2022 Audi RS3 vs. Acura Integra A-Spec

July 19th, 2022 at 2:13pm

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On the face of it there really is no comparison between the RS3 and Integra A-Spec. Yes, they’re both 4-door sport sedans. But the Audi sits at the top of the segment in price and performance while the Acura is at the entry level. Even so, both cars have virtues that can appeal to the same customer cohort—depending on how they drive them.

Look, if you’re an enthusiast who’s going to track or autocross your car, go right for the Audi. With 400 hp and 369 pound feet of torque and a blistering 3.6 second 0-60 time, it will leave the Acura in the dust. The tires, brakes and suspension are made with serious bits made for all-day, hard-core driving.

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Also, any Audi with an RS badge brings serious street cred along with it. So even if you don’t know how to go through the Corkscrew at Laguna at 10-10nths, everyone will believe you’re capable of doing it, just because you have that RS badge.

But if you’re someone who’s looking for a sport sedan that’s going to be your daily commuter that may be not as quick as the RS3, but is fun to drive, is roomier, more comfortable, and gets much better fuel economy, then take the A-Spec for a test drive. It could be the car for you.

04 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec

The Integra also has a tremendous fan base, so it brings some decent street cred to the party, too. And that base is super excited that Acura finally revived the Integra nameplate, which it got rid of around 2006.
Inside, both cars reflect their personalities. The Audi is Teutonic: hard edged, cool and techy. The Acura is bigger, more expansive, and warmer to the look. The Integra’s back seat is also more comfortable thanks to extra leg and shoulder room.

The Integra is designed to look like a coupe but is really a sedan with a hatchback rear opening. That gives it more luggage space than the Audi, which is a proper sedan with a much smaller trunk opening.
From a connectivity and user-interface standpoint, I’d give the nod to the Audi, but not by much. It really comes down to your personal preference.

16 2023 Acura Integra A-Spec

A couple of areas I’d like to see improved. The clutch pedal travel on the Acura with a manual transmission is too long. Even though the shift throw is relatively short, it seems to take forever to take up the clutch. So much for banging off quick shifts.

The Audi has a weird low-resonance boom that you hear at very low speeds, like just when you come off the brake pedal at a stop and creep forward without touching the gas pedal. In stop and go traffic, where you’re on and off the brakes and creeping forward, it becomes quite noticeable.

In a world that’s gone crossover crazy it’s a welcome respite to get to drive two performance sedans. And they provide nice bookends to the compact, premium, sport sedan segment. The RS3 costs twice as much as the A-Spec and has twice the horsepower. The A-Spec gets 10 more mpgs and is better suited for everyday driving. That’s what they call customer choice.

By: John McElroy

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