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CT4 V blackwing vs RS3

savethemanual

Seasoned Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2022
Messages
472
Location
san francisco
V-Series Cadillac(s)?
2023 CT4 V blackwing
Wife upgraded her car from a 2018 GTI DSG to an 24 Audi RS3. I have been off this week so I have been driving around a lot and thought I would share some impressions and comparison.

The car as specced was 66,000 $ - we found a dealer who sells for MSRP and it was a smooth experience. Took 6 months from order to delivery. Its within a few hunded dollars of my CT4-V blackwing(Electric blue Manual with mid tier seats). Options on the RS3 are tech package(B&O stereo, HUD etc) and performance exhaust. Oh they also did 3.99 for 48 months which I found interesting(blackwing's are not eligible for most finance offers)

Alright with that out of the way-

Exterior
Well, the color really pops. It makes my electric blue look subtle and a porsche gentian blue downright boring. There are more fake vents and grills than our blackwings. Especially the black honeycomb on the back is really ugly. I like the base wheels better on the RS3 though. They seem more interesting. Also like the standard red brakes. The biggest difference though is the size. The RS3 is a good 10 inches shorter in length and it feels it when parking and maneuvering. It has a short wheelbase and is a good 300lbs lighter than the blackwing.

Interior
The afore mentioned 10 inches does not seem to affect interior room and cargo and the RS3 is a much roomier car than the blackwing. I can fit behind myself comfortably, something which I cannot do in the blackwing. The interior looks nicer- the quilted leather is definitely nicer than my mid tier seats and I like the green stitching which matches the exterior(free!). The seats feel nicer for daily driving but I think the blackwing seats are better for canyon carving. The blackwing seats also have more adjustments with the bolsters and hip huggers. So my biggest surprise was this though- for all the talk of the blackwing feeling cheap I think it actually holds up pretty well against the audi. It has less plastics in the places you regularly touch and more exotic elements(CF) in more places than the RS3. I also prefer the instrument cluster in the blackwing. The main screen is better in the audi though- bigger and better integrated. Overall I think I prefer the interior in the RS3 with some caveats. Its closer than I thought though. The audi wins out in this department primarily because of better packaging and design and not materials as I would have expected.

Engine/Drivetrain/Exhaust
The RS3 engine is more special. Period. It feels smoother yet more characterful, revs higher and pops shifts off with a porsche like intensity. The sound both inside and outside the cabin is nicer. Its more harmonious and special sounding vs the blackwing which has way more pops bangs and crackles accentuating a normal sounding engine. It also pulls hard and returns better MPG than the blackwing. Turbo lag especially at low RPM seems a little worse on the RS3 than the blackwing but its marginal.

Daily driving(commute etc)
I think the RS3 wins this round- Its smaller yet more practical, more efficient and interior is nicer for just relaxing in. The ride is better on the blackwing but its not as big of a gap as I hoped, the RS3 rides pretty well in its comfort setting too(it has adjustable dampers). The adaptive cruise is awesome and I think the stereo(B&O) is a little better than our AKG's. It might also be slightly quieter road noise wise inside.

Canyon carving/enthusiastic driving
The big one and why I primarily bought my car. I drove them back to back on my favorite twisties out here and I had loads of fun in both cars. The manual is clearly more engaging and I definitely prefer it but the DSG with paddles is not too far behind. The RS3 feels like a rear wheel drive car. You can feel the car rotating and simulating a RWD car the best it can. It does not feel as natural as the blackwing but its close and fun in a different way. One area the blackwing trounces the RS3 is steering feel. The RS3 has none. I drove a porsche after the blackwing and our steering feel is closer to the porsche than the RS3 i.e. in a different league. Overall, I prefer the blackwing but its closer than you think.

Conclusion
So, my criterion when ordering my car were manual, RWD, 4 doors and special(not too popular, limited numbers etc).

This is going to be controversial on this forum. If I was ok with an auto and was not a RWD snob I think the RS3 is a better overall car. It does the daily things better and the fun things almost as well.

However the manual was non negotiable for me so the blackwing takes it.
 

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Yes, recent Audis have a numb steering feel and at times way too darty. Off center it’s dead. I had a 2020 S4 and got rid of due due to that numb feel and dead off center motion, then when you gave it a bit of steering to get past the dead zone, it would just snap at you. With still no feel or connection to the road.
 
I had both on order in early 2022. Cancelled the Audi when I found a close match for the BW that just came into inventory in August. I didn't know if I would ever even get the Audi as I was about number 7 on the list. Having been driving a 2009 GLI before the Cadillac, I thought the Audi would probably be a better daily driver. But my GLI was manual and I still wanted a manual, so that also tilted toward the BW. Sitting in an S3 and a CT4-V, I had the same feeling about the interior of the Cadillac feeling higher quality versus the hard plastics in the Audi. I have the gray leather seats and red seat belts in my car and they look awesome.
 
