Despite being an excellent all-around sports car, the current Audi RS3 Sportback is getting quite old nowadays. Newer competitors have arrived and they’re starting to surpass the RS3 in super-hatch dominance. In this latest test from Carwow, the RS3 takes on its latest rival, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S, as well as the BMW M2 Competition and Volkswagen Golf R.
Admittedly, the only true RS3 rival in this test is the AMG, as the M2 Comp is a two-door, rear-wheel drive coupe and the VW Golf R, while an all-wheel drive hot-hatch, is significantly cheaper. However the race is mostly between the AMG and the M2, as the former is driven by Carwow host Mat Watson and the latter by YouTuber Joe Achilles. So how do they compare on the runway?
First, let’s check the specs. The Audi RS3 Sportback packs a 2.5 liter turbocharged I5 with 400 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. While the Mercedes-AMG A45 S uses a 2.0 liter turbo-four with 421 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The BMW M2 Comp packs a 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine with 405 hp and 406 lb-ft. Lastly, the VW Golf R has a 2.0 liter turbo-four with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft. All of the cars in this test have dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.
Onto the drag races, the four cars lined up on the wet tarmac for a standing quarter-mile race first. The AMG jumped off the line just ahead of the Audi RS3 Sportback and took a lead it never relinquished. While the M2 Comp struggled for traction for too long, thanks to only being rear-wheel drive, so the Audi came in second place.
In the rolling drag races, the BMW M2 Competition was able to squeak ahead of the AMG and the Audi in two different races, one in comfort modes and on in sporty modes. Once on the move, the all-wheel drive cars’ traction advantage goes out the window and the M2’s powerful I6 engine gives it the edge.
The 60-0 mph braking test was basically a dead heat between the Audi RS3 Sportback and the BMW M2 Competition. Though, Watson gives the Audi the braking win so he can take it away from the BMW.
In the end, it’s very clear that the RS3 is now out-gunned. It was the best performance hatch on the market for a long time and one of the best performance cars of any kind for the money. However, its newer competition has surpassed it and Audi need to make a big upgrade. Hopefully the RS3 actually gets a performance upgrade, unlike the upcoming 2020 Audi S3, which didn’t.