These cars are the entry points to two of the most desirable automotive badges available, Audi's RS and BMW's M. But despite being the babies of their respective ranges, The offer very grown up driving experiences.
And I think they represent two of the most appealing cars on sale today.
But which is better?
Let's start with some quick objective comparisons, cuz these cars are surprisingly well-matched.
Both cost around ��46,000 in the UK, and $55,000 in the US.
Curiously, the BMW's the slightly more expensive car in the UK, while Audi is the dearer car in the states.
There's only one gear box choice in the RS 3.
We've picked the manual option for the M 2. There's a DCT box adds another chunk to the price, power.
The Audi wins this comparison with 394 break horsepower, out-gunning the BMW's 365.
However, the order is reversed when you look at the torque figures.
The N2s 369 pounds foot bested the RS3s 354.
The Audi also ways 20 kilos more than the BMW, tipping the scales at 1515 kilos, although that's hardly surprising, given the extra doors and drive shaft.
With the specs so close, you might assume that the performance figures would be evenly matched as well.
However, the Audi's all wheel drive really pays dividends in the standing start.
BMW claims a 62 mile an hour times of 4.5 seconds, while Audi has the RS3 reaching the same speed in just 4.1 seconds.
And to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the gap was wider still in reality.
The Audi is obviously slightly more practical, but the interior of the BMW feels better quality.
Now onto a couple more subjective areas, sound.
Both are easy on the ears, but for me, the Audi's wobbly 5-cylinder, [SOUND] is more interesting and more vocal than the BMW's straight 6 However, in terms of looks, it's the design department in Munich that beats the one up the road in Ingolstadt.
While the Audi's lines look pretty good in isolation, it appears pretty ordinary when parked next to the pumped-up arches and aggressive stance of the BMW.
So far, so even.
Perhaps they'll be easy to spec in terms of driving dynamics First up, the M2.
As soon as you get into this car, you've go that, I suppose almost distinctive M car feel.
So it feels taught and [UNKNOWN] it's busy.
It's actually quite intimidating.
It's almost because the bumps tend to make you feel very alert.
Part of that's I think because it's possibly just a smidgen too firmly sprung.
Possibly to cope with travel that's just a touch too short.
The other thing is that the steering in this is very quick.
I'd almost like to just calm it down a bit, because when you're going down a road And it just turned around smoothly.
It's quite a difficult car to really get into a flow with.
I do love Overwhelming sense of purpose that you get with this car though.
I also absolutely adore having a manual game box, three pedals for me, it just works, because not only when you're going quickly, but just every day.
It means you engage with the engine, even pulling away from a junction or Sitting in traffic I know you have to exercise your left leg a bit more but you know, you don't want to be lazy, do you?
You get that interaction with the engine in the car.
Whatever you're doing, not just when you're driving quickly and I really enjoy that.
This has got rev matching on it which if you want to be lazy to be honest I Is quite nice you just you don't have bob over here like [INAUDIBLE].
You can't be bothered.
Might not have quite the voice of the old All naturally aspirated straight sixes, but this turbo charged engine does actually sound better than I remember.
It's got some proper runs, as well.
Where the M2 really comes alive is when you actually get stuck into the chassis.
It's not a car that's gonna allow you to creep up to its limits.
Timidly, you have to really want to get involved with this.
You have got to accept it's going to try and oversteer.
Accept you are going to have to roll up your sleeves and be part of the action.
But if you're the sort of driver that likes that then it does reward.
In the shadow you can still get stuck in which is nice.
It's a properly punchy little car, this.
It's not perfect but it is good fun.
Besides well it really is looking Absolutely stunning today.
On point, I believe the expression is.
There's no doubt that this is a proper M car, with just as much aggression as it's bigger brother the M4.
The suspension on this mildly outdated version does feel slightly better than the early cars, Less control or a little less pogoing over the bumps.
And there's always an underlying energy and alertness to the M2, like it decided just one coffee just isn't enough.
So, why is the RS3 failing comparison?
The first thing that you notice when you get into the Audi is that, the seat feels a bit flatter, and the whole car feels a bit thinner somehow.
Going down the road, it also feels lighter, which is strange given tha this actually has the higher car rate.
Getting to corners doesn't feel pointy.
It's just a bit hard, but it's easier to get on through the banks.
It seems to weave through the road a bit more, a bit more balanced too after the pointy BMW.
Better suspended fast Audi, who'd have thought it?
The latest generation of this five cylinder engine really is a lovely thing to use.
We've only used [UNKNOWN] I know I've mentioned it before, so I won't [INAUDIBLE] but it shouldn't be [INAUDIBLE] just sound so good though, [INAUDIBLE] so look at this car, [INAUDIBLE] down the road [INAUDIBLE] out of the [INAUDIBLE] there is just the right amount of [INAUDIBLE] picking up the road [INAUDIBLE] over [INAUDIBLE] RS3 saloon is probably slightly nicer to drive than sportback version.
What it can't quite do though is live up to the M2 when you push it really hard.
It has a limit and it just doesn't want to be pushed beyond that in terms [SOUND] Throttle adjustability flying through some quicker corners.
But even actually the tighter ones you can just get it sliding perhaps a little bit.
But it's not throttle adjustable.
That's just a case of full throttle and letting the Quattro do its business.
For those people that really like to get into a [UNKNOWN] and feel that they're imposing their will on it a bit more, that's where the R3 just can't quite live up to the BMW.
Despite an ultimate lack of adjustability in the [UNKNOWN], it remains a very neutrally balanced car.
And there are plenty of occasions, most notably when it's wet, When I think the Audi would be the probably faster car down a road, certainly it requires less effort to cover ground quickly.
That engine, well, it's enjoyable at any speed.
I really like both these cars.
They're engaging and entertaining, not just out in the wilds of Wales, but also on the sort of more mundane journeys where they will spend most of their time.
And as vehicles get ever bigger, these feel like they're of a size and stature that still works in the UK's often rather narrow roads, performance, too.
Far from feeling entry level, it's actually in many ways all that you need.
So which car wins?
Both are hugely desirable.
Neither one is absolutely perfect, they're very evenly matched at the end of the day.
You could choose yeah lots of reasons for picking either one it would be very valid indeed.
So do we need to pick a winner?
Can we not be grow up about this?
Could it not be a draw?
Well now I suppose it can't because you want to know a winner don't you?
There has to be a winner.
It's the M2.
With everybody drive.
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