We’ve seen these two cars go head-to-head before. Quite a lot, in fact. Since the release of the new Audi RS3 Sportback, it’s taken on its closest rival several times, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S. Prior to the release of the RS3, the AMG was pretty much the uncontested king of the hot-hatch segment. Now that the RS3 is here, though, can it dethrone its German rival?
What makes this new comparison test from Top Gear interesting is that it’s on track. Typically, you don’t buy all-wheel drive hatchbacks for track use, you buy them for year-long daily performance driving, which is why it’s on the road that we typically see these two cars go head-to-head. But on track, we really get to see their abilities at the limit.
Both cars are quite similar on paper. The Audi RS3 Sportback uses its 2.5 liter turbocharged five-cylinder to make 401 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That engine pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a new, very clever all-wheel drive system, which utilizes a trick rear differential, and can send up to 100 percent of engine torque to just one wheel on demand. The AMG A45 has a similar all-wheel drive system but uses a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder, which makes 415 horsepower and 369 lb-ft.
At first glance, the AMG has the advantage, though. It’s always been considered the sharper driver’s car, even if the Audi RS3 is quicker in most circumstances. The AMG’s more precise steering and raucous character will likely give it an advantage on track. So can the Audi RS3 take down its more established rival?
We won’t spoil the results of TG’s test but, honestly, they were surprising. I went into the video fully expecting a very specific outcome and yet that’s not the outcome I saw. Check out this new video, it might surprise you too.