It’s no surprise that the Nissan GTR is the most popular platform for half-mile racing. You can pick up a clean, used GTR around $50k (or pay $99k+ MSRP new). Bolt on’s and a tune on the GTR’s twin turbo V6 will get you in the 600-650whp range, and to about 160 in the half mile. An upgraded turbo and supporting mods (including built tranny) will get you in the low 170 range in the half mile on stock motor.
A good-running, built motor GTR should get you to 180+ in the half mile all the way up to the 250mph depending on your wallet. Thanks to the GTR’s value, reliability, availability of aftermarket modifications, traction-grabbing all-wheel-drive, and a dual-clutch gearbox, it has been the king platform for fast and efficient half-mile passes. However, there appears to be a new Sheriff in town; the Audi RS3.
Cue the Audi RS3. Showing up in 2017, the Audi RS3 represented a high performance version of the A3 sedan. Cool no less, but nothing earth-shattering, and that’s why we think it has flown under the radar… until now.
The RS3 has an MSRP starting at $56k, but with options can take it up to the $80K range. It comes with a 2.5 liter 5 cylinder with 394hp. Again, very cool, but nothing extraordinary on the surface.
Luckily, people like us can never just leave cars alone, and modifications have shown the RS3 to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. With simple bolt-on’s and an ethanol tune, cars are putting down 500+whp and doing 10’s in the ¼ mile for only a few thousand dollars in mods.
Now, they have packages with turbo upgrades and motor builds bringing horsepower numbers to 850+whp and doing 180+mph in the half mile for less money than it would cost to do the same in a GTR.
As you can see in the video, the guys from Malaka Motorsports and Iroz Motorsport have put some amazing packages together to show the capabilities of the RS3. You can see Hank, the owner of Iroz Motorsport, smashing a 183+mph pass in his built RS3. Incredible.
The real question, though, must be asked: is the RS3 better than the GTR? Let’s dissect:
Pricing: For similar pricing, you can pick up a few year old used GTR, or a close to new RS3. RS3 wins.
Weight: The RS3 is lighter than the GTR by a few hundred pounds (3593 lbs. vs. 3836 lbs.). RS3 wins.
Transmission and Drivetrain: Both are AWD, both with dual clutch transmissions. Tied.
Modifications/Bang for the buck: Modifications are equally available for both, but parts appear to be cheaper for the RS3. To do 180+ in the half mile in either car you will need a built motor, built transmission, turbo upgrade, and supporting modifications.
A build like that in a GTR will cost you in the $50k-70k range, whereas those mods for the RS3 will run you in the $20-30k range. RS3 wins.
Of course, looks are subjective as well. The GTR looks like more of a sports car whereas the RS3 is a sleeper. If you pulled up to a light next to the GTR, you would expect it to be fast; the RS3, not so much.
Personally, we think there’s something epic about a 4-door sleeper that can do 180+ in the half mile, and take your kids to school the next morning. So, if you ask us, the answer is YES; the RS3 is better than the GTR for half-mile use, especially considering the bang for the buck.