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      09-11-2019, 10:04 AM   #1
Captain Blood
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2012 135  [5.00]
S3 Sedan vs Golf R vs E82 135i

I know, I know... another "Which one should I pick" thread. I would love to hear from people who have owned/driven an Audi S3 (2016 or so) or a Golf R. All 3 cars seem similar in performance. The S3 seems like the best choice for me, but also the most expensive in terms of upfront cost and maintenance. The Golf R seems to have a big following. Another 135i would be much cheaper up front and I love & know the car, but even a 2013 would still be a bit dated.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Edit: FYI, I put 20k miles on my car every year.
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      09-11-2019, 10:28 AM   #2
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If you're looking for a seriously quick car but with all the creature comforts of a BMW, get the S3.

The Golf R and S3 are basically the same car.
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      09-11-2019, 10:38 AM   #3
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135 is super old tech - the car is essentially now well over a decade old.

Golf R only makes sense if you (a) really want AWD and (b) want a manual transmission

S3 is a fantastic car, but not available with a manual. This is a deal breaker for me, but I believe you currently drive an automatic, so it may not matter much to you.

---

My recommendation? S3 all day long for what you personally probably want. If it were me, and I had to pick one of those 3, it would be the Golf R, but only because of the manual. Otherwise, the S3 is a far nicer place to be in.

You can get a very low mile 2016 S3 Premium for about $30K.

If you want to spend a little less for something with more miles and a bit older, here is a 2015 S3 Prestige with 39k miles on it in Kansas City for $26,500.

https://www.carskc.com/details/used-...di-s3/57012177

This car is currently on Manhiem OVE for a buy it now price of $25,200 - so that means you could easily buy it for that.
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      09-11-2019, 10:46 AM   #4
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Golf R is the S3 in all the points that matter.
Just cheaper.

I’m for Golf R all day long...
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      09-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #5
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S3 for me
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      09-11-2019, 10:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Run Silent View Post
135 is super old tech - the car is essentially now well over a decade old.

Golf R only makes sense if you (a) really want AWD and (b) want a manual transmission

S3 is a fantastic car, but not available with a manual. This is a deal breaker for me, but I believe you currently drive an automatic, so it may not matter much to you.

---

My recommendation? S3 all day long for what you personally probably want. If it were me, and I had to pick one of those 3, it would be the Golf R, but only because of the manual. Otherwise, the S3 is a far nicer place to be in.

You can get a very low mile 2016 S3 Premium for about $30K.

If you want to spend a little less for something with more miles and a bit older, here is a 2015 S3 Prestige with 39k miles on it in Kansas City for $26,500.

https://www.carskc.com/details/used-...di-s3/57012177

This car is currently on Manhiem OVE for a buy it now price of $25,200 - so that means you could easily buy it for that.
The DCT is the transmission of choice. I believe all 3 cars have that. I love a manual, but spend 2 hour a day on the highway.
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      09-11-2019, 10:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Captain Blood View Post
The DCT is the transmission of choice. I believe all 3 cars have that. I love a manual, but spend 2 hour a day on the highway.
If going with an automatic, then go with the S3. It's a much nicer place to be than the Golf, plus it looks far better.

If you really want a Golf R, skip it - get a GTi and then get a tune. Save a bundle.

S3 looks so much better than the Golf though.
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      09-11-2019, 11:01 AM   #8
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If going with an automatic, then go with the S3. It's a much nicer place to be than the Golf, plus it looks far better.

If you really want a Golf R, skip it - get a GTi and then get a tune. Save a bundle.

S3 looks so much better than the Golf though.

One of my 17 year olds was saying that yesterday, about the looks. He thought the Golf looked like an SUV. I would prefer the S3, but want to get opinions on all 3, comparatively. I actually like the Golf R look. But the S3 certainly is more attractive.
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      09-11-2019, 11:08 AM   #9
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Went with the Golf R for a few years myself. Liked the performance (with a JB4) and the hatch for extra interior room for the dogs if we had to bring them anywhere, but wasn't fond of the noise it made, nor the turbo lag but it was a fun car to drive around. Comfortable but also handled really well.
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      09-11-2019, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Blood View Post

One of my 17 year olds was saying that yesterday, about the looks. He thought the Golf looked like an SUV. I would prefer the S3, but want to get opinions on all 3, comparatively. I actually like the Golf R look. But the S3 certainly is more attractive.
I've not driven a Golf R in several years, but we drove the S3 recently when looking at another car to replace the E93 for my wife to drive. Honestly, if you could get an S3 in a convertible, we would have bought it. Went with the 440i instead because of the drop top.

The S3 was the perfect size, fun, and the power delivery was fantastic. 2nd gear was a blast and so was 3rd. Going up an onramp was intoxicating.
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      09-11-2019, 11:40 AM   #11
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Wait a few months. Both cars are about to be replaced with newer, lighter, more powerful models which will push down resale on the previous generation.

