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What happens when you have two vehicles that look equally matched regarding engine, horsepower, torque, chassis, and space — but have different transmissions — and you want to know which is the superior choice? It’s an interesting debate, but in the end, we think it’s a clear victory for the Audi S3 over the Volkswagen Golf R.
The Audi S3 and the Volkswagen Golf R are similar in many respects. For starters, they both generate 292 horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque, and seat five people. Additionally, both boast impressive standard features, such as:
The S3 fuel economy stats are 22 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway, 25 combined, whereas the Golf R gives you 21 mpg in the city, 29 on the highway, 24 combined.
While options also vary, the biggest difference between the 2018 Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R is the transmission. The S3 comes with a 70-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission while the Golf R utilizes a 6-speed manual.
Fortunately for us, the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R have gone head-to-head in a drag race, as you can see here. The S3 is available with launch control, but a proficient manual driver can easily jump ahead on the Golf R at the beginning. Within seconds, however, the advantage of Audi's technological sophistication is patently clear, as the S3 soon leaves the Golf in the dust. When the two cars race from a rolling start, Audi's phenomenal traction control during acceleration shoots it light years ahead of the Volkswagen.
So which one is it going to be, the Audi S3 vs. Volkswagen Golf R? The verdict from the race/road tests seems to suggest that if your raison d'être is having the most fun on winding roads, the Golf R is for you. For the vast majority of us, however, it is the S3 that pulls ahead in power and performance, as well as the enjoyability of the ride.