Choosing between VW Golf R Mk 7.5 Vs Audi S3 (2017 - Post Facelift)

Hey Guys,

So my very much loved and trusted Mk 5 Golf GTi Pirelli edition was t-boned at an intersection and was written off, which I am totally gutted with. Not my fault by the way. I had the car for 10+ years and enjoyed it very much, maintenance was a bit high but well worth it for the enjoyment it gave me.

Now moving forward and hopefully upwards, I need to replace the Pirelli sadly. I don't want another GTI as I think I have outgrown the fun of a front wheel drive hot hatch.

So looking around I have settled on the above two choices Mk 7.5 Golf R and Audi S3. Now I know they are the same cars, platform, engine, chassis etc but they are quite different in their own right. In the second hand market they are both around the same price with the Golf R having slightly less km's and ever so slightly cheaper. I have considered the RS3 but sadly out of my budget.

I would like to hear from those who have been lucky to have both or driven both for feedback.

Thanks in advance guys.


Poll Options expired

  • 16
    Golf R Mk 7.5
  • 18
    Audi S3 (post facelift)


  • +1

    I believe MK8 Golf R’s are coming out soon.
    Probably not much difference between the MK7.5 but something to look into

    • +1

      Yeah i look into the Mk8, due to covid unlikely to arrive this year. Too long to wait. Also I'm not a fan of the new interior, no more gear shifter in the center console!!! Call me old skool but I still like using gear shifters even it is automatic.

    • MK8 looks terrible I'd stick with the 7.5

      • AGREED, it's the first time in my opinion that they have gone backwards in design both inside and out.

  • +1

    Which do you prefer the look of OP? Buy that one.

    • Honestly I like the look of both which is why I need help here, lol.

      • +1

        IMO the R looks dull.

        Get the Audi.

        That said, I prefered the RS280 over both your choices, so I bought that one instead.

  • +1

    Did you get T boned by an i40?

    Not the best timing to buy either of those cars brand new as you're not going to get a good price as mk8 isn't announced yet and as soon as it does, you're going to be driving an "old" car.

    I'd just get a second hand RS3 if you really want to spend all the coins.

    Missed the part where you're shopping used cars. I'd buy pre-facelift if you can get an even better price.

  • +1

    S3 for the more "luxurious" interior.

  • +1

    Any thought of the Renault Megane?

    P.s. Voted Golf as a fellow VW owner who also lost my Mk 5

    • I would have recommended that too but I think OP wants AWD.

      • Spot on, I'd prefer 4WD. I've had the golf mk 5 for 10 years and front wheel drive definitely has it's limitations in terms of grip and cornering.

        • It's not a 4WD. There is a difference. It's an interesting read if you're into engineering.

          I had the mk5 GTI too.

          Grip, yes. Cornering, I'm on the fence. My laptimes weren't too different in a stage 3 GTi and stage 3 R. Same turbo.

          It is really fun learning how to drive an AWD. Still prefer a RWD for a track car but not because of lap times.

          • @tshow: correct technically not full-time 4wd. Predominately FWD. Yeah I won't be tracking the car, but some spirited driving here an there. I too like RWD i came from a 200sx before the golf, and yes they can be fun. They can also be scary as hell when you have a little bit more power than you need.

  • +1

    Audi S3 is the more premium car. The S3 hatch looks great. For me it’s an easy decision. Both great cars. Can’t go wrong with either.

  • +1

    I was thinking of doing the same, but now being drawn to a Model 3.. Im so over DSG problems, oil leaks and expensive Audi servicing.

    • +2

      Trade those for American built car quality issues 😝

      • I know but think of the savings over 5-7 years of servicing.. Model 3 minor service every 2 years.. Plus the brake pads last 50% longer on model 3 because of engine braking.. Charge at home, lower depreciation and RS3 acceleration even with the non performance Model 3.. It's worth considering but yea its not perfect.

    • I did consider electric, but two things that deterred me was one price and two charging station.

  • -2

    Either of them, I rather buy Lexus !

  • Ive had a 2015 s3 for a few years, Im very happy with it. I feel like it is overall nicer than my mates golf R mk7. My only complaint is that no usb input which may have been dealt with in the facelift. Never had any issues except maybe losing .5L of oil in 6months which is a known issue.

    • All VAG 4 cylinder turbo engines have that issue from what I read on forums. Some are worse than others.

      • I have one of the worse! 1 Liter of oil every 3,000km!

  • For around the same price S3. I have noticed facelift S3 pretty reasonably priced compared to a new 7.5R. 7.5R will be a bit of a cult car though I feel as the Mk8 has proved very divisive at least online… I assume you used a VAG specialist for servicing and not dealers?

    • I was rather surprised when I started looking at the price of the S3. Either S3 value when down or golf 7.5 value went up. There is a clear difference in price between the two when buying new. I'm leaning towards the Golf 7.5 resale value going up.

