New Audi RS3 vs Mercedes-AMG 45: verdict

Both of these hot hatches are bonkers fast. But is Audi's latest RS3 good enough to see off its thrilling Mercedes-AMG rival?...

New Audi RS3 vs Mercedes-AMG A45 S header

Our verdict

We can absolutely see why you’d choose either one of these hyper-hatches. Both offer similar performance and outright ability, and there isn’t much in it for costs, so it really comes down to whether you prefer a banzai quasi-racing car that continually nags you to drive faster and puts a near-constant smile on your face, or something a little more grown-up and civilised.

If it’s the latter, the RS3’s almost grand tourer disposition makes it hugely appealing. But for us, hot hatches are principally about having fun – and that’s why the A45 edges it. Yes, it’s an awful lot of money, but remember that this is a car that’s almost as fast as a BMW M3 performance saloon and even more entertaining to drive.

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1st - Mercedes-AMG A45

Mercedes-AMG A45 S rear 3/4

For Rawer and more engaging handling; more responsive gearbox; interior looks more special; bigger boot
Against More road noise; A-Class’s poor reliability record
Recommended options None

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Read our full Mercedes A45 review >>

Find Mercedes A45 deals >>

2nd - Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 rear 3/4

For Surprisingly playful handling; fabulous-sounding engine; savage acceleration; supple ride with optional adaptive suspension
Against Could do with better seats; limited interior options; gearbox can be hesitant
Recommended options Adaptive suspension (£960)

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Read our full Audi RS3 review >>

Find Audi RS3 deals >>

Specifications: Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 badge

Engine 5cyl, 2480cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 394bhp at 5600-7000rpm 
Peak torque 369Ib ft at 2250-5600rpm 
Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
0-60mph 3.9sec
30-70mph 3.3sec
Top speed 155mph (with optional Driver Assistance pack)
30-0mph 10.9m
70-0mph 58.3m
Noise at 30mph 59.4db
Noise at 70mph 66.0db
Kerb weight 1570kg
Tyre size (std) 265/30 R19 (f), 245/35 R19 (r)
Fuel tank 55 litres
CO2 emissions 206g/km

Specifications: Mercedes A45

Mercedes-AMG A45 S badge

Engine 4cyl, 1991cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 415bhp at 6750rpm 
Peak torque 369Ib ft at 5000-5250rpm 
Gearbox 8-spd dual-clutch automatic
0-60mph 4.0sec
30-70mph 3.4sec
Top speed 168mph
30-0mph 10.2m
70-0mph 57.5m
Noise at 30mph 63.7db
Noise at 70mph 67.5db
Kerb weight 1660kg
Tyre size (std) 245/35 R19
Fuel tank 51 litres
CO2 emissions 206g/km

Test weather conditions Wet

Cars pictured

Audi RS3 Sportback TFSI quattro Launch Edition with Kyalami Green metallic paint (£575)

Mercedes-AMG A45 S 4Matic+ Plus with Cosmos Black metallic paint (£595)

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