2019 Audi S3 Sedan vs. 2019 Volkswagen Golf R

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S3 Sedan’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 S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available lane departure warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi S3 Sedan is safer than the Volkswagen Golf R:

 

S3 Sedan

Golf R

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

34%

43%

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi S3 Sedan is safer than the Volkswagen Golf R:

 

S3 Sedan

Golf R

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

185

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.2 inches

Hip Force

308 lbs.

310 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

368

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

63 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

674 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 Sedan the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Golf R was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

The S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf R’s (12 vs. 10 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

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.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi S3 Sedan is faster than the Volkswagen Golf R (automatics tested):

 

S3 Sedan

Golf R

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

4.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.8 sec

11.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.6 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

13.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

106 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

153 MPH

Transmission

The Audi S3 Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf R.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the S3 Sedan. 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.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the S3 Sedan 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.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The S3 Sedan’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Golf R’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S3 Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The Golf R doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The S3 Sedan Prestige 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.

The S3 Sedan Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Golf R doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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