I've owned an N54 135i and a few Mk7 GTIs. I can't think of one positive of the 135i aside from straight line performance. The lack of LSD on the 1er, the horrible suspension even without runflats and the impractical back seat and small trunk are my biggest complaints of that car.
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      09-11-2019, 12:25 PM   #12
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From the 3 choices, S3 all day long. Still loves our after 2 years with it - great road trip car too. The AWD comes in handy for some light off-road rallying fun
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Last edited by XMetal; 09-11-2019 at 01:14 PM..
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      09-12-2019, 06:05 AM   #13
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I've owned both a 135i and an S3...

the 135i is at this point very very old and the chassis is unstable in a bad way, that combo with runflats is imho awful...

the s3 is a nicer golf r... however; the S3 is not an exciting car in any way... it doesnt have the emotions, sounds or any sort of driver involvement

my reccomendation would be to find an M235i which can now be had for a great deal for cheap... the tech is a serious upgrade, it has a nice 6 cylinder, is built on a much better base than a 135 and is really fun
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      09-12-2019, 10:45 AM   #14
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Having driven the S3 & RS3, I could not own the S3 b/c RS3 is bad ass
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      09-12-2019, 11:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Having driven the S3 & RS3, I could not own the S3 b/c RS3 is bad ass
This is a no brainer if you got the funds and you're driving it all balls out all the time. RS3 is tamed and drives similar to the S3 until your throttle goes past 50%...so unless you're always on 50% plus throttle during your daily commute, you won't noticed the RS3 performance over the S3.

Also, what you said would be true across all the model lines - same argument can be made for a lot of cars...for example, for M2 vs M240i. If you have driven an M2, why would you want to own the M240i?
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      09-12-2019, 11:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
I've owned both a 135i and an S3...

the 135i is at this point very very old and the chassis is unstable in a bad way, that combo with runflats is imho awful...

the s3 is a nicer golf r... however; the S3 is not an exciting car in any way... it doesnt have the emotions, sounds or any sort of driver involvement

my reccomendation would be to find an M235i which can now be had for a great deal for cheap... the tech is a serious upgrade, it has a nice 6 cylinder, is built on a much better base than a 135 and is really fun
I have to agree with this. Prior to picking up my 340i, I test drove the S3, S4, and M235.

Overall I was disappointed with the interior feel of the S3/S4, although I thought the performance was pretty good, everything else felt very lackluster and uninspiring.

When I test drove the M235, I could not stop smiling- it was that much fun. Even though the 340i has similar power, it just wasn't the same. Unfortunately, I needed to be practical so I chose the 340i ultimately, but to this day still think about picking up an M235 some day.
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      09-12-2019, 12:50 PM   #17
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S3 > Golf R > 135i..
spent quite some time with both Golf R 6-7 and S3.. great package and practical, fun cars to drive..
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      09-12-2019, 12:52 PM   #18
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I'm 6'3 and I find the A3/s3 to be a smidge too small for me, I find the e82 more comfortable (larger opening to get in and out)
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      09-12-2019, 01:23 PM   #19
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I owned a 2016 Golf R and it was a great all around car. It's arguably the best combination of sport and utility for a daily commuter as it offers something for everyone as it handles decent, fast in a straight line (DSG), AWD for winter, and has good utility and sightlines. The S3 is essentially the sedan version of the Golf which does look nicer inside and out IMO but the tradeoff is utility. When I sold my Pretoria wheels the guy that picked them up had an S3 and putting 4 wheels and tires in his car was a chore compared to the same thing in the Golf where you fold down the rear seats and have a little minivan. Also the interior of the Golf R isn't a huge step down from the Audi (you can argue it's better in some aspects) so to me it comes down to your styling preferences and utility requirements.

One note in regards to the Golf R is to skip the manual transmission. It's not a good manual transmission, makes the car considerably slower (was an afterthought) as the platform is just better with the DSG.

I can't comment on the 135i but I've never been a fan of the styling of that car and as others say it's older.
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      09-12-2019, 02:18 PM   #20
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S3 > Golf R > 135i..
spent quite some time with both Golf R 6-7 and S3.. great package and practical, fun cars to drive..
This is correct. If the S3 is too sedate, get an APR tune or JB4 and a resonator delete. It will give you the proper amount of exhilaration.
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      09-12-2019, 02:26 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
I owned a 2016 Golf R and it was a great all around car. It's arguably the best combination of sport and utility for a daily commuter as it offers something for everyone as it handles decent, fast in a straight line (DSG), AWD for winter, and has good utility and sightlines. The S3 is essentially the sedan version of the Golf which does look nicer inside and out IMO but the tradeoff is utility. When I sold my Pretoria wheels the guy that picked them up had an S3 and putting 4 wheels and tires in his car was a chore compared to the same thing in the Golf where you fold down the rear seats and have a little minivan. Also the interior of the Golf R isn't a huge step down from the Audi (you can argue it's better in some aspects) so to me it comes down to your styling preferences and utility requirements.

One note in regards to the Golf R is to skip the manual transmission. It's not a good manual transmission, makes the car considerably slower (was an afterthought) as the platform is just better with the DSG.

I can't comment on the 135i but I've never been a fan of the styling of that car and as others say it's older.
The clutch is weak in my GTI and it's the same one in the R, so it's even worse off there.

Both the R and S3 changed from a 6s to a 7s DSG in 2018 making the performance delta between the manual and DSG even bigger.

But I'll keep my weak clutched manual over any auto, thank you very much.
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      09-12-2019, 02:29 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASAP View Post
I've owned both a 135i and an S3...

the 135i is at this point very very old and the chassis is unstable in a bad way, that combo with runflats is imho awful...

the s3 is a nicer golf r... however; the S3 is not an exciting car in any way... it doesnt have the emotions, sounds or any sort of driver involvement

my reccomendation would be to find an M235i which can now be had for a great deal for cheap... the tech is a serious upgrade, it has a nice 6 cylinder, is built on a much better base than a 135 and is really fun
I would also totally recommend M235i,very close to M car,very sporty to drive,engine sound, exhaust, responsiveness, handling.

If you looking budget faster car Golf R is your choice.
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