2019 Audi RS 3 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The RS 3’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Golf R doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 3 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volkswagen Golf R has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the RS 3 and the Golf R have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available crash mitigating brakes and lane departure warning systems.


The RS 3 comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. Audi will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Golf R.

The RS 3’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 years).


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.


The RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5 cyl. produces 106 more horsepower (394 vs. 288) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 280) than the Golf R’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi RS 3 is faster than the Volkswagen Golf R (automatics tested):

RS 3

Golf R

Zero to 30 MPH

1.3 sec

1.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3.5 sec

4.5 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

5.7 sec

7.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

8.7 sec

11.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.3 sec

5.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.2 sec

3.3 sec

Quarter Mile

11.9 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

117 MPH

106 MPH

Top Speed

174 MPH

153 MPH


The Audi RS 3 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf R.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RS 3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf R:

RS 3

Golf R

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

13.4 inches

The RS 3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Golf R doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 3 has larger standard tires than the Golf R (235/35R19 vs. 225/40R18). The RS 3’s optional front tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Golf R (F:255/30R19 & R:235/35R19 vs. 235/35R19).

The RS 3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf R’s standard 40 series tires. The RS 3’s optional 255/30R19 front tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Golf R’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Golf R.

Suspension and Handling

The RS 3’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.2% to 41.8%) than the Golf R’s (59.5% to 40.5%). This gives the RS 3 more stable handling and braking.

The RS 3 handles at .98 G’s, while the Golf R pulls only .94 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.


As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the RS 3 is quieter than the Golf R (42 vs. 50 dB).

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the RS 3. The Golf R doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 43% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.


If the windows are left open on the RS 3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf R can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RS 3 has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf R doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The RS 3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf R has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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