Audi’s electric cars have impressed Ken Block, but in the real world, they’re probably not as practical as a Tesla. Likewise, putting an RS e-tron GT against the fastest Model S is a bad decision. But what if you wanted to buy either a new Audi RS3 or a Tesla Model 3? Obviously, a drag race could help with that decision.
The RS3 and Tesla Model 3 have nothing in common other than the number 3. One is the third generation of a famous hot hatch, known for its five-cylinder growling engine. The other is believed by many to be the best EV currently on the market. But they could be similarly fast in a drag race, not to mention their price is pretty similar.
British magazine Carwow must be running out of things to put up against the RS3. It’s a European hatchback model instead of the American sedan. But the aggression is all there: Lamborghini-like paint, factory-fitted flared fenders, hellish exhaust, and more fake grilles than a BMW has fake badges. It has a 2.5-liter inline-five engine with 401 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.
One of the most interesting features is the torque-vectoring AWD system. It has a drift mode where power goes to only one rear wheel and you can slide around on the track. You don’t get that on the S3 or the old RS3. The Model 3 can drift too; only you control it with a tablet. More on that in the video.
The turban-shaped wheels of the Model 3 let you know it’s a top-spec version with dual motors. Carwow’s Mat Watson says it delivers 490 horsepower. As you probably know, Tesla horsepower numbers are… difficult. But we’ve seen this model thrash much more expensive German cars with V8s. On the other hand, the RS3 is like a little dragster, so it does stand a decent chance.
So what exactly happens? Well, both cars launch well, but the Tesla is just way faster. The RS3 puts up a fight at much higher speeds, but where are you going to drive at 140 mph?