Retro Top Gear Test — Audi S3 vs BMW 130i vs VW Golf R32

This generation of Audi S3 is likely going to be the last gas-powered generation, marking the end of a very special car in Audi’s lineup. While the S3 was never a genuine sports car, it always offered a great combination of performance, comfort, and practicality. Even in its older generations, the Audi S3 was a car beloved by enthusiasts and customers alike. However, in its older generations, it faced some very stiff competition. In this retro-review from Top Gear, we get to see how the 2007 Audi S3 took on its competition.


It’s painful to think of 2007 as retro, as that’s the year I graduated high school and I remember it clearly, but cars from that era are certainly old by now. Back in 2007, though, the Audi S3 needed to take on cars like the BMW 130i and its own VW Group sibling, the Golf R32. So which was deemed best back then.

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Let’s check the specs of all three cars, before we get into which was deemed best, shall we? The BMW 130i used a 3.0 liter inline-six, paired to a six-speed manual, that made 261 horsepower and powered only its rear wheels. The Audi S3 used a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which also made 261 horsepower and was also paired to a six-speed manual, but it powered all four wheels. Lastly, the Volkswagen Golf R32 used a 3.2 liter naturally-aspirated V6, making 247 horsepower and using a six-speed manual, and send power to all four wheels.


This test featured both hot laps from the Stig and a long road trip from the TG editorial staff, to see how each car handled the full gamut of performance driving. Being a UK-based test, the roads were cold and wet most of the time, which didn’t much help the Bimmer. Still, the point of hot-hatches is that they’re supposed to be usable everyday, in all conditions. In the slippery stuff, which is part of life, the Bimmer was just a bit too nervous to feel fun, while both the Audi and VW were far more sure-footed.

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However, sometimes sure-footedness isn’t enough to be a great hot-hatch. While the Audi S3 was quick, stable, and grippy, it wasn’t as fun to drive as the Volkswagen, with its stonking V6. Which car was considered best? Check the review.


[Source: Top Gear]
CategoriesCompetitors S3
Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.