The gap between the new Audi S3 Sportback and the old Audi RS3 Sportback is surprisingly thin. Typically, there’s a sizable gulf between the performance and excitement of “S” and “RS” models but this new S3 is so powerful and fast that it actually rivals the old 2012 RS3. In this new video from Carwow, we get to see a drag race between the two, so we can see just how close the two cars are.
Under the hood, the new Audi S3 uses a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 310 horsepower and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. While the old RS3 uses a 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder but, because it’s an older 2012 model, it only makes 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft (450 Nm) of torque. So the old RS3 is more powerful but not by too much. They also weigh the same, 1,575 kg (3,472 lbs), so the old car does have a better power-to-weight ratio.
That said, the new S3’s launch control systems and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox have been revised and updated since the old RS3, which makes the S3 a bit sharper than its numbers would suggest. But are those two things enough to allow the S3 to keep up with the RS3?
In a standing drag race, the old Audi RS3 is still faster than the Audi S3 Sportback but it’s closer than you might think. They actually get off to a surprisingly even start but then the RS3 pulls ahead, creating a gap the S3 can’t close. It’s not a huge gap but it’s a gap nevertheless. Still, RS3 owners should beware of Audi S3s that pull up next to them at stop lights.
Unsurprisingly, the Audi S3 Sportback performs better in the 60-0 mph brake test. Not only are its brakes more modern and newer, but it also wears better, newer tires.
In the end, the Audi RS3 Sportback, despite being older, is still the better sports car. However, the new S3 is close and we can’t wait to see what the new Audi RS3 can do.