  • +1

    I have had an A3 8P, Pre facelift S3 and now a APR tuned facelift RS3 on E85. The S3 is a fantastic little package. Really nice to drive but the sound is a little dull. Magnetic ride is great and the driving modes mean you can cruise around all day in what feels like a normal car but then on the weekend flick it across to dynamic and it comes alive. Carplay can be retrofitted into the PreFL models so dont worry too much about that. i put 70,00KM on my pre FL with the only issue being sunroof ratlles. This is really common.

    Now the RS3 is a whole new game and if i had driven one before i ordered my S3, i would have purchased the RS3 straight away. The noise alone to me is worth the premium. If you plan on going down the tuning path, this is the best option. Join the facebook group

    Plenty of us on there. If you are in vic, I run some unofficial Audi S/RS drive days as well, obviously they are on hold at the moment. This is a private group so let me know if you want to join.

    • Thanks mate for the feedback. Really wanted to hear this kind of response. Interesting about the Sunroof rattle cos the ones I looked at have a sunroof too, do you by chance know if the same issue exist in the post facelift S3?

      Mate I wish I could afford a RS3, the S3 would be stretching my budget. And yes a few of my friends have a RS3 and it's no doubt a beast on the road.

      I'll def hit you up on FB if I get an Audi lol. Always happy to join a helpful community.

      Thanks again mate.

      • +1

        It's there. They use the same sunroof mechanism and the rattle is in the sunroof mechanism as well. You can reduce it a little by using a bit of self adhesive butyl foam where there it rattles but you can't get rid of it entirely without gluing the mechanism shut or obstructing the operation.

        It's not always there so don't make a decision based on whether there is a rattle. Mine only rattles on warm days. Thermal expansion and what not.

      • +1

        I am pretty sure they all have the sunroof rattle. My FL RS3 has it. On my S3, i had the sunroof replaced under warranty by Audi and it didnt fix the issue. For me it was annoying but not a huge deal breaker. Just turn up the Bang and Olufsen stereo and enjoy.

        • +1

          It's cause the dealership won't admit that the sunroof is a shit design. The metal cowl that sits around the sill is what rattles.

          I have stripped the roof liner and and tacked every wire down to locate the source.

          • @tshow: Agree, its a shit design but really for me the only negative on what is a great car. I just crack the sunroof open slightly and the rattle is gone.

            I purchased my RS3 knowing it was an issue but the 5cyl engine more than makes up for it.

            • @Joshuaaus: Glad you can live with it. I'm still struggling as I'm a radio off kinda guy.

              Also, how's APR post Harding? I had my mk7r fully APR until I couldn't get any service because of their standoff.

              • @tshow: I am only stage 1 E85 dual map but for me that's enough for now.I basically drove straight from the dealership to my tuner. Had 150km on it before i went Stage 1 . APR don't offer a Stage 2 tune for these anymore as you need a downpipe and then there are some legality issues with emissions. I think they are facing a lawsuit in the USA for this and have pulled the stage 2 maps and downpipes as of about a month ago.

                There are other options out there if you arent an APR kind of guy. Etuners are doing some pretty cool stuff and there is a new player Dyno Spectrum which are looking at E85 flexfuel on the stock ECU.

                The power increase from stage 1 to stage 2 isnt enough to justify the expense for me. I will probably jump into an RS6 Performance next year anyway.

                Are you in an S3 or RS3

                • @Joshuaaus: Mk7r.

                  Waited to test against the RS3 (before engine revision). Way too front heavy so bought the mk7r and drove straight to tuners for APR stage 1 and transmission map.

                  Not long after, Harding and APR had a fallout and I was midway doing a stage II so bit the bullet and paid for VWR. Had the rest of the works put in and TBH, I like the VWR map better.

                  Apart from a rear wiper delete (lol), there's nothing else to be done on it. It's my final boy racer so she's got the works.

                  Playing with fourbies for now. Got a van next :P

  • They are essentially the same car with very little difference to the way they drive. It's a matter of aesthetics.

    Between the S3 and R, it depends on body shape.

    I really like the looks of the S3 sedan. If both hatches, I'd take the R, looks better, cheaper and longer warranty.

    So S3 sedan > Golf R > S3 hatch sportsback.

  • Not going to vote for either as it's a perfect hung vote and they're the same car anyway. Personally I'd take whichever had the better deal going and likely make offers on a number available.
    My vote is for a Megane 300 trophy :)
    (I am a Renault fan so very biased)

    Now to add to my bias I put a deposit on a GR Yaris. Not at all the same thing as a daily but for spirited driving it'll certainly be the measure of the S3 or R. The idea of Toyota reliability and low maintenance cost particularly outside of warranty was very appealing as I'll keep it forever if it's good.