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Is the 2020 Audi RS3 Worth the Extra Money Over the Audi S3?

Sometimes vehicles are so similar there aren’t any major differences. When that happens, it makes consumers wonder if they should spend the extra money on a higher-priced vehicle or if they’re good with buying the cheaper one. That’s the case with the 2020 Audi S3 and the 2020 Audi RS3. Both have some great features, but U.S. News points out there isn’t much difference between them. So which one should you buy?

The 2020 Audi S3

The Audi S3 is often compared to the Volkswagen Golf R, except the S3 is more expensive. The S3 has a lot to offer, though, which tends to help justify the higher price.

The S3 gets plenty of power thanks to the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which gets 288 hp. This is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive. For anyone who has tried to navigate a front-wheel-drive through the snow, they know just how important AWD can be.

The fuel economy is also decent. The 2020 Audi S3 gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That’s not terrible, but compared with many hybrid vehicles, it’s not great.

The interior has some nice features that come standard on the Premium trim. Consumers can expect to get a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and an easy-to-use infotainment system with a seven-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

For buyers who decide to spend the extra money on the Premium Plus trim, they’ll get an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an upgraded Bang & Olufsen audio system, and wireless device charging.

The price starts at $43,000 for the Premium trim and $45,600 for the Premium Plus. The Premium Plus trim includes blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

The 2020 Audi RS3

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The RS3 is very similar to its younger sibling, but it gets more power thanks to its turbocharged 5-cylinder engine. It can push out 394 hp, which is over 100 hp more than the S3 offers. Like the S3, the RS3 also comes equipped with a dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive.

The RS3 has a subpar fuel economy, however. It has an EPA-estimated range of 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The RS3 has everything the premium plus trim S3 offers. Owners who purchase the navigation package, which costs $2,000 more, will get a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and the MMI touchscreen interface with handwriting recognition technology.

The price for the Audi RS3 starts at $56,200. That doesn’t include many features, such as the navigation package, the black trim package, and the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Add those and you’re looking at $4,000 more.

Which Audi is superior?

This was a hard call. The S3 has the RS3 beat in a few significant areas, but the RS3 offers more power.

For drivers more concerned about fuel economy, the S3 wins, but barely. It gets 3 mpg more in the city than the RS3, but only 1 mpg more on the highway. That’s not a significant enough difference to really earn the S3 any points.

Both vehicles’ interiors are almost identical. The major distinction is that buyers can opt for Napa leather on the RS3 — for more money, of course. Besides that, both vehicles are so similar that it’s not easy to decide which is superior.

The difference-maker is the price. For drivers who can live without the more powerful engine, they can easily save themselves almost $11,000. That’s a lot of money, and the RS3 doesn’t offer enough to justify that price increase.