Audi S3 vs VW Golf 8 GTI – Hot hatch showdown – TopAuto
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Audi S3 vs VW Golf 8 GTI – Hot hatch showdown

The Audi S3 and VW Golf GTI have been competing against each other for many years – and this is set to continue with the new models.

When South African pricing for the latest models in the line-up were recently revealed, however, the Golf 8 GTI came in at an aggressive R669,300.

The Audi S3 will retail for R795,000 in the country.

We compare these two hatchbacks below and see what the S3 gets you at its higher price.


The S3 and Golf 8 GTI look strikingly different – with the Audi taking on a more angular approach compared to the rounded features of the VW.

On the Audi S3 is a large grille, wide air inlets, and wide wheel arches – forming an aggressive design.

The Golf 8 GTI has a low grille and headlights that pay homage to its heritage – along with a red line running above its headlights, a hexagonal grille, and GTI badging.

Additionally, it gets exclusive wheels in the form of 18-inch “Richmond” alloys.

The Golf’s athletic details continue on the inside, with a three-spoke steering wheel that is now heated, an engine start/stop button, and Vienna leather seats as standard.

Inside the S3, the seats are covered with artificial leather while the centre sections are upholstered in a material that is largely made from recycled polyester.

Although a three-spoke leather-covered steering wheel is available on the S3, it is not heated.

Standard equipment

Both these top-of-the-line hatchbacks come with a substantial list of standard equipment.

This includes LED headlights with daytime running lights, park distance control, cruise control, and a 10.25-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The VW also has high-beam assist, ambient lighting, and a wireless charging pad – all features that are missing on the Audi.

The S3 then boasts connectivity technology that is absent in the GTI, such as an integrated Wi-Fi hotspot and a connect key – which allows it to be unlocked and started through a smartphone app.

Audi also fitted the S3 with swerving assist and lane departure warning to increase its safety.

The Golf 8 – on which the new GTI is based – has received a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

A 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating was also given to the Audi A3 – on which the S3 is based.


The Golf 8 GTI features a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol motor that develops 180kW and 370Nm.

This is mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission which allows the GTI to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 6.4 seconds.

The price difference between the cars becomes evident when we look at power and torque, as the S3 easily beats the Golf thanks to a 2.0-litre TFSI engine producing 213kW and 400Nm.

This power, in combination with a seven-speed S Tronic automatic gearbox, helps the S3 to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds.

The GTI does provide better fuel efficiency, however, at 6.3l/100km compared to the S3 at 7.3l/100km.


The Audi S3 has a South African price of R795,000.

Each purchase includes a 5-year/100,000km Audi Freeway Plan.

The VW Golf 8 GTI has a South African price of R669,300.

Included in this price is a 3-year/120,000km warranty and a 5-year/90,000km EasyDrive Service Plan.

VW Golf 8 GTI

Audi S3 Sportback

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