New BMW M240i vs Audi RS3: interiors

Thrills meet daily usability in these upmarket four-wheel-drive rocketships. But should we be listening to the gospel according to Audi or BMW?...

New BMW M240i Coupe dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

If you’ve fallen for the Panther Yellow paint (£575) of the Audi RS3 in our photos, you might appreciate a few visual accoutrements on the inside. Sadly, you can’t have any – unless you count a small RS badge on the steering wheel and some discreet RS embossing on the seatbacks. It’s a pity because, in other countries, Audi offers an interior pack that adds body-coloured highlights on the air vents and seats, plus a faux-suede steering wheel with a rally-style 12 o’clock marker.

The BMW M240i’s interior is similarly conservative in its basic design, yet there are some modest personalisation options. You can have tan (instead of black) leather seats, and there’s the choice of gloss black or aluminium dashboard trim. You can also choose to have BMW’s M colours (red, navy and sky blue) on the insides of the doors and the seatbelts. In short, you can keep things as discreet as in a German executive saloon or liven it up a bit. 

Audi RS3 Sportback dashboard

While there isn’t much in it for quality, the M240i edges it with a few more expensive-feeling touches. That’s because it essentially borrows its interior from the BMW 4 Series executive car.

Setting up your driving position is a little easier in the M240i, because it has electric seats; to get these on the RS3, you’ll need to upgrade to the range-topping Vorsprung model. Otherwise, both cars have fine driving positions with a reasonable, if not exceptional, amount of side support from the front seats during hard cornering. There’s no option to upgrade to the sort of race-style bucket seats you can get in some more expensive performance cars.


BMW M240i

New BMW M240i Coupe infotainment

The fact that the infotainment system is lifted straight from the 4 Series is great news, because it means you get a well-positioned touchscreen for interacting with the system when you’re parked up, but also a rotary controller between the front seats. The latter is a far less distracting option when you’re driving. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto phone mirroring is standard, and you can upgrade to a more powerful Harman/Kardon sound system for £750.

Audi RS3

Audi RS3 Sportback infotainment

The previous-generation RS3 had a more user-friendly infotainment system, but as touchscreen systems go, the one in this new model isn’t bad at all. It responds fairly quickly to prods and the menus are logically ordered. You also get a three-year subscription to Audi’s online services. If you love listening to music on the go, consider stumping up for the £1195 Comfort and Sound Pack to get an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system.

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