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Compare the2023 BMW M3VS 2023 Audi RS 3

2023 BMW M3
2023 Audi RS 3

Safety

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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The M3 offers an optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor for objects to the rear and automatically applies the brakes to prevent a collision. The RS 3 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The M3 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The RS 3 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The M3’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the M3 and the RS 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the RS 3.

There are over 15 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the M3’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the M3 has a standard 720-amp battery. The RS 3’s 320-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2022 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW above average in initial quality. With 74 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is rated below average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2022 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW above average in long-term dependability. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles in the first three years of ownership, Audi is rated below average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2023 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW third in overall reliability. Audi is ranked 6th.

Engine

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The M3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 72 more horsepower (473 vs. 401) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 369) than the RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5-cylinder. The M3 Competition’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 102 more horsepower (503 vs. 401) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 369) than the RS 3’s 2.5 turbo 5-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the M3 Competition is faster than the Audi RS 3 (automatics tested):

M3

RS 3

Zero to 60 MPH

2.8 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

7 sec

8.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.2 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

11 sec

11.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

124 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. If the conditions warrant or the driver wishes, the system can be manually disabled at any time for the duration of a trip. The RS 3 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The M3 has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the RS 3 (15.6 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW M3 higher (5 out of 10) than the Audi RS 3 (3). This means the M3 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the RS 3 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW M3 Competition, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the RS 3.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the M3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RS 3:

M3

M3 CCB

RS 3

RS 3 CCB

Front Rotors

15 inches

15.7 inches

14.8 inches

15 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

15 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The M3 stops much shorter than the RS 3:

M3

RS 3

70 to 0 MPH

150 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the M3 has larger tires than the RS 3 (F:275/40R18 & R:285/35R19 vs. F:265/30R19 & R:245/35R19).

The M3’s optional 285/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RS 3’s 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M3 offers optional 20-inch rear wheels. The RS 3’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The M3 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The RS 3’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M3’s wheelbase is 8.9 inches longer than on the RS 3 (112.5 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M3 is 1 inch wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the RS 3.

The M3 Competition handles at 1.03 G’s, while the RS 3 pulls only .94 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M3 a Compact car, while the RS 3 is rated a Subcompact.

The M3 has 8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RS 3 (95 vs. 87).

The M3 has 4.1 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the RS 3.

Cargo Capacity

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The M3 has a much larger trunk than the RS 3 (13 vs. 8.3 cubic feet).

Pulling a handle automatically lowers the M3’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The RS 3 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M3 offers cargo security. The RS 3’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the M3 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RS 3. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 1% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The M3 Competition offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The RS 3’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The M3’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The M3’s sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The RS 3’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

Both the M3 and the RS 3 have standard heated front seats. The M3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the RS 3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the M3 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The RS 3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the M3’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The M3’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The RS 3’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The M3 is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The RS 3 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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The BMW 3 Series outsold the Audi A3/S3/RS 3 by over three to one during 2022.

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