• Mar 27th 2008 at 7:17PM
  • 45
Everyone loves a good shootout and it's even better when the two vehicles duking it out are actually attainable. Enter the WebRidesTV crew who setup shop at our new favorite road course, the Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs, to run the Mazdaspeed3 and Volkswagen R32 through their paces to see which vehicle provides the best bang for the buck in the hotter-than-hot hatch segment. While the performance and price discrepancy is rather high – the R32 is packing fewer ponies but comes in with a higher sticker – the reviewer is keen to point out that both models have their high and low points. The MS3 may put down better lap times, but the R32 might have it beat on interior accoutrements and a more Grand Touring demeanor -- as with any review, it comes down to what you value more.

You can view this newest review from WebRidesTV after the jump and check out their last shootout between the Roush and Saleen from last month.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      What many of you fail to realize is the R32 exists because there are people who will buy that car for what it delivers: understated AWD performance, high-quality interior, German driving dynamics and a spine-tingling exhaust sound, which, try all you want, a four-cylinder turbo will never be able to duplicate. The MS3 is a great car, but it is not the R32. The R32 costs, but the people who have it don't even worry about it. Besides, it isn't really that much more than the average new car purchase transaction -- we don't realize that cars cost about 29K nowadays. You can thank all the SUVs for that...
      Jon thomas
      • 7 Years Ago
      OH and in new england my MS3 hates snow with the stock summer pro tires as one might expect , I had a few scary ass rides let me tell you but i made it in one piece .. Good thing spring has arrived
      • 7 Years Ago
      yeah i agree with the comments thus far...i dont really see the R32 being in the same league with the MS3... the price difference just kills it...Id be all over the Mazda all day. I dont see the point on dropping 30+ on a car like the R32 when theres so much better you can get IMO
      • 7 Years Ago
      The only reason to choose the R32 over the MS3 is the sound... but oh what a glorious sound it is! I roll down my windows whenever one drives by.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think they need to run these cars with a 135i, A3 3.2, and a C30..that would be cool
      • 7 Years Ago
      If the MS3 had had DSG and AWD I would have bought one. But I just love my R32.

      VW has been discounting the R32, bringing well below $30K and on a par with the GTI. It *was* expensive to begin with, but now its pretty well positioned, IMHO. Its not as high performance a car as the MS3 or even the GTI (especially not a chipped GTI), but it has AWD and a really plush interior. On the other hand its cheaper than the new STi or the EVO which have much higher performance numbers but are in the high $30Ks. And its much cheaper than the A3, which is basically the same car. But you can't really get the A3 in a base model and once you start optioning it the price starts rising really fast.

      I don't regret buying the R32 at all. Its not the fastest car on the track or a screaming deal, but its a beautiful car, totally fun to drive (especially on twisty roads where it just hangs on corners at ANY speed) and solidly built. I totally love it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i would forget both of those cars and just get the Lancer Ralliart, which is just a Baby Evo and will be the best bang for you buck when it comes out later
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nice comparo. One suggestion: Do it again - IN THE RAIN. ;-)
      • 7 Years Ago
      What altitude is the race track at?

      The MS3 is under-tired. It needs 235/45 17 tires.

      The R32 could also use 235 width tires (and the 3.6 VR6)
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm also curious if the R had all season or summer tires on. Pity they didn't spend a bit more time with the e-code GTI.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This review is complete BS. If you watch the top gear comparison between R32 and 130i and then look at the track time you would know that MSP3 is slower than R32.
      R32 did 1.30.4 while WRX STI did 1.30.1 and B6 S4 1.30.9. R32 is priced just about right and while it may not deliver straight drag racing speed, it is a killer on a twisty road.


      • 7 Years Ago
      A better comparo would be this: MS3 vs. 08 STI. Then, a lightly modded MS3 vs. 08 STI. If you look at pure specs, both cars handle similarly w/close slalom speeds, 60-0 braking tests, and skid pad tests. That would be an interesting lineup.

      Plus it's a bummer they didn't show more info on the modded GTi, like its laptimes, etc.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sorry the R32 is just overpriced. For that kind of money I could get an '07 G35 off-lease for $32k+.

      I think the R32 is the essential problem with VW. They've priced themselves out of their base. I don't believe many prospective GTI customers are going to spend $3-4k more for a Golf that's what? 3-tenths quicker?

      If they want to, like many have said, they'll get an A3. Or an used G35. Or an STi. Or an Evo. Or an MS3 and pay some bills. They are too many better options.
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