2023 VW Golf R vs. Audi S3

April 6th, 2023 by

With so many impressive vehicles out on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one, such as the Volkswagen Golf R or Audi S3. At Capistrano Volkswagen, we’ve written a thorough comparison of these two vehicles so that our clients in and around San Juan Capistrano, California, can decide for themselves which is best for them.


Depending on the model, a 1-to-5-year-old used Volkswagen Golf R costs around $35,953 to $45,636, while you can get a used Audi S3 from the same model year range for between $35,274 to $45,989. For new models, the Volkswagen Golf R’s price is between $45,823 and $54,229, with the Audi S3 priced between $49,287 and $59,549. 

Engine Specs

The Volkswagen Golf R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that delivers around 310 lb-ft of torque and 315 horsepower. That’s enough power to rocket this vehicle to 60 miles per hour in just 4 seconds. The engine is paired with a direct-shift gearbox seven-speed automatic transmission that shifts quickly. There’s also a manual transmission option available if you prefer to shift your own gears. 

The new Golf R also features a performance-turned 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, which provides you with the traction you need to make the most of that power. It comes with an adaptive chassis control DCC that offers you the option of adapting the vehicle’s running gear to your preference. It also has electronically controlled shock absorbers that automatically react to road conditions and your driving situation as well as adjust the damping characteristics.

The Audi S3, on the other hand, uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers around 295 lb-ft of torque and 306 horsepower. It’s paired with a dual-clutch transmission that allows you to combine or switch between manual and automatic modes to suit your current situation. It also has an all-wheel-drive system that delivers power to your wheels for maximum traction control. This allows you to drive on icy or wet roads. 

Interior Features

The interior of the new Volkswagen Golf R offers a perfect balance of features with advanced technology. It offers around 91 cubic feet of interior space and about 20 cubic feet of cargo space. It also has a 60/40-split backrest that you can fold to get around 34.5 cubic feet of cargo area. The new Golf R is also packed with many standard features, including:

  • Three-zone Climatronic Touch automatic climate control. 
  • Volkswagen’s KESSY keyless access with push-button start. 
  • Ambient lighting. 
  • Heated and ventilated front seats.  
  • Nappa leather sports seats.  

The interior of the Audi S3, on the other hand, comes with elegant styling. It’s also accented with sporty details, such as stainless-steel pedals and ergonomic front seats. Its luxurious Nappa leather seats boost the soft seating quotient, while its quilted leather inserts plus carbon fiber inlays on the door panels, dash, and gear shift area add a more racing-inspired appeal. 

The 2023 Audi S3 can accommodate up to five passengers. You can also utilize a trunk space of about 8.3 cubic feet. The vehicle’s flexible split-folding rear seats provide you with an extended carrying ability so you can slide in longer items, such as a rolled-up area rug.

Other notable interior design features of the new Audi S3 include:

  • Three-zone climate control.
  • Panoramic sunroof.
  • Aluminum Spectrum dark inlays.
  • Heated front sports seats.
  • 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.

The Volkswagen Golf R has the advantage of offering more interior volume, which is reflected in more truck space, rear shoulder room, rear headroom, front shoulder room, and front headroom. The Audi S3, on the other hand, has the upper hand regarding rear legroom. 

Entertainment and Tech Features

The new Volkswagen Golf R includes IQ.DRIVE, which is a sophisticated suite of driver assistance systems that keep you safe on the road. It includes features such as lane-keep assist, front-brake assist, rear cross-traffic alert, an active blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and Travel Assist, which incorporates several of the previously mentioned features to provide you with a hands-on, semi-autonomous driving experience. 

In addition, you will receive Volkswagen Car-Net, which comes with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot for your smartphone and other mobile devices. The vehicle also comes with App-Connect, which allows certain smartphone applications to appear on your center touch screen for ease of use.

The Audi S3, on the other hand, features an Audi smartphone interface, which supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to easily connect your phone and pull up your favorite apps right on the touch screen. You can also use these connectivity apps through either your steering wheel-mounted controls or the voice control system.

The new S3 also features Multi Media Interface touch, which is an available handwriting-recognition system that allows you to draw in your commands and codes. This tech feature is particularly helpful if you have difficulty reaching the touch screen, as controlling your applications from there could force you to take your eyes off the road. 

Exterior Design

The Volkswagen Golf R’s exterior features a motorsport-inspired design with a sportier front grille and narrow LED headlights. The front design provides the Golf R with more presence and sits lower to the ground than previous models, increasing the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance to create a more responsive drive.

The Audi S3, on the other hand, features a modern exterior design. It includes sleek, aggressive lines that extend from its front to its rear. It comes with a massive front grille that has a unique honeycomb design. The new S3’s rear has also been redesigned, as it now features a powerful, dominant, quad-tailpipe layout. 

Volkswagen Golf R vs. Audi S3: The Verdict

Now that you’ve read our Volkswagen Golf R vs. Audi S3 comparison, we think you’ll agree that the Volkswagen Golf R is the optimal vehicle. If you want to get behind the wheel of this impressive vehicle, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us so we can set you up for a test drive. At Capistrano Volkswagen, California, we also offer a wide range of leasing and financing plans with flexible terms and reasonable interest rates. What are you waiting for? Contact us  today or visit our dealership at 32922 Valle Road, San Juan Capistrano, California. 

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