There's no denying the fact that when it comes to styling both the Audi S3 saloon and BMW 2 Series coupe will turn heads wherever they pass. They are dynamic in their design and have performance capability to match the look.
You will have to raid the piggy bank to afford either model, but given the choice, which would you go for?
We are comparing lots of aspects such as price including running costs, practicality, performance and offers. So, hopefully we can offer some guidance along the way.
Price and Performance
Pricing in the premium sector is never quite simple as it first looks. You do have a starting price, but few owners settle for that ‘basic’ model. Instead, they dig deep into their pockets and add a whole host of optional extras and that's when the cost really starts to accelerate.
However, that said, the Audi S3 in Vorsprung guise as tested, is fully loaded as standard, costing £45,945. Our car featured Python Yellow paint that added £575 to the cost and there were upgraded alloys that increased the price by a further £250.
The S3 is powered by 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 310PS and a whopping 400Nm of torque, It can complete the 0-62mph sprint in a very rapid 4.8 seconds and maxes out at a limited 155mph.
The BMW 2 Series Coupe M240i xDrive (four-wheel drive) that we tested started out at £45,795 which is quite similar to the S3. However, it was packed with options, such as a Technology Pack that added parking assistant, a head-up display, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging and a WIFI hotspot - this raised the price by £1,250
An M240i Pro Pack costing £1,700 resulted in upgraded 10-inch alloys, Shadow Line Lights, a Harmon Kardon sound system and some high-gloss features. The final cost was £50,365.
Powering our flagship model was a 3.0-litre, V6 petrol engine producing 374hp of power and 500Nm of torque. It can blast its way to 62mph from a standing start in just 4.3 seconds and has a top speed that is electronically-limited to 155mph.
If practicality is high on the wish list, neither a saloon or coupe will be the wisest choice. Both have smaller storage limits than hatchbacks or touring cars, And passenger space will never be on a par with SUV's either.
But these cars are brought for their performance and both deliver the goods in that department, and some.
However, the boot on the Audi S3 can hold 325 litres of kit and there are the likes of a locking glovebox, cubby box beneath the centre armrest, front and rear cup holders, door bins with a bottle holder, charging pad, plus seat back nets to tuck away bits and pieces.
The boot on the latest 2 Series, as tested, has grown by 20 litres and now has a limit of 390 litres and I like the Easy-Entry system. This is used to slide the powered front seats forward to make it easier to access the two rear seats, That said; you really wouldn't want to be sat in the back for very long as legroom (just like on the S3) is very limited.
Once again, the BMW has lots of storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin.
Both the S3 and the 2 Series are performance cars, so running costs will never be particularly great and if you drive them hard, expect regular trips to the fuel stations - which these days is not cheap.
According to official figures, under WLTP testing, the Audi S3 can deliver a combined 35.5mpg but to see anywhere close to that figure, the vehicle would need to be driven with a degree of respect. Let's face it, that is unlikely to happen. The combined carbon emissions figure of 181g/km will mean hefty tax bills too and business drivers won't see much relief in Benefit in Kind tax either.
The BMW 2 Series M240i xDrive is slightly heavier on fuel with a combined 34.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 199g/km.
We have been for the best offers on these models via the main Audi and BMW websites and here is what we found.
Unfortunately, we could not see any BMW 2 Series M240i xDrive models available for PCP on the BMW site, but there was a 220I M Sport Coupe that has an on-the-road price of £36,605. This was available with a deposit of £4,727 followed by 47 monthly payments of £499 and an optional final payment of £15,343. This would make the total cost £41,174.
We could not find any offers for an S3 on the main Audi website. This may be due to the shortage of vehicles globally at the present time and lengthy delays when it comes to manufacturing.
However, it is possible you will find offers via different dealerships or online portals, so it's certainly worth shopping around.
So, which takes your fancy?
Both models have their own individual appeal and it's difficult to separate them. The BMW was more expensive, but prices were similar before a raft of options were added. So, if you can live without all the added bells and whistles the costs are almost identical.
The BMW has better storage options for luggage with a larger boot capacity, but the S3 has a slight edge with regards to day-to-day running costs and has a lower carbon emissions figure too.
So maybe the defining factor should be performance and the BMW is that little bit sharper out the blocks.
Hopefully we have offered some guidance about these two models, but customers will often have their preferred brand and little will make them change their minds.