Normally, we get very annoyed when people car Audis re-badged Volkswagens because they’re so much more than that. However, one car that’s hard to argue that for is the Audi A3. Being built on VW Group’s MQB platform, the Audi A3 is so incredibly similar to the Volkswagen Golf under the skin. On the outside, the Audi A3 is sharper and better looking but under that body work is basically a VW Golf. So is the A3 worth the extra money over the Golf? Carwow finds out.
Admittedy, in this new video, the Audi A3 being compared is a three-door car but Audi does sell a five-door version and Carwow’s Mat Watson does recommend stepping up for five doors in both cars. Aside from rear seat space, which can’t be compared between a five-door and three-door, Watson puts each car to the test.
One area where the A3 does prove its worth is on the inside. Its cabin is far more premium than the Golf, with better build quality, a better design and better technology. Though the Golf isn’t exactly a tool-shed on the inside, as it does have a nice interior and good tech. Just not quite as nice as the A3. But the Audi A3 does feel more expensive, more premium and more prestigious.
On the road, though, how do they compare on the road. With both cars priced within a few thousand dollars of each other, the Audi A3 gets a 1.0 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 113 hp and 147 lb-ft. So while the interior feels premium, what’s under the hood does not. For less money than the A3, the Golf comes with a 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 130 hp. Both cars are front-wheel drive. So which is quicker in a drag race?
The Volkswagen Golf, obviously. It’s more powerful, lighter and has a better torque and power band, thanks to its larger displacement and extra cylinder. In a standing drag race, the Golf takes a quick lead that it never gives up. In a rolling drag race, the Audi A3 has a chance in the beginning before the Golf starts to pull away and win. So in terms of engine, the Golf is the better car.
In terms of actual driving, comfort and handling, both cars are so incredibly similar to drive. The driving experience varies based on the engine and the Golf’s engine is better. If you want to step up to a better engine with the A3, you’re going to spend significantly more than the Golf. So the answer is clearly no, the Audi A3 is not worth the extra money over the Golf.