Prior to the launch of the Audi S3 Sportback, the darling of the hot hatch segment was the Mercedes-AMG A35. Its ultra-aggressive looks, pugnacious demeanor and agile handling made it the go-to car for premium hot hatch enthusiasts. Plus, it was far newer than the outgoing S3, better looking than the BMW M135i and better to drive than both. However, there’s a new Audi S3 in town and it’s here to on the smallest AMG head-on.
Of course, we can’t compare how these cars drive, as we haven’t tested either (AMG A35 hatchback isn’t available in the US market). However, we can compare their looks and interiors to see which one might be more appealing to customers.
While the Audi S3 Sportback easily beat the BMW M135i in its first photo comparison, this AMG will be tougher. Up front, the S3 is the more aggressive and in-your-face looking car but the AMG actually has the more handsome looking mug. Plus, the AMG has some interesting sporty bits that look great but aren’t as drastic, such as the subtle canards on the front fenders. Those are unique little touches that make it seem like a proper race car. While the S3 looks good up front, it’s a bit too fussy after seeing the AMG, so I think the latter gets a narrow victory up front.
In profile, the Audi S3 Sportback looks far more muscular, thanks to its swollen wheel arches. That extra muscularity gives it real presence that the AMG seems to lack a bit. However, the S3’s wheels aren’t very nice looking and the AMG A35’s are quite cool. Plus, you can better see those canards from the side view and also see the giant rear wing, which adds a ton of presence of its own. So both cars look great in profile and this part is a tie.
Out back, both cars look good and each have their own pros and cons. However, I think the AMG has to take win out back as well, thanks to its awesome rear wing. Its childish and ridiculous but that’s sort of the point of a hot hatch, isn’t it? Admittedly, if you appreciate more subtle designs, you’re going to want the Audi S3 Sportback, which is still very sporty looking, thanks to its quad exhausts, but it’s more reserved than the AMG.
Inside, I think the Audi S3 Sportback takes the win, in a surprising turn of events. The A-Class Mercedes has a fantastic looking cabin but it’s a bit plastic-fantastic when you actually sit inside of it. While the S3 is not only great looking but it also features superb build quality. Plus, I think its design is a bit sportier and seems to have better ergonomics. I do love the AMG’s steering wheel, though.
Overall, I think this is a very close match up, as both cars are awesome looking but I think the AMG is the better looking car overall. It’s just more exciting and interesting looking and it’s the car that will make you feel more special each and every time you get in or look back at it when you get out. The Audi S3 Sportback looks great as well, and its interior is better, but it lacks the specialness of the AMG. Though, so does everything else.