileage used Rs3's on autotrader and similar sites,S3 owners tend to keep their cars longer and use them more
     
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  19. Bryant1998

    Bryant1998 Active Member

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    I’ve got the FL8P S3 so I’m definitely biased, but I did test drive the FL8V S3 with the idea of getting it on pcp like 90% of people do these days, but honestly the newer s3 just felt a bit muted, felt like there’s too many computers limiting how much fun you can have. With the the price difference in mind, 13k for mine or over 46k for a new S3 (top top spec but still over 3x the price) I couldn’t justify that much extra money on a car I was overly fussed about. Same goes for the RS3, my car stage 2/2+ will be putting down almost the same power for less than 1/3 of the price of a RS3. Take power out of it and look at prices, if I was going to spend 50k on a car I’d buy a second hand E63 AMG or an RS6, granted they’re older but they’re also a better investment as they’ve already started to depreciate... just my 2p on the subject


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  20. Snake Pliskin

    Snake Pliskin Well-Known Member Supporter Team Floret Silver Audi RS3

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    I must be the exception then as I've had mine nearly 3.5 years and its paid off and likely to keep it another 1.5 years based on timelines of a possible replacement car.
     
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  21. Damo S

    Damo S Active Member

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    You are absolutely right. In stock form the S3 feels refined, easy to drive, with very little brute or drama about it. Its fast but not that fast.

    I realised this once mine was remapped (stage 2), after which it's a completely different car. That refined feeling has gone and to me it feels like the car it should have been from the factory. It may not be everyone's cup of tea as now it's more or less all or nothing (not a huge amount in between), rather exciting but also rather unforgiving. I guess that's the way its been mapped but I'm not sure many people would buy it if that was the standard feel. Audi dull them down to appeal more to people who perhaps don't want a total brute.
     
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  22. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    I'd still be in mine if the mileage had been lower. Awesome car, hard to beat by anything in or around its price bracket.

    TX.

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  23. wab172uk

    wab172uk Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the RS3 is a quicker car. No arguments about that. But in the real world, where traffic slows everything down, and S3 is just a quick A to B as an RS3.

    Give them both the beans on an empty stretch of Dual carriageway, and yes, the RS3 will be quicker.

    And in terms of the new A35 V A45 S, being a bit quicker 5% of the time, is not worth £15,000. Not to me anyway.
     
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  24. Pook

    Pook Well-Known Member Team Ara Blue S3 Saloon Black Edition

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    I actually prefer the look of the S3 over the RS3. RS3 styling is too over emphasised for my taste, I like the subtlety of the S3 even though it still has major road presence (colour/model/spec dependant).
     
  25. Pook

    Pook Well-Known Member Team Ara Blue S3 Saloon Black Edition

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    That said, give me the keys to both and AUDI say take one for free kind sir, I’d take the RS, so go figure :tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:
     
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  26. Dan_G

    Dan_G Well-Known Member SQ5 owners group Team Navarra Audi S3

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    Latest deal I have seen this morning show the S3 5 door at £29,500 before options, of which you don't need many.

    That makes the step up to the RS3 very hefty and I, personally and having driven both, am not sure about the value...

    The two S3's i had were as quick as i could use in this country and my only reason for getting rid of the second one was the teeth rattling firm ride which was just too much to live with in a daily. (Plus the boot wasn't quite big enough for my needs).
     
  27. zaka7

    zaka7 Well-Known Member Sportback Team Nardo Audi RS3 S tronic

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    I've owned all 3 cars that seem to be mentioned in this debate, don't get me wrong the S3 was an unreal car and I loved every second with mine, so much so that I wish I never bothered with the S5 and made the jump straight to the RS, (S5 was a bit boring for me, no drama and a bit too grown up)

    The RS however, in my opinion is in a different league to the S3. It is 20-30% more car in every aspect of what a car should be hence it commands 20-30% more money if you want to buy one.

    The main thing I like about cars though is cars are meant to cause debate and appeal to different people, otherwise we would all be driving around in the same car and life would be pretty boring. There is no right or wrong argument here, sometimes on these forums people are so quick to disregard others opinions despite it being an opinion.

    The long and the short of it is, the S3 and the RS3 are incredible machines and anyone with either is a very lucky person!
     
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  28. andy|

    andy| New Member Sportback Audi S3 S tronic

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    Hey. I have had my Audi S3 for over a year now and the past recent weeks I've been looking for something new.
    I do like the S3 but I feel that something is lacking. I went out on a quest trying out some new cars in the same league.

    I did like a TTRS that I drove but I wasn't too fond of the manual stick and to have it as a daily driver it was not practical enough. However I fell in love with the 2.5 engine right away. I was smiling the whole time! Whenever I planted my foot the power was there and the sound too..

    Now I've found a 2016 RS3 Sportback with low mileage and it is almost full with options, lacking panorama glass but it's no big deal to me. I'm hoping that I get to test it out in the week and see if I feel the same excitement as I did with the TT.

