Australian publication, Drive, recently took Audi’s famous RS3 Sportback hot-hatch and put it up against all of its performance car competitors, such as the brand-new BMW M2, manic Mercedes-AMG A45 and muscular HSV Clubsport LSA. While the only car of the bunch that is actually similar to the RS3 is the AMG A45, the other two cars certainly offer similar performance figures at a similar price. So let’s see how they stack up.
The Audi RS3 has one of the most charismatic engines on the market. Its 2.5 liter turbocharged I5 engine is a masterpiece that has gobs of power and performance accompanied by one of the best noises in the business. Its interior is also deemed to be the best in the group, being both the classiest and most luxurious. However, it can understeer a bit and is more of a brute.
The BMW M2 is the newcomer to this group, but it’s probably the most dangerous car in it. Its rear-wheel drive layout, 3.0 liter turbocharged I6 engine and excellent chassis balance make it one of the best driving sports cars to hit the market in ages. However, it is a bit expensive and isn’t quite as fast as the RS3.
Australia’s own HSV Clubsport LSA, which is actually what the American Chevy SS is based on, is a big brute. It’s the largest car here by far and the only sedan. It also comes with the biggest engine by a mile, packing a 6.2 liter naturally-aspirated V8. It’s also rear-wheel drive and loves to slide its back end. The HSV is a monster to drive and it sure is exciting, but not many people would call it graceful. It’s fun in the same way that eating a bunch of hot chilis is fun, in a scary/exciting way.
The Mercedes-AMG A45 is a snorting little monster. It’s an all-wheel drive turbocharged hatchback that rips and snorts with one of the best four-cylinder engine sound on the market. Its engine is manic and its grip is tenacious, but it’s a bit of a handful to drive and isn’t as much fun as some of the other cars in this test. And, being the only other all-wheel drive hatchback here, it’s slower than the Audi RS3.
In the end, Drive claimed the BMW M2 and Audi RS3 to be the best two of the bunch and were the last two to be compared with each other. Both cars are tremendous fun in their own ways, so one could be better than the other depending on personal preference, but Drive deemed the BMW M2 to be the better car. In all honesty, it’s impressive the Audi RS3 made it that far against the M2. The RS3 is quite a bit older and it’s naturally compromised in this territory, as its all-wheel drive and added weight make it a bit less nimble and graceful in the world of pure sports cars. The BMW M2’s rear-wheel drive and light weight make it the more fun car to drive. But the RS3 is damn close.