I had a 2001 S4 Avant up until about 3 years ago and I loved driving that car and pretty much everything about it (except for the poor reliability). I've been very interested in the RS3 since it came out - the 5 cylinder engine and its gobs of torque and power...if it only came in a MT (and a wagon here in the states) I would be driving it instead of the new 4 BW. Still, I.m happy in many ways to be driving the BW. Its an ultra competent car that does everything well. Still, I very much see the appeal for the RS3...and it being just a bit smaller is part of this for me. Both are awesome. Great comparative review...much thanks!
 
Having driven the RS3 many times, the Blackwing is a better car overall. Ride, handling and steering are so much better in the Blackwing. I don't know why Audi keeps producing cars with Camry steering.
 
i've been bmw/audi my entire life. rs3 was the next car I was going to buy till I convinced myself I just needed a DD with a manual and hence ended up here. besides that rs3 is hands down the better car, sorry folks
 
I had 9 Porsche, 14 BMW, 0 Audi. I just can’t talk myself into getting one. I went to test drive a RS3 a while back and realized there was no side bolster adjustment and decided not to test drive it. Not having a side bolster adjustment on the RS3 is a deal breaker for me.
 
Congrats on the new ride, that green is beautiful.

I tend to agree with OP's overall impressions. If I didn't want a manual, I'd be hard pressed to justify the Blackwing over the RS3. I had an RS3 ('19) for a couple years before I sold it, had a cup of coffee with an m340i (which was the worst of the three by far), and eventually wound up in the 4BW.

My basic summary is this: the RS3 is better at everything other than feeling engaging while driving. It's more spacious, it's more luxurious, the engine is fun, it's smaller on the outside but doesn't feel it on the inside, the AWD is a plus - it's a great car.

But for me, my biggest priority is how the car feels and I engage with it, which is why the combination of manual, RWD, and driving engagement has me happy in a BW. If my priorities were even slightly different I could easily see myself in an RS3 again (or maybe an RS6 if life is good to me).
 
i've been bmw/audi my entire life. rs3 was the next car I was going to buy till I convinced myself I just needed a DD with a manual and hence ended up here. besides that rs3 is hands down the better car, sorry folks
Nope. The RS3 is an inferior car. The maintenance and reliability will be expensive also.
 
Nobody needs to apologize if the Audi or anything else is "better" than the Blackwing. So much of what we discuss is completely objective. One member loves Midnight Steel Metallic and another says it is a cheap rental car color. Most of the threads become completely laughable.

But "driving character" is not like a favorite color or leather quality. It is real - powertrain, suspension, steering and how they work together - and the Blackwings are top in class in this criteria. For me, and many Blackwing buyers, that is what we prioritize most, and no other sedan I have driven is an equal (admittedly, I can only compare to my briefly owned 2022 M4 Comp xD which is really the same as the M3 for driving, a friend's Mercedes, and some others).
 
Wow - I had no idea any mainstream brand offered a color that loud. It is exciting that someone else was bold enough to get it !!

The Cadillacs fill a niche so many of us fit into - must-have manual tranny. I'm just so happy that niche still exists. :)
 
I completely agree with you. It's great to disagree without hostile acts and name calling. I wish the rest of the country on various issues was like this.
lifes too short to argue over simple subjective opinions. kudos for being amicable about it!
 
AWD and no manual is where the consideration ends for me. Other than the pleasing ICE noises, this drivetrain configuration is like a lot of other cars including some BEV's.

If your expectation is everyone should agree with your opinion and you're shattered when they don't, life, and especially the internet, are going to be rough experiences. It's removed a lot of drama from life when I started taking responsibility to manage disagreement with respect, not relying on the person disagreeing with me to do so.
 
I liked my GLI as a daily driver, but I love the BW. The BW was my retirement gift to myself. But I needed a light truck for those times when you need to haul something that doesn't fit in your trunk, and for a trailer hitch. So a 2022 Honda Ridgeline took the place of the GLI. It's also my primary winter transportation. Not exciting though. I'm hoping to get the best of both worlds by convincing my wife that we should upgrade her 2012 Audi A3 TDI wagon with 100k miles. She likes her Audi. The body style is practical and we need a hatch to carry the dog. So I'm looking at GTI and possibly Golf R. I wish the US had the A3 in a hatchback. An S3 in a hatch would be fantastic. I like the GTI takes regular gas now, but that infotainment....🤮
 
Other than the pleasing ICE noises, this drivetrain configuration is like a lot of other cars including some BEV's.
I wouldn’t go that far. The engine is special. The closest EV I can think of is a model 3 performance and nope the rs3 feels much more special.
 
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