    I don't know if I can motivate adding so much extra for the RS3 but time will tell...
     
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  29. JonW

    JonW Active Member

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    Talking about the TTRS, has anyone seen how the MY19 performs against the Cayman GTS, Alpine and Supra? Its pretty poor. The Cayman is my favourite but the Alpine surprised me.
     
  30. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure they used LC in that vid as the ttrs got away like a slug!

    TX.

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  31. Bushybeaver

    Bushybeaver New Member

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    Interesting debate. I see an RS as a special car and not just an S3 with a different engine, It’s on a different scale.
    If I could afford the uplift in cost from an S3 I would absolutely own one over my S3. I know brakes and tyres being 19” would ruin me, so the up keep will no doubt cost more.
    It’s a car on my bucket list to own, nearly got a 8p model but ended up getting something else. Hopefully I will own one and won’t go in the “should have but didn’t and now to late category” no doubt we’ve all got one of those, mk4 VW R32 mk2 Ford Rs, 147 GTA, B9 RS4 to name a few
    I see the RS as a target car for me and will no doubt be worth the extra when your out in it.
    I do think it’s special, the noise is clearly a big factor with this car, that 5 cylinder engine on full chat, especially with a Milltek is amazing and hard to beat, even partial to the Saloon version.
    Big money for F/L at the mo mind, Ecckk.
     
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  32. andy|

    andy| New Member Sportback Audi S3 S tronic

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    Same here. Yeah the 19" wheels are like double the price if you compare to 18", so there's that. Personally I don't know how often the brakes usually last on these models. The insurance is a bit more than the S3 but it is ok as it's my main hobby. I don't know what other cars can compare to this. I've looked into a M140ix as well but I really like the exterior and interior of the Audi much more..
     
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  34. Ron240

    Ron240 Breaking the stereotype Team Ara Blue Gold Supporter S3 Saloon Black Edition

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    19" Wheels are standard on my S3, but it's only an issue if you do high miles and need to change tyres often. :D
     
  35. Adam14

    Adam14 Well-Known Member Team Glacier Team V6 Audi S5 Coupe

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    Never changed my rear tyres on my S3 and it had 23k miles which was surprising. Think they had about 3mm of tread left at sale. Fronts had done about 15k and still had around 4.5mm of tread I think.
    Pretty impressive in my eyes for a "performance" car.

    Don't think the S5 is as frugal but time will tell

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  36. Ron240

    Ron240 Breaking the stereotype Team Ara Blue Gold Supporter S3 Saloon Black Edition

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    Probably not. :D
    Just out of curiosity Adam what brand of tyres were factory fitted to your S5?
     
  37. Bushybeaver

    Bushybeaver New Member

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    Out of interest how does the S5 compare Adam?

    I really like the look of them, feel the extra length ? That’s what she said.
    Saw a new RS5 being brought out of the showroom last week, they look angry, love them. Sound great, I would prob go with the loud green it was in aswell

    I Had 19” rims on my TTS, pzero. They lasted ages to be fair and I was quite surprised.
    I guess it’s the extra what 15k ?for face lift from my 25k S3 which is Mapped and I bet in real world not much difference at 375bhp . But the noise....

    I know I’ve got problems, I always have the windows down through tunnels, high walls extra, one of the best sound tracks was defo straight 6 Bimmer, awesome car but fuckugly

    Stage 1 with Milltek when you’re ready please.
     
  38. Ormesome

    Ormesome Well-Known Member TDi quattro S tronic S-line owners group Quantum Grey Q2 owners group

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    Not S3 vs RS3 but here is a new Carwow video featuring the RS3 vs Cupra R.

     
  39. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    Tuned vs standard nonsense, c'mon!

    Wtf is going on with the wheels on that RS3?!

    TX.

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  40. terminator x

    terminator x Well-Known Member

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    Imho Audi have messed with LC as the RS3 was really sluggish off the line. 4.2s to 60 is an embarrassment imho.

    TX.

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  41. wab172uk

    wab172uk Well-Known Member

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    And the seats. Basic spec RS3. SS seats should have been standard.

    0-60 was a bit pants. Pre WLTP car's were hitting it in 3.7 seconds.
     
  42. DW81

    DW81 Well-Known Member

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    Pointless test. Pumped up 2 litre against a standard rs.
    I suppose it all comes down to how much you value the extra 9k price tag.
     
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  43. Ron240

    Ron240 Breaking the stereotype Team Ara Blue Gold Supporter S3 Saloon Black Edition

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    I agree it is a pointless test....the 2 cars are in a different class.
    I've never been a fan of Seat even if I am able to respect their performance potential, so I totally get what he said about the Seat not being an Audi. :D
    I would never buy the Seat, but do I think the RS3 is worth an extra 9 grand? No its not.....not to me anyway.
    I too was a bit puzzled by the o-60mph time of 4.2 for the RS3 considering Audi officially quote 4.1 for the current benchmark standard 0-62mph.
    Also I think the Saloon version of the RS3 looks much classier. :innocent:
     
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