The Audi RS3 can’t come soon enough. Mercedes-Benz has just announced that it will be increasing horsepower in its CLA45 AMG.
The current CLA45 AMG/A45 AMG (North American/European markets) produces a healthy 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. And being that the engine only displaces 2.0 liters, that gives the CLA45 AMG a whopping 178 hp per liter, which is the highest specific output of any engine on the market. However, the mad men at AMG have decided that 355 hp wasn’t enough, so they bumped it up to an even crazier 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It will also receive a “Turbo 4Matic” badge to let you know it’s extra sporty.
All of this power allows the CLA45 AMG to nail 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, or three tenths faster than the Audi RS3. The RS3 does have some advantages, though. Its Quattro all-wheel drive system is the superior system, so in bad weather the Audi will remain king. Also, its 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox is the better of the two, whereas Mercedes’ dual-clutch leaves a bit to be desired. So in Europe, Audi has the firepower to fight back.
Now, in the RS3 lacking US market, it’s a different story. The current Audi S3 has only 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. That’s not even enough firepower to content with the current CLA45 AMG, so it won’t stand a chance against an even spicier version. That’s why we need the RS3 more than ever. Some recent reports have claimed that an Audi RS3 is coming to the ‘States, even if it only comes as a sedan. Though nothing is official and even if it is released here, it will probably take some time.
It’s curious that Audi is playing this so safe, as Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only company to be creating extreme performance versions of its smallest cars. BMW is going to be releasing its M2 this year, which will be even faster than the M235i, which is already faster than the current S3. So what is Audi waiting for? The sales of CLA45 AMGs and M2s will be sales that could have been Audi RS3’s, if Audi had planned to give it to us in the first place. The US market is becoming one of Audi’s most important, along with the Chinese market, so why wouldn’t Audi want to sell its hottest small car here and contend with Mercedes who already is? It’s staggering as to why Audi keeps all of its best cars for the European market only, but all we can do is hope that Audi decides to bring its best small car over here to the ‘States. And Audi, if you do bring the RS3, make it the Sportback please.