The hottest hatch ever designed by Audi will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015, and by the looks of it, Mercedes-Benz should be worried.
We love our hot hatches. There’s just something about a small car with a big attitude that makes you buy into that whole underdog thing. Just like with movies when the nerd gets the cheerleader, we feel a certain level of gratification to see a smaller, cheaper car take on a bona fide sports car or simply a much more expensive car and show it the business end of its tail pipes.
It’s hard to find a generation of car enthusiasts nowadays that wouldn’t understand the appeal of owning a hot hatch. It’s as true now as it was 30 years ago or will be 30 years from now (according to our crystal ball and historical precedents).
But since this is 2014, which is almost over anyway, the times are indeed changing as far as how fast you can really go with one of these boy-racer type of vehicles.
The Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG broke the internet way before Kim Kardashian, for those of us who knew what it meant reaching 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds inside a small family hatchback. For a while there, it looked like nothing was going to challenge that sort of brute force. Its 360PS (355hp) 2.0 liter turbocharged engine is also capable of producing 450Nm of torque (331 lb-ft) from 2250rpm and onwards. While its performance oriented 4Matic four-wheel drive system makes sure it puts all that power down properly. Plain and simple, it’s a beast.
However, seen as though there is a Yin to every Yang, here comes Audi and their new generation RS3 hot hatchback. And when I say Yin and Yang, I’m referring to the different philosophies embodied by Mercedes-Benz and Audi when making cars, because as far as the A 45 AMG and the RS3 are concerned, they are quite similar.
The Audi RS3 packs a 5 cylinder, 2.5 litre TFSI engine, good for 367PS (362hp) that go along with its 465 Nm (342 lb-ft) of torque. Together with its excellent Quattro four wheel drive system, the RS3 will go from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds. Yes you read that correctly. To put that into perspective, the fighting bull formerly known as the Lamborghini Gallardo (Standard – 5.0 liter V10) would reach 62 mph in the same interval. Amazing, right?
What makes the new RS 3 almost half a second quicker than the A 45 AMG, considering the fact that the Merc is 40kg lighter, is surprisingly not the extra bump in power. It’s close to insignificant.
What truly makes a difference off the line when you’re already at a weight disadvantage, is the extra torque, the four wheel drive system and definitely the transmission. Audi’s new generation seven speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission has proved to be phenomenally fast and it’s only natural for it to aid the RS3 when gunning it at full throttle.
Is it safe to assume that in this particular case, Quattro beats 4Motion? We’re still a long way from seeing any comparison tests between the two of them, but calling it in favor of Audi’s famous all-wheel drive system isn’t by any means a stretch. They have a lot more experience with very powerful all-wheel drive cars, unlike Mercedes-Benz and their traditional rear-wheel drive AMG models.
By Sergiu Tudose
Poll: Which one would you take home?