It’s a manual versus an automatic.
Let’s get this cleared up straight away. This is not a fair fight. Like, at all. It’s like entering a spec racing series, but your car has an LS swap. Okay, maybe it’s not that unfair, but you get the point. In a new video, Carwow pits the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R against one another. Why do you ask? Well, why not? Both have the same engine – a turbocharged 2.0-liter. Both mills make the same 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Both power all four wheels.
That sounds like a reasonably fair fight between the two. However, there’s one difference. The VW packs a six-speed manual while the Audi is equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Oh, and, of course, there have different drivers.
When two similar cars get down to race, there are several factors that could help determine a winner. Here, the biggest difference lies in the transmission and the driver. The S3’s dual-clutch transmission is available with launch control, which certainly helps it off the line in the rain. The Golf R’s launch comes down to the skill of the driver. Even though the Golf R does get a jump on the Audi off the line, it’s no match for the technological sophistication that operates Audi’s engine, transmission, and traction control as it accelerates, always keeping the most amount of power to the wheels. Even when the two race again, this time from a rolling start, the Audi quickly pulls away.
While the two produce the same power, the extra gear in the Audi could affect what gear the transmission is in during acceleration, giving it its advantage. A real test between the two transmissions would be to pick the same car with different gearboxes. However, it’s still fun to watch the Audi S3 and VW Golf R go head-to-head.